Translation:  apples in the oven.

Pommes au Four avec crème fraîche

Pommes au Four avec crème fraîche

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe choice is Pommes au Four, baked apples filled with fruits and nuts. My first thought? Who can’t bake an apple? In Iowa, when I was a kid, we picked apples at the local orchard, hauled them home and helped Mom turn them into sauce, pie, crisp, cake, salad and, yes, baked.

But readers, this is an apple like no other. In Dorie’s words, “Baked apples are less a recipe than a construction: you core some apples, stuff their hollows with dried fruits, nuts, honey and butter, and then slide them into the oven. Which fruits and nuts? It’s up to you. Cinnamon or no cinnamon? Again, your choice. Hot? Warm? Chilled. with heavy cream? No one will tell you definitely.” 

I made this recipe last week-end  just before leaving for California. I enjoyed it hot, warm and chilled, with crème fraîche. I even diced up the leftovers to use as a topping for my oatmeal. If you follow the recipe carefully, Pommes au Four are simple to bake and delicious to eat.


 I baked my apples in Aspen but am writing this post in Cambria, my winter home for the next three-and-a-half months. Yesterday I moved into our family’s rental house and, admittedly am enjoying the roominess. Although I’ve made peace with my 940-square foot Colorado condo, this house is nice, quiet and, sorta like this week’s baked apples, a real treat.

My biggest treat, however, will be seeing my nearby family more often. In their last e-mails to me, Emma, my blond, 12-year-old granddaughter, announced that the tips of her hair are now dyed pink! Her sister, Clara, who is 10, wrote that she is negotiating with the neighbors to rent hen space in their chicken coop. To my mind, my daughter, Melissa, who is their mother, has either lost her mind or loosened her grip. I need to check in on Family Place to find out. (If it’s the latter, Ms. Clara and I are going to go purchase one great big noisy hen.)

On my first day in Cambria I spotted a herd of the normally elusive zebras, a remaining bloodline from William Randolph Hearst's zoo, grazing in the pastures along Highway 1 near his castle at San Simeon. A good omen, for sure.

On my first day in Cambria I spotted a herd of the normally elusive zebras, a remaining bloodline from William Randolph Hearst’s zoo, grazing in the pastures along Highway 1 near his castle at San Simeon. A good omen, for sure. Note the dry meadow. This area needs moisture. Please, Mother Nature.

If you’re interested in seeing how other Doristas peeled their apples this week? Go, here.


  1. says

    Glad you will enjoy some time away from the snow and with your family. Tell Melissa hello…and I’ll have to ask Maddy for more stories when we’re in Ames next month. I love how your apples are packed full of fruit and nuts…you’re a pro!

    • Mary says

      A pro? Coming from you, Liz, that’s a compliment. Do you know who was the first girl I know to bleach/dye the tips of her hair? Maddy,in high school. Before it was even chic. That girl was always ahead of her time. Love the cheerleading pix.

  2. says

    Wow, sounds like you’ve arrived in California to a bang. Zeebras, pink hair, and hens! Sounds like you have a fun-filled winter ahead of you. And just remember, hair dye doesn’t affect her health or leave permanent marks.

  3. says

    Glad you made it to California safe and sound Mary, I love these baked apples. To me they’re always such a treat – but one I tend to forget about, thanks for the reminder :) Oh, and I’ve been wanting chickens for a long time now.

  4. says

    Your apples look overflowing with sweetness. I made just one, but have some leftover filling. You gave me the idea that I’ll stir it into oatmeal this weekend. Yum! Enjoy the California weather, and the family! I’m hoping that Clara gets that hen.

  5. says

    Sounds like you will have a wonderful winter with your family, Mary! My daughter and son in law have chickens on their little piece of land. The kids love them and go out and collect the eggs every morning. I would call this a trend…homesteading in suburban Long Island! Hey they’re happy!
    Your apples look wonderfully luscious…so glad you enjoyed them! They were a hit at my house, too!
    Have fun in California, my friend! Stay safe and enjoy your granddaughters…pink hair, hen and all!

