Granny Smith apples are the star of this easy, old-fashioned dessert
Everybody seems to take apples for granted. They're always there in supermarkets and farmers market stalls, parents are packing them in kids' lunches, and some fast-food places now offer sliced apples as a healthy alternative to french fries (not that many guests necessarily go for that option). The fruit is also featured in some of the most often-repeated, time-honored sayings:
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
"American as apple pie."
"An apple for the teacher."
"You're the apple of my eye."
And yet, the ubiquity of apples sometimes leads to them being taken for granted. A great apple pie or apple tart is a wonderful thing -- but they aren't always the first desserts to fly off the menu.
So, with the peak of autumn apple-picking season coming soon, when the most abundant crops and widest varieties are available, I thought I'd invite you to join me in a little experiment. Its goal is to help anyone who tries it achieve a new, richer appreciation of the apple's goodness.
It's about the mixture of sweet, tart and spicy flavors that marry so well with other ingredients both sweet and savory; the way the texture of certain apple varieties, when cooked, turn wonderfully tender while still retaining a hint of crispness; and simply the pristine beauty of the apple's spherical form.
What kind of miraculous experiment could accomplish all those things? It's a recipe, of course, and one that may at first seem quite ordinary. For baked apples.
Cored whole apples, baked with sugar and spices in a sweetened liquid, seem to many people like the most basic of culinary preparations. It's something parents cook for little children. Nursery food.