Sunday, January 17, 2010

Apple Blossom

It's the middle of Winter and it's time for something warm and comforting - what could be more comforting than apples, cinnamon and oats? I was really craving an apple crumble, but I didn't feel like making enough to last us the whole week. It seems I am great at cooking for 20, not so much for just 2. It's probably one of my biggest challenges, I'll make a new recipe, once to see how it turns out and tastes, and then again to perfect it. And afterwards, we have our freezer full of pre-portioned mistakes!

Anyway, in an effort to clean out the freezer, I came across some pre-rolled puff pastry and the idea was born - I was going to stuff some apples! Who doesn't love the idea of an apple pie crumble sensation?

I cooked with both Honey Crisp Apples and Granny Smith to see which one would be nicer. I liked Granny's, there is something about the tartness mixed with sugar that is just perfect. Honey Crisp was delicious too, but it stayed quite firm after baking, and was too sweet for what I was after. The Granny seemed to just have the perfect apple pie texture, it was still an apple shape, but soft enough to fall apart micely in your mouth.

And then there was the skin, I am not a big fan of cooked apple skin, (is anyone?) so I peeled them, and with my fingers and toes crossed I hoped that the end result wouldn't turn out to be a sloppy mess.

The beauty of wrapping it in pastry, is that the brown sugar an butter combine to make a delicious caramel syrup that is captured in the bottom of the pastry "pouch".

My apples survived, the filling was just like a crumble, all that's missing is the huge scoop of vanilla ice cream dripping down the side!

Apple Blossom
makes 4 baked apples

4 apples, your choice, peeled and cored (I dug out my cores with a teaspoon, because with all the kitchen gadgets and tools I seem to possess, an apple corer is not one of them! But it worked like a charm, I sectioned off the top about 1/2" down and then I dug out a nice big hole for lots of filling.)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cranberries (you could use any dried fruit - raisins, dried blueberries, dried cherries would be delicious)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and rolled out slightly

egg wash, made with 1 lightly beaten egg and a pinch of white sugar

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine the butter, cranberries, coconut, oats and sugar in a small bowl. Mix to combine.
Divide the mixture between the four apples and pack it all in, mounding a little on the top to almost re-make the shape of the original apple.
Cut pastry sheets in half, and now this is the trickiest part - brush the egg around the edges of the pastry and pull the sides up and squeezing together to stick, like a pouch/bag. I left mine open a little bit at the top, thinking as if I were making an apple pie, to let the steam escape.

Place apples onto a parchment lined baking sheet, brush all over with the egg wash and bake approximately 30 minutes, until the pastry is nice and golden and then apple is soft if you poke a paring knife into it. Don't poke it too close to the bottom, otherwise all your caramel syrup will leak out.

Serve with mounds of the best quality vanilla ice cream you can find.

Store any uneaten apples covered, at room temperature for up to three days.

These are really good the next day for breakfast (without ice cream), probably not the healthiest choice, but definitely good for the soul!


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