Baked Apples with Sweet Chestnuts
When we were children, our parents and grandparents used to go hiking with us, and I loved it. The Palatinate Forest is one of my most favourite places ♥, and I've got a whole lot of beautiful childhood memories connected to hiking.
I've got what you could call a difficult relationship with nature: while I love the sight and smell, I somewhat always prefer sitting (and especially eating) inside to sitting in the garden or outside the café/restaurant. A huge part of that outdoor-dislike, as I will call it, is of course insects. I just... I can't. Seriously. Wasps. No, no, no, no. But let's not think of that. This dislike somehow doesn't apply to the forest. The forest isn't nature, the forest is NATURE, and when I'm in the forest, I feel happy and free and closer to transcendence than ever before.
One of my happiest hiking memories is collection chestnuts in autumn. Me and my sister would search the floor for big ones and proudly present them to the adults, while my dad even climbed the trees and shook them. At home, my granny would bake them in the oven. Funnily enough, as a child I didn't really like the taste. I always ate a few with relish, but then I had to stop.
Nowadays, I love eating chestnuts. My sister makes a rad chestnut soup.
To put one and one together, last autumn me and Petra, a friend who has the same beloved forest-hiking-chestnut-collection-childhood-memories, decided to do exactly that. And it was awesome.
Except that we were almost brutally murdered and eaten by wild boars.
I've never seen free, wild boars before in the forest (the only free, wild animals you can see here are birds and squirrels) but I knew of course that they are dangerous. We were hiking along, enjoying NATURE, proudly carrying bulging bags of sweet chestnuts, when I suddenly heard a strange noise. I first thought there was a minor rock slip and looked up the slope beneath which our path was running, but there was nothing rolling down. And then I saw them. At least 10 or 15 boars running through the trees, down, towards our path. I've never felt that afraid in my life ever before. Yeah, I haven't had a very dangerous life so far, no gun shootings, no assaults, no car accidents and I'm very happy about that, so dangerous animals running wild towards me scared the sh*t out of me. I've always thought that 'My knees were shaking' was just some idiom, but boy did my knees shake afterwards! Oh, by the way, the boars crossed our path 50 or 100 m away from us and didn't pay attention to us at all, so we were perfectly safe, but that doesn't change the fact that in that moment, I was fearing for my life ;)
Needless to say, when we came home, we were very hungry. Being scared works up an appetite as much as hiking for hours (and losing our way but that's only because the symbols were hidden or painted on trees that have been cut down, thank you very much). Here is what we made:
'An Ocean of Stars' by Alan Stewart
(Wildschweinfoto by Volker G.)
200-300g sweet chestnuts
50g ground almonds
50-100ml orange juice
2-3 tbsp crème fraîche
8g orange sugar
8g vanilla sugar
1-2 tbsp orange zests
1 tsp cinnamon
175°C / 30min
It was de-li-ci-ous. I would always encounter another horde of wild boars for it – as long as there are rocks or trees close by to climb on ;)