Feli’s fabulous filled Bratäpfel – St Nikolaus’ bags of gold for Christmas
“Kinder, kommt und ratet, was im Ofen bratet!..den Zipfel, den Zapfel, den Kipfel, den Kapfel, den knuspringen Apfel”.
Children, come! Just imagine what’s roasting in the oven… the top, the bulging bottom, the bursting middle… the crispy apple!
We had a minor crisis this weekend and my German god-daughter came to the rescue on the culinary front, producing these stuffed apples with something of a flourish. Her timing, as always, was impeccable because today is the feast day of St Nikolaus when these chocolate-stuffed baked apples are found throughout Germany, spreading their warm and comforting fragrance within houses clutched outside by Jack Frost’s snowy tentacles.
St Nikolaus (the ‘original’ ‘Santa Claus’) was a fourth century saint. He is said to have been particularly generous. In one particular story he hears about a good man who has somehow lost all his money. The disappearance of his funds leaves his three daughters without dowries and facing prostitution. He doesn’t want to embarrass the man with public charity, so St Nikolaus comes, three nights in a row, and each time throws in a bag of gold. This is the origin of the idea of Father Christmas coming secretly in the night and leaving gifts. These stuffed golden apples represent the bags of gold hurled through the window by the munificent saint.
Feli adds raisins – they plump up with the oozing juices from the fruit and the marmalade, and also hold the ingredients securely within. She adapted it to suit our English tastes, substituting the apple jam for English marmalade, and omitting the marzipan which very few English people seem to like.
Here’s what she did:
Recipe for Feli’s Fabulous Filled Bratäpfel for St Nikolaus
- 4 apples
- 100g/4 oz dark chocolate
- 2 tbsps raisins
- 2 tbsps marmalade
- 1 tbsp chopped toasted hazelnuts (or you could use walnuts)
- couple of walnuts of butter, plus a bit more
- vanilla ice cream or double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Wash the apples and core them.
- Stuff the apples with the raisins, and a half walnut of butter into each. Grease the outside of the apples with a bit more butter.
- Butter an ovenproof dish, and put the apples in. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Grate the chocolate and mix half of it with the marmalade and hazelnuts.
- Take the apples out, and stuff with this mix, and return to the oven.
- Return to the oven for another ten minutes.
- Serve, sprinkled with the remaining chocolate which will melt enticingly, accompanies by vanilla ice cream, or double cream.