The garden of the house I grew up in was full of fruit trees and berry bushes. Mostly apple trees, and most frustrating of all, mostly cooking apple trees. The majority of them fell to the ground and were seized by sugar hungry wasps who buzzed all over them while we ran through the garden, careful not to tread on the sticky appley lumps full of doped up bugs.
When we did collect the apples it was always for apple crumble made by my mother which I still can't quite match, usually eaten on a warm night when it was still light in the evenings and the dogs were tired and our muscles ached from treehouse building or from intrepid exploring adventures into the forest.
What I'm getting at is that this pudding is the homeliest thing I've made for a long time and had me craving the mountains of home and warm autumn days that seem like they're taking forever to arrive so if you're feeling nostalgic, or missing home, this is the dessert for you.
Cooking apples (1 per person)
1/3 cup cinnamon sugar (or normal sugar with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon added)
1/3 cup dried fruit, I used sultanas but you could use any dried berry or even dried apricots chopped up
1/3 cup vegan margarine
a handful of chopped nuts (optional, I just had some macadamias and love them)
Grab an apple corer and core all the apples. I'm sure it's possible to do this without an apple corer, but it makes the whole thing a lot easier. After you've cored them, grab a sharp knife and run a line around the middle of the apple. Imagine it's a planet, where the equator is, that's where you should cut. Just to break the skin, not deep, just all the way around.
Place the cored apples into a baking dish with high-ish sides. Put the sugar, fruit and nuts if you're using them, into a bowl.
Add the margarine and make sure everything's mixed thoroughly. Grab a spoon and push the mixture down into the holes in the apples. If you're using macadamias, they're a pain for this, big bulbous oafs.
Try not to leave too many sultanas on the top like I did, they'll burn easily and they don't taste great when they're burnt. Put any leftover fruit and nuts into the pan with the apples and add 1/3 cup of hot water. Cover with foil and cook in the oven at Gas mark 4/170C/350F for 30 minutes. Then take the foil off and cook for another 20-25 minutes.
I've put this recipe into the recipe book I made for one of you, have you entered to win it? You've got as much chance as everyone else! The link's up there at the top.
(All the pictures at the top are of my home and my family. Aw.)