Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cheating Hearts

Mele al Forno Rapide con Fiocchi d'Avena Croccante
Cheats Baked Apples with Oatmeal Crunch

It may have been Valentines Day today- but I have no time for such nonsense- haha! Mainly because it is also my brother's Birthday today and so the day is always more of a family affair than a romantic one. But although there was plenty of yummy stuff to enjoy at the party, by the time I took the train back home I was already for a little something sweet again... and warm! It is still SO COLD here in Frankfurt!

So, being sensible, I decided that if I was going to over-indulge (and why not?), then I should do it in a healthy way. And that is a pretty easy thing to do if you use some smarts and use some good fresh produce and natural flavors... easier still if you cheat a little like I did and do most of the cooking on your stove-top ;-), but pssst! Don't tell everyone that!

You can see this as a little Valentines Day gift from me to you- a way to give your sweetheart a sweet treat when he or she deserves it- and you didn't plan ahead! This is maybe a very down-to-earth and every-day kind of dessert- but it is totally delicious and can be whipped up in just 15 minutes! This is how...

First of all, turn on your oven to 400°F to get it hot and ready to go- then, peel and dice your apples. I used Braeburn's as they are personal favorites of mine, but Granny Smith or any other slightly tart and tangy apple would be fine for this. Sautée the diced apples in just a little butter for 3-4 minutes, until they start to give off their juices, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon, add a tiny pinch of salt and sweeten in whichever way you prefer... I used Stevia- just 1 teaspoon for 2 small apples, but sugar or honey would be fine too, although you would have to be more careful that the sugar or honey doesn't get too dark and burn (another good reason to use Stevia :-) ). Next, add just a little water- or if you are making this for grown-ups only, a splash of Calvados or rum, and a handful of raisins (if you like them!). Stir well- with the added liquid, the natural pectin in the apple will begin to thicken and turn syrupy in a very nice way! 

Next, spoon the apples into a ramekin, but leave a little of the juice behind in the frying pan, then add oatmeal and a little honey and stir it in to soak it all up. Stir the oatmeal together until it forms a dry crumble and sprinkle on top of the apples. Add an extra little drizzle of honey and pop into the oven for 2-3 minutes to come back up to temperature and a further 2-3 minutes under the broiler to become crispy and brown... and you're done!

I opted to add simple, plain yogurt and stay healthy, but of course a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some vanilla custard would also be delicious. In any case... if apple and cinnamon and a crunchy topping is involved you can count me in! How about you guys? Enjoy!

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