Ok, so I messed around a bit with today’s theme. “OMG, [Queen Elizabeth I] is coming over because she knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?” actually was something about President Obama, but since I’m not American and I’m a bit of a historical fangirl, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to make something delicious and wax lyrical about my heroine. You can’t get more basic in terms of ingredients than these baked granola apples, but combined they are lush and decadent. Fit for a queen slumming in modern South Africa?
I’ve been meaning to make baked apples for a while now… in fact, I know I almost always start off my posts by talking about what I’ve had planned, but life really does work out over a long time period, at least in my kitchen. Baked apples became a thing in my brain years ago when V, my dad’s wife and mother to the most gorgeous siblings ever, made apples baked with marzipan inside and ice-cream on top. I usually loathe marzipan but this was possibly the best dessert I’d ever eaten. As much as I’ve wanted to re-create that dish, however, marzipan doesn’t come cheap, and I can’t always eat too many nuts, so I decided to compromise with a simple sweet granola filling and the most basic of vegan ice-creams. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is simple awesomeness!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 2 medium granny smith or golden delicious apples
- 1/2 cup puffed brown rice
- 1/8 cup GF oats
- 1 TBSP chia seeds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 TBSP liquid sweetener of choice
- 2 TBSP drizzly tahini or almond butter
- 2 TBSP boiling water
- 1/4 cup pear purée
- 2 droppers NuNaturals Liquid Stevia Vanilla
- 2 TBSP non-dairy milk
- big splashes cinnamon
- 2 frozen bananas, sliced
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Edible red food dust
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Mix your tahini, sweetener and boiling water in a tall mug, then combine with the rest of the ingredients except the apples and non-dairy milk.
- Cut off the tops of your apples and core them (either with a teaspoon or actual corer). Add the mixture evenly in the apple and splash more cinnamon on top.
- Transfer apples to a high-lidded baking dish and fill it with water until it covers the bottom 1/8th of the apple.
- Score the top of the apple and poke at it with a knife along the body.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then add 1 TBSP of non-dairy milk straight into the filling portion and bake for another 20 minutes until soft.
- Blend your bananas and vanilla until it forms soft serve.
- Scoop on top of the apple and sprinkle on the dust.
- Optional: Bake the tops of the apples as well, cover them with chocolate and set them on top of the baked ice-cream topped apple base.
I really am a sucker for baked fruit – in some ways this reminds me of my baked pistachio choc pear goodie, but I think that’s just because that was the pinnacle of my dough-y artistry, even though it basically involved mummifying a pear :p Sometimes the most basic of cooking norms needs to be undertaken, and a baked apple is so simple but effective as a vehicle for nomness.
Which do I glee about first, the baked apples or Queen Eliz I? She may in some respects be a representation of outdated systems (monarchy, much?) and ideals, but in many ways she remains a solid vision of an amazing human being, at least to me. When I about eight or so I found my first book on the Tudors in the library and took the opportunity of being a loner to spend many an hour glorying over their triumphs, horrors and audacity. Being raised by a man in a diplomatic, tight-collared environment meant I could relate in some ways more to this conflicted character more than I could to the fickle faces of contemporary culture. In some ways I loved reading about her because she didn’t follow the traditional fairy tale structure which was expected, and the equal parts isolation and parade of her life made it one that was much more realistic and tangible. It’s for this reason that I chose a minimal fuss dessert for my imaginary meeting. Most of my daydreams about meeting her somehow revolve around long speeches, and since I know I’m verbose baking an apple and covering it in ice-cream is one sure way to get me to shut up!Thinking back on who my childhood heroes were (and are) makes me wonder who my brother and sister will grow up to admire. They have such a vastly different frame of reference than I do (the 22+ years difference might have something to do with that) and however much Man-thing and I may want to influence them in some ways (Star Trek!), they are still able to make up their own minds, which is both heartening and discouraging. When it comes to food us siblings also differ vastly. Although they do occasionally get chocolate and sweets, they don’t drink coke and the like, and don’t mind (and in fact ask for) raisins, rye crackers, and other healthy stuff as snacks. When I was younger there was no way that anything less than a big cheesy sandwich or a tower stack of chocolate would satisfy my cravings, but I’m so relieved they’ve got healthy habits in that respect. There’s so much temptation at every corner and at eye-level of little rascals, that whether it comes down to food or role models, so much can go wrong. This dish, however, is all worlds of right. I had some fresh out the oven and then placed the rest in the freezer and ate that as breakfast at work yesterday, secretly gloating all the while at my antics. The granola takes on an amazing texture when it starts to defrost a bit with the ice-cream and slight crunch of apple, and how am I now going to be satisfied with any other breakfast?
In fact, my mission for the next time my oven is on is to make a smoothie bowl out of this. I made some extra granola and baked that on the side, and it took an immense amount of self control not to scarf down the lot off of the steaming baking tray. Self control is not something I have a lot of usually, and that’s why I always enjoy reading about people whose whole lives revolved around it. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been less sycophantic of one individual and more admiring of certain qualities scattered amongst all the people I know and love, and somehow it’s better to see the positive all around you than trapped in history, though none of us of course look so resplendent being as historically badass as Queen Elizabeth! 😀
Who is your historical idol?
What would you make for them were they to rock up on your doorstep unannounced?