Autumn. My Favorite Season.

Summer's almost over, and not fast enough for me, I might add.

It is time to gather my troops by the fire, serve big mugs of hot cocoa, roast marshmallows and confabulate about the day's events, until we go into a sugar coma. Yeh. Brought to you by a chick born on the Pearl of the Caribbean.

So, are you as excited as I am to welcome Fall? Is that scattered applause I hear?
C'mon nay sayers! It's not like I'm asking you to throw yourself on top of a grenade. I'm merely suggesting you give grilled-marked foods a day off, and dust off your stove instead.

Here's a treat (made with 90% natural ingredients, and 10% what-you-don't-know-can't-hurt-you). It's a delicious way to wrap yourself in the warmth of an autumnal dessert, while giving your forsaken oven a jump-start. Abuse as directed.

Honey Baked Apples

3 Golden Delicious apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup dry vermouth
3 small sweet apples(Rome or McIntosh; about ¾ pound total)
½ cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons honey
Grated zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon cinnamon
coarse salt
Crème anglaise, optional (recipe follows)

Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat oven to 350°F.
Slice the Golden Delicious apples in half* through the equator and scoop out the core with a melon baller. Put the apple halves in a baking dish, cut side up, and brush with melted butter.. Pour the vermouth into the dish and bake the apples for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the sweet apples and grate them on a box grater onto a kitchen towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze over the sink (or do it over a cup, and drink up), getting some of the juice out of the apples. Drop grated apples into a bowl, and add the cream, yolk, honey, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Mound apple filling onto the Golden Delicious apples and bake for 60 minutes, basting several times, until the apples are tender (or when a knife goes through the apple with little effort) and filling is golden brown.
Let cool 5 minutes before serving with the Crème anglaise, if using. Btw, the bee is sugarpaste with gelatin wings. Easy enough for anyone to make.

*Note: I used 4 Golden Delicious, as there was enough filling for all 4. I also sliced the tops off each apple (picture above) instead of cutting them through the equator.

Honey Crème Anglaise

½ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup honey

Have ready a bowl filled with ice, and set a smaller bowl and a strainer on the ice.
In a small saucepan pour in the cream and milk. Bring to a simmer. In another bowl whisk the yolks and honey until light. When the cream is simmering, pour it in a steady stream into the yolks, whisking while you pour. Whisk for about 30 seconds, and return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat, until the cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce into the bowl set over ice. Allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Serve the sauce right away, or refrigerate for 24 hours.
Adapted from Roy Finamore's Tasty.