Apples in Red Wine

Sometimes you just have to cook the apples and then disguise them with something to make them look dessert like.

So here we go, though I am reminded of my mother’s second most hated dessert, (she grew up hating rice pudding, applesauce, white fish in white sauce, white or beige food generally). So for her, though she is not here, I made red wine apples (the colour’s the thing!) flavoured with vanilla extract, strewn with independent crumble topping and served with a dollop of voluptuous Greek yoghurt.

Chop up endless apples with no particular end in mind.

Realise that the hour is getting late.

As there is a bottle of red wine handy that has been opened to excite the black eye bean chili with a little something….

Pop the apple pieces in a small pan. Slosh, in the style of the late lamented Keith Floyd, a generous slurp or two or three of red wine over the apples. Heat gently till the apples are poached, or if a mix like I had, disintegrating in part.  Turn off the heat, throw in a spoonful of your vanilla extract as well.

Taste, add as little sugar as you can get away with. I think I used one spoon of soft brown sugar, that was all this time.  We like our apples tart in this house.

Sprinkle the top with some independent crumble mix that you made earlier in the week.

Add a spoon of yellow apples on top (found in the fridge from the day before)

Dig out the dairy indulgence or whatever you are allowing yourself to eat these days and tuck in.

I like it warm, the soft aroma of the wine swirls up and hits your nostrils and you can pretend it’s something much fancier than applesauce, even a hint of Christmas there and mulled wine; it worked for me now the weather has turned cold.

You can always have chocolate later if that pudding was just a bit too low sugar for you.

Independent crumble – This is kind of so obvious I wonder why I have never done it before.  Thank you Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, for another Everyday cookbook hit suggestion.  I feel empowered by that book, full of good ideas to play with for everyday cooking which is really all I do.

So where were we? Oh yes.

Independent crumble.

Just make crumble mix, I think the Americans call it streusel, with whatever you want, butter, sugar, with agave nectar, non dairy fat, with oats, flour, nuts, dried fruits, whatever you like, experiment, whatever crumbles your boat.  Then spread it out on a baking sheet and bake it.  Keep your eye on it, turn it every so often and once it looks cooked let it cool and store and use as needed.

I made one yesterday with whizzed up oats, a few toasted walnuts, two dessert spoons of agave nectar, a handful of swiss dark flour ( a light wholemeal) and some good butter. Delicious, low sugar, just sweet enough crumbs to strew over these wine coloured apples.  B said it was just like trifle! Result!

How difficult can that be? It’s not. Thanks Misk for reminding me about that Danish childhood dish, I had already peeled the blinking apples or I would have done your smart thing with the appleskins too. I’ll remember that for another time I promise.

I wonder if my mother would have eaten it the way I made it yesterday, I like to think she would have at least tried it.

The photo? Taken on the Ipad, and artyfartied with a little programme called Snapseed. For those of you who like everything textured and atmospheric you can tweak the textures, move the focus and put silly frames on the photo just by rolling your finger over the screen. Photos for idiots like me.

24 thoughts on “Apples in Red Wine

  1. Misk Cooks

    While you were writing up this brilliant post, I had my fingers stuck into rolled oats, plain flour, Lurpak Spreadable, and a good squirt of agave nectar. I just added flour or marg or oats until it suddenly went from a sticky mass to a crumbly ..erm.. crumble texture. Then I bake it for a short time. I wonder how quick I can write up a post? :D

    White fish, eh? I love cod with crushed mustard seed sauce. So delish!

    Nice photo. I can’t take a good photo with my iPad unless it’s really close-up. How are getting on with your new camera?

    1. Joanna Post author

      I told you agave would work :) I whizzed my oats in the blender to make them finer, ditto the walnuts, I also like using the wholemeal family of flours in these, spelt, swiss dark, or if you don’t have one of those, just sieve whatever wholemeal flour you have to remove some of the bran, which makes it all a bit claggy if there is too much in the mix.

      My mother would have eaten the white fish if it had been festooned with pink prawns or lobster tails or something, but white on white, or apples and white cream, really not her thing.

      The iPad takes grainy photos but you can accentuate its good points with something like the Snapseed app which is great fun to use. Here is another example : One of my home grown chili plants :

      Snapseed image Joanna @ Zeb Bakes

  2. heidi

    That is lovely.
    I love the yellow apple accent.
    And the streusel is so smart.
    I think I will whip up a batch to go on top of
    some vanilla bean ice cream I have in the freezer.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a good way to control the sugar content and still have pudding ! I wish I had vanilla bean icecream in the freezer, It sounds like a winning combination to me Heidi :)

  3. Suelle

    My independent crumble mix is even more instant – a packet of granola breakfast cereal! Lovely on top of cooked fruit or natural yogurt. I know I should be baking from scratch but we eat too much if I bake whereas with the cereal I can just add a spoonful.

    1. Joanna Post author

      That does sound speedy :)

      I don’t buy granola so I don’t know how sweet it is. I guess one is trading sugar for butter the way I do it.

      I was experimenting with the agave nectar for Misk, whose husband is on a low sugar diet, to see how little sugar one could get away with and still feel that one had something vaguely sweet and crumble like. It was really very quick to do and now I have a tub which I can use for different desserts or freeze if we don’t want it all. We eat far less this way than if I make a conventional crumble, a heaped spoon per serving on top of the fruit as here. You could also use the crumbs as a layer in a sweet yeasted bread rolled up babka style or in a chelsea bun…

  4. ceciliag

    This is MY KIND of recipe.. great, great, and i will trade butter for sugar anyday. And you mentioned Floyd, was he the one who had a camera man called Clive who he would talk to throughout the shoot, I used to watch him all the time I loved him! Slosh was definitely his motto! c

    1. Joanna Post author

      yes it was ! Lovely Floyd, and the long suffering Clive his cameraman.

