Baked Stuffed Apples

Today is November 1st, and I can’t say I remember any of the previous years’ November days being such beautiful, warm and sunny ones. What I can say is that I have honestly never been as aware of the autumn season as this year.

I have a friend to whom I think the garden and plants are what the kitchen and food are to me. She is the Garden Queen. She also takes me on forest walks where, sadly, I have to admit to not knowing 98 % of the names of any of the plants we encounter. The other week we went for one of those forest walks and collected stuff for autumnal decorations for our respective homes.  If you’d told me a year ago I’d be doing that I’d probably have said: Yeah, right…

I even went as far as offering to help make her garden winterproof. Which was on another beautiful sunny autumn day, and we had a barbecue afterwards. At that occasion we decided to walk the vineyards of my hometown, which we did yesterday. Why is it we never really appreciate what’s on our doorstep but long to travel to far away places instead? Or is that only me?

My hometown lies in a valley surrounded by vineyards. We even have a few vineyards right in the city center. I remember walking the vineyards once as a child on a family excursion but haven’t done so since. So we walked there yesterday in the sunshine for about three hours, mostly uphill, and it felt so good, the landscape was so beautiful. And of course I can feel all the muscles from my calves to the small of my back today. But it was so worth it.

Which brings me to another childhood memory of something I’ve only done once – eat baked stuffed apples. This was in kindergarten, and I haven’t had one since, because I didn’t like it. In fact, I detested it. Today I’m quite sure it was due to the raisins because I don’t like those in my food. What I still didn’t like is the baked apple skin. Everything else, though, was fantastic, and I almost regretted it took me this long to make these. Naturally I didn’t use raisins but substituted them for dried cranberries. I found the recipe for these baked stuffed apples in the recipe binder of my Garden Queen friend, and it said it was from a cooking school (which I couldn’t find on the internet, or else I’d have linked it). Chaudeau, by the way, is a zabaglione sauce.

Please excuse the excessive use of pictures in this post. I simply couldn’t make up my mind today which ones to use, so I put them all in. The same goes for my excessive use of words…

Baked Stuffed Apples with a Chaudeau Sauce
very slightly adapted from the Private Cooking School Jochen Moritz

4 medium apples [I used Boskop]
3 tbsp dried cranberries, soaked in
3 tbsp kirsch
4 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp butter
2 tbsp chopped nuts [I used walnuts and almonds]

3 egg yolks
1 egg
100 g sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
grated zest of ½ lemon
250 ml good white wine

Serves 4

Cut the tops off the apples and scoop out the insides. Drain the soaked cranberries, mix with the chopped nuts, and fill the mixture into the apples. [I actually chopped the cranberries in the mini blender so they’d be about the same size as the chopped nuts.] Mix sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle 1 tsp on each apple, and top with a butter flake. [Mine was a very large flake, because I just love that kind of thing.]

Set apples into a pie dish or on a baking sheet and bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 180°C / 350°F on the middle shelf.

Note: Before I cut off the tops of the apples, I used an apple corer to make a first dent into them. This meant the bottoms were open, which is why I placed them on a baking sheet before filling them. The filling didn’t fall through afterwards, though, because it firmed up in the baking process.

For the sauce, mix together all the ingredients and beat over a bain-marie until the mixture turns into a thick foam. As soon as it thickens, take the bowl off the bain-marie, but keep beating for a short bit.

Divide the sauce onto 4 deep plates and set an apple into the middle of each.

Note: I was a bit unsure about the consistency of the sauce, because it took ages to become anything resembling thick. As my arm felt like it would fall off any moment, I reverted to the electric mixer. However, the sauce became a thick-ish foam on top whereas the bottom bit seemed quite liquid. I just used the top foam to serve, and the amount was enough for 4.