19 January 2011

I would rather be a worm in a wild apple

I had the odd experience this weekend of making the Pioneer Woman's chicken and dumplings and realising halfway through that I'd in fact made the original version from Gourmet on some previous occasion. Both are good; PW's is a little less fussy. I can't comment on the apple juice; I didn't buy any this week and used a combination of chicken carcass stock and pot liquor from the last batch of gumbo z'herbes I made instead.

(My freezer is full of such things. They are lifesaving when I'm ill and need soup).

It was an awkward sort of déjà vu. So rather than dwell on that, here's a baked apple.


These are very plain indeed. By January I am tired of cinnamon -- it is not my favourite spice, and there is too much of it around Christmas -- so these have none. You could of course use it if you please but consider trying your baked apples without sometime. Made like this, with lemon zest, the taste of the apple comes through cleanly.

I like Stayman apples for baking; they keep their shape even as they become soft enough to eat with a spoon. They are also typically (and conveniently) the right size to fit into ramekins.

Baked Apples (for two)

2 Stayman apples
3 tbs butter, room temperature, plus a little extra for the ramekins
2 tbs light brown sugar
1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350 F and butter two 1-cup ramekins.

Grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice into a small bowl of water.

Combine the 3 tbs butter, sugar, lemon zest, and walnuts in a small bowl and stir/mash until thoroughly combined.

Core and peel the apples -- I use an OXO Good Grips corer and swivel peeler, but you could do it with a paring knife as well -- and dip them in the lemon water. Place the apples in the ramekins.

Fill the centres of the apples with the butter mixture, packing it down firmly. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the apples can be easily pierced with a fork. Watch them carefully and tent the tops with a square of foil if necessary to prevent the walnuts from burning.

Serve hot.

Robinson Jeffers


  1. Baked apples are a virtuous dessert. I like them very much. Thanks for the tip about Staymans, which I almost never see in the markets here anymore.

    This weekend I have gallons of marmalade to make from the Christmas boxes of oranges & grapefruits sent by the relatives. No quince, though.

  2. Hi Charlotte!

    Yes, it's getting harder to find anything but Gala, Fuji, and Honeycrisp (and those loathesome ubiquitous red Delicious) here too. Fortunately for me, there's a small local grocery chain that does a good job keeping other varieties in stock.

    I think quinces tend to be easier to find in November and December, though I did spot some (rather sad) ones at the Safeway last week.


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