On a chilly morning one month ago, my beau and I awoke to the smell of coffee, bacon, and warm apples, the perfect recipe for luring us from our quilt-covered bed and down to the dining room of the King’s Cottage Inn for breakfast.
We had just taken a few sips of our coffee, and wished a Happy Anniversary to each of the two other couples in the room (one a 2nd, the other a 13th, while we kept mum about our 2-Month), when our hostess set before us the source of that lovely apple scent that had drifted up to our room – a baked apple. Its center was filled with a mixture of oats, almonds, and cinnamon, and we both agreed that it was a perfectly cozy way to begin the day. Never before this day had I been served a baked apple, and I now had to wonder why. It seemed a relatively simple and fuss-free sort of thing, and yet there was a not-everyday-ness to it that I knew my daughter Greta would love. I made a mental note to introduce this to our breakfast menu one day soon.
New Year’s Day turned out to be that day. I devised my own recipe that morning, with what I found in my pantry, but having taken a look at the suggestions in The Joy of Cooking, it’s clear that one can go many ways with a baked apple – from basic with just brown sugar and cinnamon to a richer version involving almonds, figs, breadcrumbs and ginger to a savory sausage number. But below you’ll find my version of the apple we ate in Lancaster, and proving that old saw, “Mother knows best,” Greta was delighted with the result.
Baked Apple Chez K
2 apples (I used Gala)
a little heavy cream (though milk will certainly do)
a little milk
1 Tbs. butter
1 pkg. instant oatmeal (I used apples and spice flavor)
raisins, if you are so inclined
Ideally, one would use plain oats, and flavor them with a bit of cinnamon, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt, all moistened with milk. Being out of oats on New Year’s Day, I resorted to a packet of instant oatmeal, apple and spice flavor. I added a bit more cinnamon to the packet, moistened it with a bit of cream, and tossed in a few raisins.
I then halved the apples and cut out the core. Into the resulting cavity, I rounded a tablespoon or so of the oatmeal mixture. I dotted each apple with a bit of butter and then put them into a small casserole dish.
I poured a bit of boiling water into the dish (about 1/4″ or so) and covered the dish with foil. I set the casserole in a preheated 375° oven for about 30 minutes, until the apples were tender, and then served them with a little warmed cream.