friday feast: pommes, poem, pudding

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Apple print available via Sugar Lane Photo Shop

Every Autumn, I fall in love with apples all over again.

I reread my favorite apple poems, visit the farmers market to say hello to my friends Stayman, York, Winesap, Fuji, Rome, and Jonathan, drink lots of warm cider and best of all, look for new apple recipes.

No matter how you eat them — out of hand, in salads or in every conceivable baked treat, it’s all good.

Repeat after me:

Apple Tea Cake
Swedish Apple Pie
Grandma’s Apple Crisp
Rustic Apple Brown Betty
Buttermilk Apple Buckle
Apple Pandowdy
Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Clafoutis

See, you’re smiling. Are you thinking of family chattering at the table, the wonderful smell of cinnamon-y apples wafting from the oven, the safe, happy place of your childhood kitchen? Apples have that effect on people.

Apple print via Marianne Lo Monaco

Today, just because you look all perky and adorable, we’re serving Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding.

But first:

I love sinking my teeth into Dorianne Laux’s delectable poem because of the way it celebrates how wide ranging our apple associations are. Nature’s wondrous, perfect blushing orb — hold it in your hand, hold worlds within a world for all time. There from the beginning (A is for Apple Pie! an apple for the teacher), what piece of real or imagined history will you taste with that first bite?

“Woman with Apple” by Boris Grigoriev

by Dorianne Laux

The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days. —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929

Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve’s knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber’s bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain’s honeybees:
white man’s flies. O eat. O eat.

~ from The Book of Men: Poems (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011). Posted by permission of the author.

“Apples and Biscuits” by Paul Cezanne (Oil on canvas, 1895)

* * *

La pomme = un poème!

Once you’ve convinced a few smart people to call you “Apple Dumpling,” it would seem iffy at best to convince them that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Perhaps they haven’t yet tried an apple pudding. A Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding to be precise.

A wholesome, not-too-sweet, fruity nutritious breakfast dish that moonlights as dessert, giddy when dolloped with Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, frisky when squirted with whipped cream.

So accommodating, you can bake it on a Sunday, then enjoy it for breakfast all week. With a mere 1/3 cup of brown sugar, this bread pudding made with rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, milk, eggs, and firm-sweet apples speaks of a warm hearth, flannel footed pajamas, rosy cheeks, and a crisp autumn morning.

I used Honeycrisps, dried cranberries and golden raisins. To Amy Traverso’s original recipe, I added extra cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. The old fashioned oats are wonderfully chewy; this pudding is so yummy you feel like you are cheating and eating dessert for breakfast. Is it wrong to wanna hug your food?

* * *



(makes 6 servings)

Butter for greasing pan
2 cups rolled oats, also called old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup roughly chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries, apricots and raisins
1-3/4 cups diced firm-sweet apple
2 cups 2% or 1% milk
3 large eggs
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and set a rack to the middle position. Grease a 2-1/2 quart soufflé dish or an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder, and salt. Add the pecans, dried fruit, and apple.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine.

3. Pour the pudding into the prepared dish. Bake until the top is golden brown and the center is no longer liquid, 55 to 65 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve warm.


*Sweet firm apple suggestions: Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold, Jazz, SweeTango, Honeycrisp.

**O Remember! O Remember! You were once “young and easy under the apple boughs . . . prince of the apple towns.”

Recipe adapted from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011) — as previously stated, the only apple cookbook you’ll ever need.

* * *

poetryfriday180Cathy (she of the apple cheeks) is hosting today’s Roundup at Merely Day by Day. Feast on all the tasty poems being served up in the blogosphere and have a good weekend!

Ever yours,

Ms. Apple Dumpling née Pudding

P.S. All the recipes listed in the first part of this post can be found in The Apple Lover’s Cookbook.

Other recipes I’ve made from this cookbook:

Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Apple Dumplings with Cider-Rum Sauce

Baked Apple French Toast with Hazelnut Crumb Topping

Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes

* * *


“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther 


Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

52 thoughts on “friday feast: pommes, poem, pudding

  1. Wow, I need to try that pudding! Looks delicious. Interesting that you say, “Every Autumn, I fall in love with apples all over again” – because I was just saying to my wife a few days ago that apples make me want to look forward to colder days and nights (which is something I really don’t look forward to!) Perhaps there is something magical about them, after all…


    1. They’re magical alright, and along with pumpkins, emblematic of my favorite season. This pudding tastes just as good reheated the next day. But of course warm from the oven just after first baking is the best. 🙂


  2. A delicious poem, delicious dish, and a delicious blog–I’ve made a version of this recipe before and it’s wonderful…thanks, Jama, for reminding me to make it again!


    1. It was my first apple pudding and I’m hooked. I like that it isn’t overly sweet — I usually add golden raisins vs. regular raisins to keep the sweetness down. 🙂


  3. I believe that quote you have as by Martin Luther King (“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world was going to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree”) is actually by Martin Luther. Just a minor quibble! — I love apples and loved this post.


