Sustained and comforted

A bit chilly these days–time for baked apples, the recipe based loosely on the Old Testament reference to “Sustain me with raisins, comfort me with apples” as well as the comment in this post.

comfort ingredients

Today I don’t have bananas for the recipe, so I’ll use sweet potatoes.  The family Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe uses apples, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and a little butter (these days probably a butter substitute). I have a bag of Granny Smith apples–usually too expensive for baking but after doing the math, the bag came out to 39¢ a pound, as opposed to 69¢ for whatever was on sale.  The brown sugar sounds a bit heavy for the delicacy of the cinnamon/raisin/Australian port/lemon peel combination, and I’m almost out, so I’ll just use a few tablespoons and use honey for the rest. Looking for nuts, I have also found some ground walnuts left over from making qatayef at Ramadan.  And what spice might be delicate enough to go with cinnamon? I have some maHalab (the label says “mahlab”) that was used for some middle eastern pastry, expensive but delicious, and I can grind the round, clove-sized seeds to powder in the coffee grinder.  Raisins of course.  A half a lime for juice, but lemon for the grated peel. Some of the apples get cored and stuffed with the raisin/walnut/spice mixture, and the rest are sliced with the sweet potatoes.

comfort ready to bake

I pour a shot glass of good Australian port over the finished product.  A shame to use it for baking, really, I think to myself, and pour myself a small libation. It tastes of orchards in the fall sun, exotic kisses, and other things mostly harmless.

comfort baked apples

I have no idea how long I baked it; I was trying to fix my new mp3 player that flaked out on me when I tried to delete one of the demo songs that came with it. (Yes, I finally got it to turn off and reinitialize itself, then I downloaded the new software from the website, and now it seems to be fine.)

The seasoning was absolutely perfect. The apples I scored around the middle first, and they held their shape while baking.  I can’t decide if I like it better when they disintegrate or not. The sweet potatoes were firmer than I’m used to even though they seemed fully cooked; maybe they should be baked in a larger pan where they can sit in the bottom and simmer in juices, or maybe they should be microwaved briefly before baking.


This tastes really great with Australian port.

A toast to absent friends.

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