Friday, January 10, 2014

FFWD ~ Baked Apples filled with Fruits and Nuts

Beautiful Baked Apples filled with Fruits and Nuts
This week our recipe for FFWD is Baked Apples filled with fruits and nuts.  Honestly, baked apples and I go way back.  So far back, in fact, I only owned one cookbook.  It was the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  It was given to me at my bridle shower, by my then future sister-in-law.  For years it was not only my “go to” cookbook, but also my only cookbook.
The first time I met my husband’s family, was for dinner at his parents home.  My then boyfriend picked me up after work.  I remember his father asking me if I could cook…uh oh, was this an interview??  I was quite nervous, but this cooking question, what was I supposed to say?  I told him the truth…. No I could not!  He later told my husband’s sister "I don’t know why Bill wants to marry HER, she can’t cook"!  We were so young, 21 and 22.
Nine months later we were married and moved to Virginia to start our new life together.  He worked as an Air Traffic Controller at Washington National, and I took a job at the Pentagon.  It was an exciting time to live near Washington D.C.!  Lyndon Johnson was our President, it was the Viet Nam era, and the anti war movement was in full swing, M.L. King’s assassination, Resurrection City and, R.F. Kennedy’s assassination. History was being made all around us. Living in our nations capital gave us an opportunity to witness the consequences of these events. It was a fascinating, thought-provoking time to be young!

 Ahhhh….so luscious!
At home, I was on a mission to learn to cook. Studying my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, in hopes I would conquer my kitchen fears.  I had visions of making wonderful meals and entertaining our friends. Great expectations!  I learned a lot that first year. I had several successes, but I also had my failures. A meatloaf that wound up in the garbage disposal comes to mind!  Oh the humiliation of it all!!  However, an early success was Baked Apples.  Absolutely wonderful!  They became a staple dessert in our house.  For years, while raising my children, we frequently had baked apples for dessert, especially during the fall and winter.

I served mine with ice cream…but they’re perfect just the way they are
According to Dorie, her Baked Apples, or pommes au four, as they’re known in France are less a recipe and more of a construction. First coring the apples, being careful not to break through the bottom of the apple.  My standby baked apples are filled with raisins, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon.  Dories are filled with a mixture of fruit such as chopped apricots, figs, cranberries, raisins, and nuts mixed with a tablespoon of honey and some cinnamon or nutmeg, and of course butter. Water is poured around the apples along with some butter and they are basted several times while they bake.   A favorite “go to” dessert for me.  So, although my cookbook collection has grown quite a bit (several bookcases full) and my expectations of cooking have been met (mostly), these baked apples take me back full circle. A good place to go from time to time!  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or at Serious Eats where Dorie has posted it. To see what the other Dorista’s are up to check it out here. 

Ready to be baked
Just out of the oven….permeating my kitchen with lovely aromas 
Utterly delicious!
My very trusty, first cookbook…..still special after all these years!

29 comments:

  1. I loved this post so much. There's so much feeling in how you describe being young in the middle of the 60s in DC and all the changes going on in and around your life. Good thing there are great recipes like the baked apples that stand the test of time. Beautiful job, Kathy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post Kathy. I bet living in DC while all these history making events were taking place give you a great perspective on history. I lived in Memphis when Martin Luther King was assassinated there. Somewhat frightening to a teenage girl who had spent most of her life in the south but very instructional. Better Homes and Gardens was also my first cookbook and only one until I bought one about baking with whole grains. It was the 70's and all:) Hope the weather is being kind to you Kathy! Oh yes, the apples were good, weren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I thought they were cakes with filling until I read the recipe again, this dessert looks delicious and amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was the same cookbook I started cooking from in junior high! Don't think I ever made baked apples, but I did make lemon meringue pie :) And Bill's aunt asked me if I cooked within minutes of meeting her...thank goodness I could say yes. I think she liked me immediately b/c of that!!! Cute story, Kathy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your apples look sinful and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had that same cookbook Kathy and used it religiously. Recipes like this one never grow old and always bring back great memories. I love Dorie's (and your) rendition!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kathy! That was my first cookbook too. Mine's a softcover, but still has the red checks. It was a used edition which my grandfather gave to me shortly after I graduated college. He also threw in a not-so-subtle hint that I should start learning to cook:-) I still have it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well it looks like you did learn to cook after all! And very well I might add! I hope your father in law acknowledged that at some point! :) What an awesome post, you saw so much history in the making. Your apples look amazing and I am glad it brought up such terrific memories.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kathy, your Baked Apples look delicious:) Washington, DC is a fantastic place to live. I went to GW University and loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kathy I got such a wonderful sense of you as a young woman conquering your fears and enjoying the excitement of the times… and yes, I fondly remember that cookbook too… one of few we had in our house. My mom was spoiled by her mom who was a great cook and didn't share the kitchen with her kids. She had to learn to cook under the glaring eyes of her mother-in-law who lived next door.. so glad I got married at a time that didn't have expectations about women's cooking abilities.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I enjoyed this post so much, Kathy. BHG was my first cookbook as well - we had some scary times together that cookbook and I. (I was a whopping 20 when I got married - and the only dish I knew how to make was ramen noodles mixed with Dinty Moore beef stew... Eventually, I started to figure it out.)

