“Natale con i tuoi, pasqua come tu vuoi…..” I keep hearing this. Roughly translated: “Christmas you spend with family, Easter with those you wish.” Everyone seems to be counting down to Easter, though Easter Monday (Pasquetta) is the only day off for many Italians. The classic activity then is a picnic in the countryside, I am told. Yes, Good Friday is actually a working day here. Quite a contrast to a Norwegian Easter, which for many started last weekend as they headed to their mountain cabins for a week of skiing.
This is Rome, and it is spring, so we will be heading to Tuscany soon for three days of wine, cheese, and general Easter enjoyment. In anticipation of cheese shopping in Pienza, the fridge is being cleared out a bit. However, we had friends over for a weeknight dinner and needed a simple dessert with what was in the house. Aha! Baked apples it was.
Oatmeal-coconut stuffed baked apples
40g coarse oatmeal
40g dessicated coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
40g butter, shaved in
40g golden syrup or honey
A little golden syrup or honey to drizzle over before baking
Core and peel the apples. You will be stuffing the apple centres later, so it is fine to have a slightly wide ex-core. I discovered this as I misjudged the apple core direction and needed to core some again……There is plenty of oatmeal stuffing though, you might need less if you are a better apple corer!
In a bowl, mix oatmeal, coconut, and cinnamon. Shave in the butter (a paring knife will help) so you can roughly amalgamate the mixture with a fork, like making crumble topping. Stuff the apples generously with oatmeal mixture, stand upright in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle a little golden syrupor honey over each apple, maybe 2 tsp for all apples together. If there is any extra oatmeal mixture, spoon it in next to the apples. Cover dish until ready to make.
Dinner going well? Heat oven to 200C. Bake 30 min or so at 200C, until the apples are slightly softened but not so long the stuffing burns. I baked these ten minutes covered, only because I forgot to take the glass lid off….. Then twenty minutes more, the apples should still have a little resistance. Turn off oven. Put lid on or cover, so it does not dry out, and serve when needed.
Notes: It might be nice with vanilla custard on the side, but this was lovely as was. Easy weeknight dessert that could be prepared in advance and popped in the oven when guests start eating dinner. Ours were chatty, so something robust enough to be left a bit worked well. I thought the apples might discolour without a squeeze of lemon juice, but the smidgen of golden syrup may have resolved that.