Total disclaimer: I have actually not read Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. So why do a Food and Fandom post on this series? Well, good question. I have a friend to blame for that. Lately she and I have met to do a bit of baking (and video gaming…), and she’s a big Redwall fan. So I guess in that respect, I couldn’t pass up doing something from a recipe book she owned, especially when it involved apples. Talk about something completely in-season!
What I love about recipe books for fantasy books is that they’re extensions of the world and are in a way immersive of that particular world. To be honest, I feel I’m vicariously living in Westeros every time I do a recipe in A Feast of Ice and Fire (all I really need now are aurochs… *cough*), and I totally felt like I was sitting on the dwarf king’s throne whenever I think about making miniature Scones of Stone from Discworld. While I do not know the world of Redwall (actually, I’m vaguely familiar with it, because it is quite a popular series), I found it particularly adorable that there are recipes and foods that are transferable to our mortal plane.
The recipe in question?
Baked apple recipes are super simple, and take practically less than a half hour to prep and bake, depending on how much you’re including in it. In this particular case, the cored apples are stuffed with fruits (we used an assortment of raisins, dried cranberries, and dried cherries), doused in honey, and put in a water bath for 20-25 minutes. Sounds delicious and simple, yeah? Because it really is just that simple.
I will say this, though: it might be a good idea to get a corer, especially if you’re planning on coring a ton of apples and doing so regularly. It might be an especially safe route if you’re accident-prone like me and knives are not your friend. I think the only reason why the prepping took a big longer for this recipe was because my friend had to run around looking for a Band-Aid for me (yeah, like I said, I occasionally am accident-prone). Never fear! I was put on stuffing duty once we realized coring apples with a knife was not my forte.
Thankfully, there wasn’t really much else to do once coring was completed besides putting the fruits inside and dousing it with honey. The honey had to be warmed a bit to a liquid consistency and then poured into the apples. In hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t have cut such a deep hole, because the honey didn’t overflow like the instructions said. Ah well. The honey was a bonus!
Verdict: The flavors were certainly delicious, and having an assortment of dried fruit made it all the better! I did have a little concern with the texture, because for me, the apples were way too soft (like, almost applesauce soft), and I usually prefer my apples a bit less squishy. That said, we probably overbaked it, or put too much water in. That’s something to think about.
The recipe did call for a sprinkling of heavy cream or the recipe book’s Custard Cream, but we figured we didn’t really need that. I will say that these baked apples might have gone great with ice cream. I’m thinking vanilla, butter pecan, or caramel. Nummy.