Not a recipe for the campervan as it requires an oven but I thought I would try out a new recipe for baked apples the other day as we have a lot of them growing in our garden at the moment. Baked apples – nothing too difficult – but when I took them out of the oven they looked like some sort of alien life-form! Oh no, a disaster I thought but when I tasted them I wasn’t so sure…and I learned some really important things…
Apples from the Orchard
We blissfully have a mini orchard in our back garden and at this time of year we are flooded with cooking apples. There is only so much apple crumble that you eat so I decided to bake some apples using a new recipe for the filling. I followed the recipe exactly and put the cored and stuffed apples in the oven for 30 minutes.
I perhaps foolishly didn’t check the apples half way through as I was busy doing other things and the recipe said 30-40 minutes so I thought I would be alright checking them at 30. My little cooking timer rang out and I went to get the apples out only to find that they had splurged in to a strange mass. I had cooked them for the minimum time so how could that be?
Our Failures Teach Us More
I always think that our failures in cooking can teach us more than our successes so ran it by some of my cooking friends and I realised that the main reason that the apples had splurged was because they were so fresh. I had just picked the apples off of the tree before cooking so they were still moist and living and therefore needed less time. I have noticed this with the other produce straight from the garden such as the new potatoes, green beans and carrots which I have learned to cook a lot more sensitively.
The apples were also a bit smaller than the ones you tend to see in the shops so I should have adjusted the time instead of just following it blindly. I should have really tuned-in to my ingredients before going ahead.
BUT…when I tasted the apples they were gorgeous! They were cooked in a shallow dish of water so the apple had diluted to a fragrant apple sauce and the filling with the crunchy nuts made a lovely contrast in textures. The apples had such a lovely, delicate flavour (probably because they were grown naturally and so fresh) that they were a pleasure to eat. Admittedly they were not pretty but, by the time I had dolloped some ‘Yogam’ (see below) on them, they were really tasty. I even had some for breakfast the next day!
So what did I learn from all this:
- Don’t just follow recipes blindly; look at your ingredients and adjust to their particular needs which may be different each time you do the recipe.
- Fresh food full of life-force is a special thing and needs to be treated sensitively
- Even what looks like a disaster can end up being something good (as in Life!).
This is something that I use in the campervan a lot. It is a mixture of 2/3rds Greek yoghurt and 1/3rd thick cream. I sometimes add a tsp of Xylitol sweetener to it as well. It tastes really naughty and creamy but is actually more healthy than cream itself and goes well on all sort of desserts (try it on pancakes with Maple syrup – Yum)
The Baked Apple Recipe
- Core your apples leaving a small base of apple at the bottom of the hole
- Fill the hole with a mixture of soft, brown sugar, chopped nuts and chopped sultanas
- Put s small dollop of butter on each one
- Bake in a baking dish with a 1/2″ of water for 30-40 mins unless your apples are smaller and fresher in which case use your cooking instinct to judge the time.