Monday, September 10, 2007

TRGWT #6: Apples and Lavender

Since this is the first time I've ever participated in a foodblogging event, I thought I'd start small. But a simple recipe doesn't mean a bad one--no, sometimes simple is good. And this is one of those times.

The very talented and delightful Inge at Vanielje Kitchen is hosting TRGWT (These Really Go Well Together) #6, and selected apples and lavender as the required ingredients to, well, go together. It inspired me, so I had to go for it--especially since I bought a little bag of dried lavender blossoms only a month ago, and had been thinking about how to use it. Perfect.

I started with grandiose ideas--a tart? Crostada? Lavender-scented madelines sandwiching apple butter? But alas, I don't have much time these days... dear friends are getting married in less than two weeks, and I have gotten myself into the planning production, which I love doing. Add to that a weekly ladies meeting I've offered to host in my home every Tuesday, and I've become a busy little bee.

Which led me to simple.

What I've created is a lovely little dessert--one perfect apple, baked in foil with a drizzle of lavender-infused agave nectar and a breath of nutmeg, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, more nectar and a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with sliced almonds.

Before I give you the recipe, I must take time to explain that I am a diabetic. A foodie, a food-blogger and a lover of all things sweet and delicious, yes, I am a Type 2 Diabetic. So... here I've started a diet, and there are all these dishes to make, to try, to eat! This recipe was created with this in mind--hence the use of agave nectar, which is diabetic-safe. While I don't normally indulge in apples (I prefer to use berries or melon, since they are lower on the glycemic index), the fiber is a good thing, and, well, apples were in the rules. The ice cream I used is store-bought, no-sugar-added vanilla, and the whipped cream is made with sucralose. For those of you who do consume sugar, all of this can be made the very same way using regular ingredients--honey instead of agave nectar, and regular ice cream and whipped cream.

So let's get on with it, shall we?

This... drumroll, please... is the finished creation!

Hot, soft apple, with cold, melting ice cream, the fragrance of lavender and just a hint of nutmeg... divine, clearly a gift from God Himself.

The photo simply does not do it justice--and I am the last person to claim more than average skills as a point-and-shoot photographer. It is indeed a study in shades of white and ivory.

Baked Apple with Lavender-Infused Agave Nectar, Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream


For Lavender-Infused Agave Nectar
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms

For Baked Apple

1 cooking apple, peeled, cored & cut in half (I used a golden delicious)
2 tablespoons lavender-infused agave nectarfew scrapes nutmeg

Vanilla Ice Cream
Whipped Cream (any recipe you like)
Sliced Almonds


For Lavender-Infused Agave Nectar
In a small saucepan, warm nectar just until you see the first simmer bubble appear; remove from heat and add lavender. Steep 30 minutes, then strain through a wire-mesh sieve, discarding lavender.

For Baked Apple
Spray a square of aluminum foil with canola oil spray; place apple halves on the foil and drizzle each half with 1 tablespoon lavender-infused agave nectar. Scrape nutmeg over each half--just a wee bit for the barest fragrance. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 20 minutes.

While the apple is baking, prep one nice scoop of vanilla ice cream, so that it can be assembled quickly while hot.

To Assemble
Unwrap hot baked apple halves and carefully transfer to a dish. Quickly top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, more lavender-infused agave nectar, a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of sliced almonds.

One final note. I would recommend using alternative containers if you try this yourself. I detected an ever-so-slight metallic taste. It could have been from the small metal saucepan I used to warm the nectar, or from the foil used for apple-baking. Next time, I would heat the nectar in a glass measure in the microwave, and use a ramekin to bake the apple.

Perhaps this will inspire you to try this for yourself, a diabetic friend or relative, or anyone who might be watching their sugar intake. It's very satisfying—and no doubt the sugared-version would be as delicious or even more so!

Warm, lavender-infused agave nectar thanks to Inge for this fabulous idea for ingredients! To see all of the lovely dishes created for this event, visit the roundup part 1 and part 2.



african vanielje said...

Mrs W, this recipe is perfectly delightful. I'd love to see what delicious creations you can whip up when you DO have time. Thank you so much for participating and I'll be sure to feature you in the roundup. Happy blogging

Mrs. W said...

Thank you Inge--I will enjoy reading about what other participants come up with!

Chef Keem said...

This sounds like a wonderful recipe. Agave nectar is truly a perfect sweetener. I'm seeing more and more recipes on the web using flavoring-infused agave syrups - a concept that inspired me - almost 4 years ago - to create a line of flavored agave nectars. My brand is called Agasweet and I have made several web pages about it, with nutritional information and recipes. In addition, I run a blog about a variety of food topics, often including recipes with agave nectar, such as my delightful peach cobbler.
I would enjoy a connection with you, as I am very happy to share all my experiences with agave nectar and it's many applications.

Very best wishes,
your Chef Keem

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