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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Easy Apple Custard

I am a rampant baker after the sun goes down. There's just something about having a warm oven on a cold night that makes life great. After a tragic disaster trying to force a store-bought frozen whole wheat pie crust out of its aluminum shell and into my ceramic tart pan, I winged this yummy ol' thing out of fridge remnants for dessert. This can be made as a filling for a tart or pie, as in this recipe on which my version is based, or simply baked in a dish for a simple, healthy, hearty dessert. You can also double the custard recipe

5 medium apples, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, or any mixture of apples you have around.
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of cloves, nutmeg, cardmom, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, or your favorite spices.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)

1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/6 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
3/8 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Peel apples and remove the cores how you wish. Slice apples to 1/4 inch thickness.
2. Toss apple slices in a bowl with the lemon juice, spices, vanilla, sugar, and butter. Allow to sit for a while as you clean up the apple peels and cores. Stir occasionally, as the juices and whatnot will gather at the bottom of the bowl.
3. Butter or spray your chosen baking dish with canola oil. Pile in the apple slices, leaving the juices in the bowl. You may arrange the apples decoratively if you have the patience, or just pour them in and squish it all around so the slices lay flat on top of each other.
4. Rinse out the apple bowl and dry. Whisk together all of the custard ingredients until smooth and small bubbles appear at the edges of the mixture. Pour the custard mixture over the apples evenly, making sure to leave some room between the top of the apples/custard and the lip of your baking dish--this will bubble up in the oven.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately thirty minutes, or the top layer of apples is slightly browned. Allow to cool with the oven off, or on the counter and enjoy!

This recipe has a huge, wonderful allowance for additions and adjustments--add lemon zest, ginger, powdered tea leaves, chocolate chips, caramel, raisins, anything you have on hand. I served it with some whipped cream (from a can, of course, only the best) after dinner, and then had some for breakfast this morning with plain yogurt and tea. Delicious, better for you than a pastry, and just as satisfying!

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