The weather outside was dismal. I unlocked my front door, entered the chilly house, and shut the door on a very long week. I had two thoughts – make a hot toddy, and build a fire in the woodstove. I roughly chopped ginger, added it to some water and put it on the stove to steep - instant ginger tea! The second order of business was making a fire. I crumpled up newspaper, added kindling it in an artful design and a few smaller pieces of wood rounded out my sculpture. I cast an upward glance as I lit the newspaper, as if my grandfather were watching over me, silently encouraging my efforts. He was the worlds best fire starter. My grandmother always wanted a fire…this sounds like a good match right? My grandfather always grumbled about starting a fire claiming it was too messy. On the nights when she was granted her wish she turned something simple into an occasion to remember. Fall and winter Saturday nights were filled with air popped popcorn with real melted butter and salt over the top. Shirley temples, with extra cherries, were served to us grandkids as my grandparents sipped on their cocktails. My grandfather would eventually settle down after the fire was created and relax in his recliner chair hypnotized by the fire. He would also eat some popcorn…even though, with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth and a twinkle in his eyes, he claimed the popcorn bothered his teeth.
As my fire roared, I gave a silent thank you to my grandfather for teaching me so many things in this world before he died. The hot gin toddy was slowly warming me up and I had a quiet moment to recharge. What to make when you want a little comfort dessert that takes little time to prepare? The two main ingredients:
Apples and candied ginger were diced up and combined with freshly grated cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, a little sprinkling of Calvados and a handful of craisins. I put them in ramekins for a personal touch. Something that says I care about the person who receives this individual ramekin – much like my very own wooden bowl of popcorn made me feel. To feel loved, comforted and special.
A quick streusel topping was thrown together:
It occurred to me as I was assembling this quick dessert how simple it is for me to tackle a recipe like this on a whim. It is second nature to me and I am so thankful I can find my way around the kitchen! I owe that to two great teachers in the kitchen – my Mom and Grandmother. Onward I went as I filled up my ramekins with the apples and topped with streusel. I popped the three assembled ramekins in the oven to bake.
Go forth and bake up some fall treats! Leave a comment telling me your most favorite fall food! I am constantly on the lookout for new ideas! Thanks for reading!