    1. Thanks, Emily, you’re right. Error duly noted and corrected. I think it was a matter of just habitually typing MLK’s name for other things. 🙂 Glad you’re an apple lover too!


  4. I love Cezanne’s paintings! I saw a lot of them in Paris. That breakfast crumble looks amazing – I am definitely making that will all my apples from the orchard.


      1. Yes, we had so much fun stepping back and guessing the artist. There was Monet and Manet and Gaugin.


  5. I must make that pudding. Then hug it. Then eat it.

    LOVE the wide range of that poem, with its “buried blades of Halloween” and Eve’s poor knees.

    Thanks, too, for a fun new phrase to accompany me today – Apple Pandowdy. Say it three times fast! :0)


    1. There’s my girl — a fellow pudding hugger :).

      I love all those fruity dessert names — pandowdy is fun to say, as is slump and grunt and betty and buckle. I’m thinking of making a Dutch Baby just because I love the name so much. 🙂


      1. Pandowdy is also fun to sing. I can hear Dinah Shore singing when I read this post:
        “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
        Makes your eyes light up
        Your tummy say “Howdy.”


  6. I don’t eat oatmeal, but I just might start with this recipe! I love the “Woman with Apple” painting almost as much as the poem.

    Thanks for sharing this today. Now I’m thinking of apple picking and apple cooking.

    I’ve missed you!


    1. Hello, Stranger! Funny, whenever oatmeal comes up, I think of you because I remember your saying that you don’t care for hot cereals in general. If you make this pudding, you get the chewy goodness of those old fashioned oats without the “hot cereal” stigma. Missed you too, Tricia!


  7. I loved the Boris Grigoriev painting and the poem – so dense and crunchy. Thank you for posting them.


  8. Great apple-y, oa-ty post! So yummy and comforting and making me want to have fresh apples here and not the squishy, dull, old apples I have left over on the counter. I love having apples around to make into a quick, warm applesauce dessert. And now I’m thinking…hey, I have oats and cinnamon…I think it’s time for getting some fresh apples!
    I love the painting “Woman with Apple” – how simply sweet!


    1. Yes, you should get some fresh apples and make this pudding, Donna. BTW, just visited Maine for the first time and loved it! 🙂


  9. Jama – I’m a big apple lover as well – love all the varieties. Seems like I’m seeing newer varieties in the store every year! This pudding sounds fantabulous! thanks!


  10. For some reason I feel like baking apple dishes and this recipe for Baked Apple Oatmeal seems like one I should try. I always know when I stop by I will find food and word nourishment.



  11. That baked apple pudding looks scrumptious, Jama. Love the poem, too – so much history to that fruit!


  12. Now I am craving for apple pie a la mode with vanilla ice cream on top glazed with scrumptious chocolate shell, with the unmistakable crisp of apples rolled around in cinnamon and love. You always always make me hungry, beautiful Jama! 🙂


  13. Wow. That’s some poem. The history of humankind, apple edition. I’m making a note in my calendar to make this recipe next Friday, on our (hallelujah, can’t come soon enough) day off, so we can enjoy it every morning all weekend long. Good reason to use up the apples we got at the orchard…and then go for more!


  14. Jama, I eat an apple, usually with peanut butter, every single day, and have ordered this book for my daughter, who also loves cooking with them, especially for the daughters. This looks like a delight, and the poem, the history revisited-really special. Thank you again for reminding about the little blessings we have when we bite in!


    1. Apple with peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks/lunches too. I know your daughter will enjoy the recipes in this cookbook.


  15. Thanks for the delicious puddin-n-poem. I baked a batch this morning and yum! I added a hunk of lonely bread and a dash of vanilla. Happy to report that there’s plenty left over (won’t last a week around here, but maybe a few days.)


    1. Did you also use rolled oats? Very important to get the chewiness of those rolled oats, otherwise this will be more of a bread pudding than an oatmeal pudding.


  16. Oh my goodness, yes: “Every Autumn, I fall in love with apples all over again.” And so glad to see that Hadley pottery being put to good use!


  17. It’s tough following along behind Mary Lee–I love Dorianne Laux’s poem for exactly the same apple-time-capsule reasons and now I’m wishing I’d seen this in time to make apple oatmel pudding (which recipe I have copied and pasted into my FCR folder (Frequently Cooked Recipes)) THIS Friday which was our day off.

    I’ve missed stopping in–thanks for being always and never the same delicious kitchen of poetry!


  18. We simply can’t keep enough Jazz apples in this house! Especially now that my son bought himself a handy dandy “Apple Peeler Corer Slicer” contraption that makes fun apple slinkies. Such power these divine fruits wield over us.


    1. I’ve always wanted one of those fancy peeler/corer thingies. And I’ve never had a Jazz apple. So many apples, so little time . . .


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