      Floyd making la bourride – fish stew in the sunny South of France for you!

      I can’t seem to add the video in the comment – how annoying. Here is the link to You Tube.

      He was based in Bristol, had his first restaurant down the road from where I lived as a student. He died two years ago :(

  5. teawithhazel

    what a great post favourite way of cooking is the ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ style you so eloquently embody just looks so pretty with the two tone apples and i love anything fruity crumbly..especially with a good dollop cream..i remember watching floyd and being turned off by his too wet lips moistened constantly with slurps of vino and the anointing spray of saliva..

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks jane :) It was a bit of a seat of pants post too, suddenly thought I hadn’t posted anything for a week and I missed chatting to you all. I think the current crop of TV chefs owe a lot to Floyd and his presentation style, and I much preferred him to some of the ones we get today though they may look tidier, though I do remember the spray moments, I always put it down to concentration ;)

  6. Choclette

    Nice idea Jo. Poaching pears in red wine is popping up all over the blogosphere, but yours is the first time I’ve come across red wine with apples. It also sounds like my kind of cooking – look at what’s available and chuck it all together ;-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Choclette, I’ve been poaching fruit in all sorts since I was given St Delia’s Christmas book many years ago. Do you remember that book?

      She does pears in wine, cider and, my favourite of the lot – marsala. It used to be my one and only almost fancy dessert, once I had mastered the art of peeling pears with a potato peeler and leaving the stalks on and making the sauce with arrowroot to keep it clear. They are very pretty, but I was very pleased with the robust colour of the apples once the wine had gone in and the flavour. It might be good piped as a puree decoration on something too… :)

  7. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Hmm, you just mentioned marsala. Pears in marsala sound good too. Ever since I made the cannoli I’ve been thinking about what else I could use the marsala for, the smell is wonderful in cooking, and with pears mmmm.
    I was just thinking what else you could use for low/no sugar, I wonder if coconut oil would taste any good as a topping with the oats and nuts? I’m might play…. thanks Joanna :-)

  8. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Love your arty iPad photos! :) And love Mr FW’s book, thanks again for recommending it to me. It never makes it to the bookshelf these days, and that’s because of wonderful recipes like the crumble mix… xxx

    1. Joanna Post author

      I got the Vegetable book the other day, but it overlaps quite a lot with Everyday, though it is prompting me to do more veggie meals, we are aiming to alternate veggie and non veggie days as a way of reducing our meat and fish consumption. I am rediscovering old favourites like aubergine parmagiana and I made a veggie chili last week, got a bit overenthusiastic with the chilli. Our home grown one is very fiery :)

      Lovely to hear from you – missed you !

  9. hotlyspiced

    You have a great way of making cooking sound easy and effortless. And what a great dessert. My mother’s most hated meal was also fish in white sauce – anything in white sauce actually.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Welcome hotlyspiced! Nice of you to drop in. Cooking is as hard as we make it isn’t it? (maybe our mothers are related? ) I have been admiring your lovely blog last night – you take beautiful photos and write in such a funny way – l love it :D

  10. emilysincerely

    well, I guess “*hit on a shingle” or SOS or chipped beef (what ever you know it by) is out of the question (white on white). Gram used to make that and it is STILL my all time favorite comfort food.

    I have heard “crumble” “streusel” and maybe even “crisp” Gram made Apple Crisp (had crumble on top).. like you said – what ever you call it – it is darn good (and easy)

    Your Apples in Red Wine looks amazing! And so versatile

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’ve never heard of ‘hit on a shingle’ or SOS or chipped beef… what is it? If it is white on white that might explain why of course … LOL

      Crumble is the usual english name for this pudding, streusel is more European/German/Swiss in origin and I think Crisp is used more in the States, but no doubt someone will correct me. And now with the internet and all the foodie blogs and sites I think more and more people use the names interchangeably anyway. (A crisp here usually refers to what you in the States call a potato chip, and what we call chips are what you call fries, it’s all just a question of translation)

      1. emilysincerely

        Hi – I typed the words wrong “sh*t on a shingle”…It is white on white. Gram used to make if for us for lunch. Not sure of its origin, but I know it used to be served in the military (low cost yet filling meal). I just made some yesterday day so I will send a photo. Basically, you make a roux/white sauce/bechamel. Gram added dried beef (chipped beef) to the white sauce. I remember she eventually used a beef-type lunch meat (white sauce + beef makes “sh*t”). Then it is served over toast (shingle) hence Sh*t on a Shingle (SOS). I still use toast, but also serve over mashed potatoes or a plain baked potato. My neighbor, from his military days, remembers the SOS being made with ground meat.

  11. Monica Shaw

    So tonight I made some baked apples which were basically just that – apples, baked, with no sugar or butter or anything. But that’s how I like it. Made to go with my morning breakfast of muesli and yogurt. I also sometimes dip into the roasted apples for dessert, with more yogurt (Greek preferred) – that’s how I roll. I’m like, I like things tart, so I’m loving this idea of cooking the apples with red wine.

    While my oven was hot, I also baked some pears with apple brandy, to be pureed into yogurt and churned in the ice cream maker, maybe with some vanilla and spices, for a frozen yogurt dessert.

    Gee, I appear to be totally obsessed with yogurt. Maybe I am?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Monica, thanks for visiting. I haven’t made baked apples for ages, I haven’t got any of those big baking apples in the garden and I don’t know if one can bake other apples and get that exploding fluffiness from them. I might try baking some of my garden ones and see how they turn out. I used to stuff them with sultanas in the middle.

      I love the sound of your pear apple brandy yoghurt dessert too ! You don’t sound obsessed with yoghurt to me – I’m on your team there :)

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