For a couple of weeks now I have been swooning over French cooking magazines. They’re brimming with so many recipes, all of which I want to make yesterday! And, I can generally understand foodspeak in French.
I also love that the fotos are not as perfect and coiffed as US magazines would have them. This, for me, makes the recipe all the more desirable and inviting.
The magazines feel like new friends of sorts as well, because they also keep me company when I’m out dining alone. One day at lunch I must have appeared very intriguing to the table of four sitting nearby, watching me. I was very intent on my reading and regularly used a translator app for French words to better understand ingredients and methods. It was a splendid way to spend time! When I looked up, I found them perhaps envying me. They seemed kind of bored; I was clearly basking in joy.
Today I finally made my first magazine recipe. I started easy and only needed to look up 2 words in the entire recipe. This Normandie apple sauce recipe simply required baking apples, pressing them through a food mill which I do not have, and adding your choice of fresh ginger or vanilla.
With a few restarts of my oven which I do not love entirely, my apples baked for perhaps 30 minutes. I’d added some slivers of fresh ginger and a splash of water and also a bit of my ginger-cinnamon syrup in the fridge, to keep them company in the baking dish.
When they looked like they’d seen enough oven time, they mashed with a fork, like a sweet dream! I think a food mill would have been overkill, just sayin’. The fork mash was as close to perfect as this could get.
I tasted a bit, added a dash of cinnamon, and some fine vanilla extract.
La Perfection, the French would say!
Next time I’m going to make a full recipe – this was just ½ recipe, as a trial! The recipe actually calls for the scrape of one-half vanilla bean, so that will be for next time even though I can’t imagine how much more delicious this could get.
My Normandie Apple Sauce, for 4
8 large apples, peeled, quartered and seeded
Few slices fresh, peeled gingerroot, optional
Splash of water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste or ½ vanilla bean, scraped
Ground cinnamon, optional
Preheat oven to 350F. Place apples in large baking dish, cut side down. Arrange ginger slices around apples if using. Splash about ¼ cup water over top of apples and place pan, uncovered, in oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until apple pieces are soft enough to mash. Allow to cool slightly. Remove ginger pieces. Mash apples with fork, add vanilla and cinnamon. Taste to adjust flavor per preference.