From the Diary of a Kitchen Goddess: Divinely Comforting Baked Apples
June 4, 2012 ~ Baked Apples bring comfort to my guests on a dark rainy evening
An Unexpected Visit
The other night, I was delighted by the unexpected arrival of friends from a village about 30 miles away. They arrived by carriage to my humble cottage around the middle of the evening and I was delighted to see them at my door. Luckily, I was ready for my lovely guests. I had a dish of freshly baked apples that I pulled out of my hearth oven just before I heard the knock at my door, and mulled claret was simmering over the fire in my cauldron pot.
The Cozy Comfort of Baked Apples
The evening was unseasonably chilly for June and my friends could see white puffs of their breath in front of them as they spoke. They had scarves wrapped about their necks and shawls wrapped about their shoulders. A soft drizzle began to fall, and they sought shelter from the weather for a while before they continued their journey home. As always, they knew that my door is always open to friends, so they merrily drove their carriages up to my front door for some refreshment to keep them warm. We greeted each other with hugs and kisses as they piled out of the carriage. I let them know that warm, sweet food and drink awaited them inside. My good friend Liam, the driver, told me that baked apples was his favorite dessert on such evenings.
Divine Comfort from my Kitchen to your Heart
A Delightful Hearthside Story
I was very happy to be able to oblige my friend Liam, but wondered what brought him and this merry band of friends to town on such an evening that inspires most people to stay at home by their own hearth fires. Liam said that Asha was a fine storyteller and would regale me with their tale over a cup of claret. I couldn't wait.
After eating our fill of baked apples topped with whipped cream, we pulled our chairs in a circle beside my hearth. Asha sat in the middle with a cup of claret in her hand, and began to tell of her group's adventures for the evening. Her long, black hair glistened in the glow of the fire, and her brightly colored skirt billowed. Her eyes sparkled and her cheeks were flushed. Her smile lit up her gentle face. Here are the words she used to describe their enchanting revelry:
"My brother Damien, on his way to work this morning, bought 6 tickets to this afternoon's performance at Symphony Hall, where the orchestra played Canons and Fugues by Johann Pachelbel. He knows that I love Pachelbel's music and it has been ages since I have attended a live symphony performance. He also knows that I am a tireless reveler, and I've been restless for an adventure since the first day of spring.
An Afternoon of Music
"At around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Damien drove his carriage up beside our front door. As I opened the door, I was delighted to see 4 more of our fellow revelers in the carriage with him ~ Diana, Grover, Juliette, and Sebastian! My cloak was hanging on a hook close by the front door, so I quickly threw it over my shoulders and put my feathered hat upon my head. As Sebastian helped me step up into the carriage, I greeted my brother and our friends with warm hugs and kisses.
"Despite the mist that shrouded the evening, the horses' penchant for eating large amounts of carrots made their eyes sharp and we arrived safely at the hall, where we enjoyed a very lovely afternoon of music. Damien bought a CD recording of the Pachelbel's music before we left. We were hungry after listening so closely to so much lovely music, so Liam announced that he intended to take us to the house of our dear friend Karen, "Goddess of the Kitchen." And so, here we are. And here I present this CD of Pachelbel's Canon in D to you, a gift for your warm, open generosity."
Dishing the comfort straight from the hearth fire ~
How divinely comforting are my baked apples?
My Labor of Love
What to combine to make a dish full of divine comfort
- 10 MacIntosh or Empire apples, peeled and sliced thin
- 3 Lemons, Juice squeezed and zest grated
- 2 Tbspns Honey, Drizzled across the apples
- 1/2 Cup Brown sugar, Sprinkled around the apples
- 2 Tbspns Ground cinnamon, Sprinkled as a top layer
- 1-2 Cups Water, Cover the ingredients
Making the Magical Comfort Dish
- Peel, core, and slice apples. If you have an apple corer/slicer tool, you can cut the edges of core off the slices, then cut the slices to half the thickness.
- Grate the lemon zest off the skins and cut the lemons in half. Juice the lemons and toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and zest in a bowls. Let the apples soak up the lemon flavor.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9 x 12" baking dish with butter and lay out the slices in the butter, along with the lemon juice and zest.
- Drizzle the honey over the apples.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar across the top of the apple layer.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of ground cinnamon over the rest of the ingredients, as a top layer.
- Pour just enough water in the baking dish to cover all of the layers. The water will evaporate in the oven.
- Bake the apples for 30-45 minutes, so that they are soft and golden brown.
- Serve warm, with cider, claret, or cocoa.
One plate of Baked Apples blesses you with ~
|Serving size: 1cup of baked apples|
|Calories from Fat||27|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 3 g||5%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 10 g||3%|
|Sugar 18 g|
|Fiber 11 g||44%|
|Protein 3 g||6%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Sending My Friends Off with a Blessing
I thanked Asha with a hug and kiss, and asked my group of friends if they were warm and satisfied. They must not leave my home still hungry. They said that the baked apples and claret were the perfect evening treat after attending a beautiful concert and they were ready to venture home, warm and cozy to the core. These are the words of blessing that I sent them off with ~
"May the road be smooth and your journey be quick.
May you arrive safely at your homes and sleep well.
May the angels bring you sweet dreams.
We parted with hugs and kisses and I promised to join in their revelry whenever they returned to town. When the carriage was out of sight, I returned to my cottage, closed the door behind me, and brewed myself some tea.
© 2012 Karen A Szklany