    Stay warm.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can you believe that I have never made baked apples? They look stunning with the sweet nutty filling.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love baked apples dear!! and I love this récipe!! xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kathy, I love your post, brings back a lot of memories. I still have a Betty Crocker cookbook
    and a Better Homes and Gardens from way back when, and one of my best apple pies came
    from the BC book. Your apples turned out great and look so delicious. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Kathy, My mother loved cookbooks. She tells the story of how she did not know how to cook either when she married. My grandmother used to come to the apartment she said and cook for her while she watched and learned. She became a wonderful cook. She later joined the book of the month club and would order cookbooks. I remember her having this cookbook and I loved it too. I lost it in Sandy. Well, I still have many happy memories from.
    it.
    The 60's and 70's were exciting times in so many ways. So much history was made in that era; not to mention some great music.
    My mom would make baked apples all the time. We had two apple trees in the backyard when I was growing up. I loved picking apples for her. She also would make great apple sauce.
    These are such great memories that both you dessert and cookbook bring.
    Blessing dear friend. Catherine xo

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was just thinking of making baked apples today and here are yours looking so delicious! Lovely that you still have your first cookbook:)
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
  17. I hoped you enjoyed writing this Post as much as I enjoyed reading it. Although I am older than you, your beginnings are much like my beginnings. I think your hubby got a real "catch" and he knows it (probably his family realized that quite quickly). BH&G was published by Meredith Publishing Corp which was headquartered in Des Moines (and, still is). It was such a economic force in Iowa and, of course, every Iowa bride received one of those cookbooks. I'm not sure my Mom had any others except the local cookbooks that were published by churches or local organizations. I still rely on BH&G for some of my old standbys just as you do. Next Spring I am going down to LBJ's Presidential Library so I am reading some of his biographies right now. I thought I remembered everything from that era but I don't. You even reminded me of Resurrection City. There is a little political drama going on in NJ right now. Would love to be a mouse in your corner. xoxo Loved the apples just like you did.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You've Come A Long Way, Kathy!!! My go to baked apples are filled with raisins, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon also. I don't mind changing it up every once in a while though!

    I think it is so cool that you still have your very first cookbook. I have mine too. I didn't get a copy of the Better Homes Cookbook until years later but I still refer to it every now and again.

    This is such a wonderful post, Kathy. It never ceases to amaze me how food and the recipes we prepare always have a way of bringing us full circle. Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy. I'm going to need to bake some apples!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I loved reading your post, Kathy! The BH&G cookbook brings back such fond memories. This was my first cookbook given to me as a gift in 1972 when I first started cooking from it, as well. I have a newer addition now, and I also gave one to my daughter, and my 12 yr. old granddaughter, Gabby is starting to bake from it; so it's really a generation of families using this great book!

    Absolutely love your baked apple, which I've made so many times, but this version of Dorie is a much more sophisticated one for sure. Gorgeous, and delicious! Enjoy your getaway stay in Florida! The sun finally came out today and hopefully will stay! Have a wonderful Sunday, dear friend! xo

    ReplyDelete
  20. My mother had one of those cookbooks, too. One of my first cookbooks was a copy of the same edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook I first learned to bake from when I was a kid. I found two copies at a library sale and got one for me and one for my sister.

    I love the stories you shared this week - great post, to go with a great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was some amazing post- I hope you realize how much you touched your readers. First off, starting out with that opening shot of the apple- your photos are outstanding ! And I did not think these little guys were the most photogenic (even if you didn't use vinegar :). But the story you shared was really interesting and touching. We cover a lot of ground and have some diversity amongst the Doristas but your story hit many of us on some level of common ground. I truly felt the stress of those first parent meetings and the excitement you must have experienced as newlyweds in DC. You reeled me in big time and I enjoyed every moment. Thanks for sharing ~

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well you sure can cook now Kathy! Baked apples were always a favorite treat for me too and I haven't made them in years! Good reminder about the ice cream. I may have to try to get some in before my girls head back to school.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What great memories! Your apples a la Dorie look wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for sharing about your early years cooking and in DC -- must have been incredible to be there then. Pretty apples!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love that you have such fun memories associated with baked apples and with your Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. My first cookbook was a book called "Where's Mom Now that I Need Her" followed by my moms copy of Better Homes and Gardens. :) Glad these turned out well! :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I loved reading your post Kathy! You are right it was history at its making and you were there to experience it all. How exciting it must have been! I love your baked apples. The picture is so beautiful You have definitely come a long way from the 20 year old girl who felt bad about not knowing how to cook! Great post and beautiful pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Beautiful memories Kathy and your apples look absolutely mouthwatering. especially with that scoop of ice cream on the side!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Kathy, I really loved reading this post and would enjoy hearing more about your early life in DC and cooking experiences.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What an absolutely great post. I loved reading this. Such a great meeting the future in-laws story, and such a fun time to be in Washington. You must have so many great stories. And from reading your posts, I know you've turned in to a wonderful cook.

    ReplyDelete