More than one way to skin an apple: Baked granny smiths

Nothing like a TV show where someone bakes a sponge cake containing extracts of five – count em’, five – of their own bodily fluids to put your own eating habits in perspective. Especially if you watch it while drinking the contents of a ramekin filled with butter and sugar.

But this post is not about my preference for SBS programming (even though I can reliably be located on the couch every Monday night trying to decide if I like Ted Danson, Jason Schwartzman or Louis C.K. more), it is about the best dessert to make you feel better when you arrive home late, lazy and downtrodden on a wintery night.

And this is where baked apples come galloping into the picture like the white knight of deceptively unhealthy food that they are. I guarantee this dessert will make you feel great (unless you are on a diet) and can be made in under 5 minutes. It is also one of those amazing dishes that utlilises everyday ingredients from the pantry. So instead of being suited to those who plan meals and have routine grocery shopping habits, baked apples cater to the more spur-of-the-moment, ‘must eat something sugary right now’ amongst us. As long as you pick up a granny smith apple or two when you do go food shopping, you will be prepared to make this dish at any time. And if you don’t feel like baked apples that week you could instead cover it with peanut butter and raisins, bake it into a pie or eat it on its own (I guess, as a last resort).

Baked apples (whole)
Granny smith apples (as many as you like, although the measurements below are enough for 2 apples so adjust this to match)
Chunk of butter, cut into smaller chunks, about 25g total
A pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
Peel and core the apple/s
Mix together the sugar and spices
Stuff the apples with the butter and sugar (start and end with the butter to plug the ends)
Arrange on baking tray (the dish type, not the flat type, unless you love cleaning) and bake for half an hour or until when poked with a knife the apples give a bit but aren’t soft

Baked apples (ramekin style)
Ideally baked apples would be baked whole but in this non-perfect world in which I haven’t yet tracked down an apple corer, this has lately been my method of choice

Granny smith apples (as many as you like, although the measurements below are enough for 2 apples so adjust this to match)
Chunk of butter, cut into smaller chunks, about 25g total
A pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
Peel and cut out the core of the apple/s, cut each apple into 8ths
Mix together the sugar and spices
Toss the apple pieces in the sugar and spices until coated and layer into the ramekin with the butter
Bake for half an hour or until when poked with a knife the apples give a bit – you want them to be not too hard and not too soft

This recipe helped a flat of 5 students endure a winter in an uninsulated, heat-pump-less Christchurch house. A house in which I would study in my often below-zero room in gloves and a jacket. It’s no Blumenthal-esque gastronomic delight, towering croquembouche tower or flambe bananas, but any dessert that can pull off a feat like that and remain humble is one I consider worthy of admiration.
Image
Spot the baked apple (hint: looks like a bowl of chips)

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