  6. says

    Sounds like the girls have gone wild… good thing grandma is there to rein them in… or not. My mom always thought I was too conservative. She once told me when I was a teenager that if she had my figure she would dress like Cindy Lauper. So pink tips… very cool with red hair. How bizzarre to see zebra.. I wonder what else is wandering around out there. Keep your camera close. I ate the apples over my oatmeal too… amazing. Glad you enjoyed them.

  7. Donna Grauer says

    I thought you were kidding about the zebra….but I googled it and yes Martha…there are zebras in California. Glad you are safe in Cambria and didn’t miss a beat on your blog…way to go Mary.

  8. says

    Cambria looked like the perfect winter retreat, especially since you’ll get to spend more time with Melissa and the girls. Sounds like you are in an amazing time. Cant’ wait to see the big fat hen!

    Pink tips… I’m jealous. I would come back home from college on breaks with fake tattoos and piercings to get a rise out of my parents. Getting blue tips was the one thing I didn’t get out of my system at the time.

  9. nana says

    Tricia and I visited the Hearst castle awhile back, that is quite a place. It sounds as though you are in for a fun time, enjoy every minute. Your apples look great, so delicious.

  10. says

    I’m glad you’re out of the way of the horrible weather most places in North America seem to be experiencing and that you have a lovely place for the next few months to enjoy with your family nearby. These apples were a hit here, too. Thanks for the photos of the zebras. I’d had no idea there were any in California.

  11. says

    Your apples look scrumptious! I love the way they are packed to overflowing with fruit and nuts! I envy you your house in Cambria with your family near by. I can’t think of anything better than being involved in your granddaughter’s lives. Oklahoma City has a newly passed ordinance allowing chickens in the city. A distant neighbor has taken that to mean roosters too and we can hear crowing in the distance. We wonder when the immediate neighbors will tire of him:) Enjoy the remainder of your winter and having your family close by. I am one lucky grandma to have my babies only 3 hours away!

    • says

      And yes, Mary, Gary’s mother is still with us. We are taking her back to Memphis next week. It has been wonderful having time with her and she will be missed! She says she will be back and I hope its true. Our home will seem kind of empty when she leaves. It will be my first trip to Memphis since the loss of my friend in October. Going to her house will be hard but good too. I have gotten to the point where I can appreciate what we had; it was a beautiful friendship and I felt so loved, supported and admired. I hope she felt it too. She did. I know she did. Her name is written on my heart.

  12. says

    There is a fine line between losing ones mind’s and loosening one’s grip. One some challenging days, they even merge :) It honestly all sounds like fabulous fun and a wonderful adventure. Pink tips included. I am so happy for you and your family and look forward to hearing of your adventures. Now the apples. I will tell you who can’t make baked apple. Evidently this gal. I can not believe I zoned out and misread cider as apple cider vinegar…and marked right on. I didn’t even realize what I had done (testament to evidently how good that recipe is and my swag IFBC ingredients) until I read Mardi’s lament on doing the same. I think I will go back to my old standby of knocking the recipes out late on a Thursday night- that seemed to keep me better in focus than all this way ahead of time be organized stuff. So much for THAT resolution :)

  13. says

    When one has daughters of a certain age, losing ones mind and loosening ones grip pretty much go hand in hand. (I think that those years encompass 12-22+ – I’ll let you know when I reach the other side…)

    The first time my once blond haired daughter came home with black hair, I cried. When she followed it with blue hair, my heart dropped in my stomach. Green hair, I grunted. It’s red now – which is a relief after all the other combos. (She is a smart one – because if she went straight to red, I would have pitched a fit…)

    Glad to hear you are hanging with the family – enjoy the (hopefully) much warmer climes of CA and then you can return to CO in time for spring bug season :-)

  14. says

    Welcome to CA! I’ll know you’ve really converted when your hair is pink! LOL! How wonderful that you’re settling in.

    I’ll be making this recipe up soon – I bought apples at the Framers’ Market yesterday.

    I’ve nver seen the zebras! So very cool!

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