A Few Bad Apples
Even though I have been blessed with recipe success lately, the other day I had quite the opposite situation. I attempted to bake apples and they were terrible. They were mushy, had absolutely no flavor, and were completely discolored from the heat (completely the opposite of these). I was distraught. The whole reason I was baking apples in the first place was to stir memories of the delicious baked apples my grandma made when I was little. Her apples would puff up, the skin would almost flake off, and most importantly, they tasted good. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have my grandma’s touch.
I called up my aunt to ask if she remembered my grandma’s recipe. Seeing as how she is her daughter, I knew she’d have the closest recollection of my grandma’s cooking, not to mention my aunt is a wonderful cook herself. She rattled off an impromptu recipe that sounded reminiscent of the baked apples I had in my mind and in theory sounded like it would work. It’s not that she steered me wrong, but something about the way I made these apples did not turn out as planned.
I was to core the apples, put them in a baking dish with a little water at the bottom, and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. Next, I was to put them in a 350-degree oven, covered, for 20 minutes to steam them, then take off the cover and brown them for 10 minutes. Sounds simple, right?
Well, I have a few theories about why they turned out so terribly. For one thing, we didn’t have an apple corer. I wound up using a knife, unsuccessfully and wound up with half massacred apples with huge chunks taken out of the bottom. Not only was this a problem, but it also alerts me now to another problem in that I was probably not supposed to core them the whole way through. What’s a baked apple if it can’t hold in its own cinnamony sugary goodness? Yes, that was mistake #1.
Mistake #2 came from when I felt like improvising and I added margarine. I thought it would sound good, add a little richness to the apples, but I quickly discovered that richness is butter’s job, not margarine’s. When the sugar and cinnamon mixture fell through the apples, I thought it would be good to dip them in the sauce that lay in the bottom of the pan. This is not so when you have a watered down fake butter mixture with not nearly enough cinnamon and sugar. It was terrible I tell you, just terrible.
Other things I should note was that I used brown sugar instead of white sugar. I thought a touch of molasses flavor couldn’t hurt this fall dish and would enhance it (clearly that didn’t work). I also used a combination of Granny Smith and Rome apples because I have read that both are great for apple baking and I was trying to do a test of which was better (anyone have any insight?)
Even though I’ve realized my mistakes, I’m still not sure that if corrected, these apples will come out the way I want them to. Have any of you ever made baked apples and did they come out ok? If so, please share your recipes and apple baking tips!
Even though I wanted my grandma’s recipe, next time I may try some of these recipes: