Fruit in Japan is worth its weight in gold. Don’t give me that look, I know what you’re thinking… “What’s your prob, C? Why you always dissin’ homegrown products for dis fancy Asian shit?” In this case, I swear!, I’m not even addressing quality, but merely the price of said fruits. They literally are worth their weight in gold, because you’re paying $6 for a pint of strawberries and up to $50 for a watermelon. I’ve never seen such prices for produce - although they really are worth it. I think that if you could accuse the Japanese of any one personality trait, it would be perfectionism. Each piece of fruit that is sold in the market is perfect – without a single blemish or imperfection. They are cocooned in layers of cardboard and Styrofoam like precious antiques. And damn, do they taste good. So, if I do happen to come upon the occasional bag of discount apples (only $5 for 5 apples, such a deal!) you can’t blame me for jumping for joy. Of course buying those apples does necessitate eating them…
An apple – halved and cored
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/375F. Place the apple halves in the baking pan skin side down (I find it helps to slice a little off the round side to make them sit flat). Give them a generous sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with a pat of butter. Pop them in the over and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until brown and bubbly. Be careful to watch them near the end, the sugar may burn! Scoop out of their skins, squish slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream. Make sure to grab the caramel, juicy drippings on the bottom of the pan, they’re delish!
You really can’t go wrong with something this simple, and it avoids the other baked apple pitfalls like tedious coring and raisin-soaking. Perfect for a chilly spring night! Don’t bother to peel these babies before you cook them, it takes too much effort and at the end of long baking they just slip right out anyway. Itadakimasu!