As far as I remember my childhood and youth, my current understanding of exotism did not exist then. In the garden I was able to pick bananas, lemons, oranges, mangos, panapen, guanabanas, tamarind or grenadines by myself, and just miles away I could find coconuts and drink their juice or milk, as well as sugar cane and drink their melao – only to mention a few products that were domestic to me. However, a fruit satisfied my palate, nose and eyes in such a way, that it was my very favourite.
One single fruit implies seduction amongst genders, it is green, red, yellow, sour, sweet, hard and soft, and keeps doctors away. The malus miller linnaeus plant gives us the wonderful fruit known as apple.
Unfortunately there came a point in time where I started showing allergic reactions to apples and was forced to stop eating them. It took me about twenty years to decide that I would be the one choosing what I ate, instead of letting allergies make this decision for me. That is when I started cooking with apples to be able to include them in my diet, knowing the amount of nutrients obtained would not be the same. At first I used it solely for savoury dishes and much later began sweet baking and cooking with them for desserts. Needless to say, they also entered my coffee universe and have their roles to play again and again.
Some apple parings seem to be logical, perhaps due to the frequency with which they are used in different cultures and dishes. These include cinnamon, vanilla, anise, cloves or nutmeg. But creativity and inspiration are like oxygen – they are always there, even when we do not ask for them. That is how the sudden idea arrived that tarragon – artemisia dracunculus linnaeus – would be an ideal paring partner.
Take a couple of apples and remove the seeds and hearts, while keeping the apple as a whole. Try this recipe with different sorts of apples. There are plenty in the market. Put them in a baking mold and pour about 300 ml of white wine – just enough to cover at least 1/3 of the apples. Add 150 g sugar, a teaspoon of espresso and the leaves of a tarragon twig. Bake the whole thing at 180°C for some 45 minutes. During that time make sure to pour the liquid over the apples several times. An easy task with a tablespoon.
In the end beat some cream with a couple of spoons of gin or rum and serve the cream with the apples. There are no limits.