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Friday Feast | Ailsa's Baked Apples

Welcome to Friday Feast in the tavern!

Our Christmas in July celebration continues this week with another lass from my highland holiday romances. Today, I’m featuring Ailsa MacDuff from A Highland Moon Enchantment. Returning to this story, I’m recalling there are two other O’Quinlan brothers (Niall and Brian). I’m long overdue in weaving a story for these warriors.

Yet I digress…let us return to Ailsa and Desmond.

My apple recipe is one that you can make in the oven, or you can seal them in foil and cook them over a grill on the barbecue. I believe Ailsa would heartily approve.

Let’s take a peek into the first encounter between Ailsa MacDuff and Desmond O’Quinlan…

Bending to retrieve a pouch, Ailsa turned toward him and lifted her head. “Will ye assist me with my father?”

“As I have stated,” replied Desmond and gestured for her to move ahead. “How many did ye lose?”

“Six good men,” she answered, tucking a lock of hair around her ears.

“’Tis a blessing these two survived.”

Biting her lower lip, she nodded. “My father and Muir.”

Gently taking her elbow, he steered her away from the dead men. “Alastair will bury the men swiftly. With his power of the land, he can open up the ground and seal them inside. I have no wish to see ye witness this.”

“Ye are most kind, but I have witnessed death many times and have buried them as well. But I am grateful for the Dragon Knight’s gift.”

“Nevertheless, let us depart away from their bodies and leave them in peace.”

She let out a frustrated sigh. “I dinnae need protection.”

“And I did not offer any,” countered Desmond. “I merely wished to ease your pain.”

Ailsa halted and looked up at him. “’Tis all I have to hold onto. I can assure ye, I am nae damsel requiring a knight to rescue me.”

Desmond stared into her eyes—ones filled with strength and sadness. He wondered if she had ever known happiness. “Have nae fear, I am not a knight, nor do I seek to rescue any damsels.”

Mirth replaced the sadness. “Ye are a challenging man, Desmond O’Quinlan.”

Not bothering to reply, Desmond turned and walked away from the woman—who in their brief encounter, left him completely bewildered.

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Ailsa’s Baked Apples

5 - 6 large apples***

3/4 cup raisins, cranberries, chopped pecans (feel free to adjust to your fruit/nut preferences)

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Core the apples and place them in a baking dish.

Fill the apples with your fruit and nut mixture.

In a pan, combine the brown sugar, water, butter, and spices until melted.

Pour over your apples.

Bake for 1 hour. Baste every twice during the baking.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.

***I like using gala or granny smith apples. But it’s your choice.

If you’re going to bake these on a barbecue, then crumble butter, brown sugar, and spices together (I use my fingers) and then fill your apples. Wrap in heavy foil and bake according to your grill. We usually keep them on ours on indirect heat for 20-30 minutes.



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