Monday, November 9, 2009

A simple, delicious dessert-- American Beauty baked apples

I got tired just reading Alicia's post! She is an amazing Halloween costume maker. We still have a hand-me-down snow leopard costume, and it is truly a thing of beauty. Me, I go to Target on Halloween and grab something that's marked down 50%. Or the kids make their own.
Those of you who read this blog will see an important difference in how Alicia and I approach it: she does all the baking and writing in spite of all the stuff she has to do; I do it instead of the stuff I have to do. I just made a three-page list of all the things we have to do to get the house ready before we leave for France in five weeks. I haven't done a single thing on that list, but I've knocked two more recipes off the baking blog list. We'll just see how long that works out for me...

As I was preparing to make the recipe below, I thought about how ingredients and recipes have changed since 1985...This recipe calls for 2 12-oz. packages of raspberries in syrup. I remember those little boxes, but from the three stores I checked out, none had raspberries in syrup (although they did have strawberries in syrup). In fact, none had any frozen raspberries at all! Is there a shortage? I bought some fresh raspberries at the Death Star (aka Sam's Club)and then bought some frozen mixed berries and picked the raspberries out of them. Would you like to know how many ounces of raspberries are in a 12-oz. bag of frozen mixed berries? One!! Grrrr...
Fortunately, I made a half recipe. I have also noticed that canned goods have shrunk. The one-pound cans of cherries I needed last week were just 15 oz. The one-pound can of beets I needed this week (see future post) was just 14.5 oz. So you have to be kind of careful when following recipes from back when a pound was a pound...

But anyway, this recipe was a cinch to make. I let the fresh and frozen berries sit with some sugar on them to bring out the juices, then pureed them and strained the puree to a coulis. Added some crème de cassis and honey to that, and then got busy with the apples.

Here they are. I don't have an apple corer, and these apples aren't stuffed or anything, so I halved and sometimes quartered them so that they would fit in the dish. Then I peeled them halfway down, as Maida recommends. I'm not sure why that is. These are Jonagold apples--I couldn't find the Rome Beauty apples that Maida recommends. I have a feeling they're not trendy anymore either. I bet Honeycrisp or Pink Lady would also be yummy here.

So then I poured the Day-Glo pink sauce on top of the apples, and it went in the oven. I was supposed to baste them every ten minutes, but I fell rather short.

But who cares--this is how they looked when I took them out of the oven. I kept basting them from time to time, as Maida recommends, and then Claire and I tried some at room temperature. They are very good that way, and I had one this morning for breakfast cold from the fridge, and it was good that way, too. This is a really refreshing dessert, and I don't feel the need for cream or anything on the side. It's just a nice palate cleanser, and it looks pretty as well. Easy, pretty, healthy, yummy. How could you go wrong? Maybe this will give me the energy to tackle my list!

Here's the recipe I made:

American Beauty Baked Apples

9 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries
3 oz. sugar
1-1/2 T. honey
1 T. crème de cassis (I imagine any sweet and fruity liqueur you have in your cabinet would work here)
3 large baking apples (see above for suggested varieties), halved, cored, and peeled halfway down

Mix the raspberries and sugar and let them sit 15 minutes to an hour. Heat the oven to 350; get out a 2-quart baking dish and spray it. Maida says you don't need to butter it, but she's not washing my dishes. In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberry/sugar mixture, then strain it through a sieve. This can take some time and patience. Once you've gotten most everything through the strainer, add to the coulis the honey and the crème de cassis. Get your apples ready. (I think, by the way, you could also leave the apples unpeeled or peel them entirely. Whatever floats your boat.) Put them in the baking dish, cut side down. If you have extra room and extra apples, fit in some apple quarters. Pour the raspberry sauce on top of and around the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so with a spoon or a bulb baster. The apples should be tender but not mushy. After you take the apples out of the oven, continue to baste them with the sauce whenever you think about it. Maida says the sauce will eventually be absorbed, but mine wasn't. Either way, it's yummy. Serve room temperature or cold, by itself or with vanilla yogurt or whipped cream or ice cream. This would probably serve 4-6.

1 comment:

  1. Safeway has bags of plain, frozen raspberries but not in syrup (you are right about sizes; have you looked at "1/2 gallon" of ice cream lately? getting very close to being 1 quart).