My sweet daughter came over last night after her children were in bed. She came after a long day at work, picking up the kids, making dinner, dealing with all the days excitement and disappointment, she came over to be a wonderful daughter after being a working Mom. She came over to help me. I reached out to her when feeling really punk yesterday and she responded without a second thought…I’ll be over tonight after the kids are in bed to make you a couple of things to eat. She made me vegan chili and baked apples. When she suggested making baked apples I immediately said yes and a flood of wonderful memories came over me.
My Mom and I loved baked apples, usually Rome apples carefully cored and placed in a baking dish, the holes filled with raisins and then filled with diet black cherry soda spilling over into the pan to fill the sides 1/2 inch up. Then a sprinkling of cinnamon and in the oven. The timing was dependent upon when we put them in the oven. If done late at night as most of our baking was done, we would fall asleep in the living room and awake to the sweet smell of caramelizing apple on the bottom of the pan. We’d run in and remove the steaming mass and the soda usually completely evaporated had formed somewhat of a fruit leather on the bottom of the pan. A dripping hot fingerful was always a late night treat, sweet, sticky and gummy, just what teeth do not need before going to sleep for the night.
If it was earlier in the day we’d take them out of the oven, each take an apple in a bowl, scoop up some of the sauce and pour cold buttermilk over the top of the apple. There is nothing quite as delicious as the warm soft sweet apple juxtaposed against the sweet cool sour buttermilk. If I tell people about the buttermilk they usually say…really…no ice cream or whipped cream…no– cool luscious thick buttermilk.
This morning I got up feeling better than I’d had in a week, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and I knew there were baked apples in the frig, what a great day to be alive. I don’t know what kind of apples were in the frig, I don’t know if they’d been made with sugar or honey (I fill the holes with raisins and honey now) and I didn’t smell the caramelized apple aroma as they were baking, I just knew they were down there.
The sight of the tan sagging raisin speckled apple made me smile, baked apples are not pretty, but this book needed no fancy cover. I plopped one into a bowl and pulled out some non fat fage yogurt and dolloped a thick spoonful right on top setting aside my vegan diet for the moment. I drizzled a thin stream of honey on the yogurt to thin it down and dug in. It was the best baked apple ever, it was cool, sweet, the skin was chewy with a thin layer of apple left to give it just the right amount of flavor, the yogurt tart and balanced, playing against the sweetness cooked into the apple. I finished every last drop, skin, raisins, yogurt, scraping the bowl with the spoon for every last morsel.
I thought of Mom, I thought of my daughter and I thought not only am I the luckiest person ever, but this is definitely the best baked apple ever.