Fittingly, in Celtic pagan tradition, the Autumn Equinox is seen particularly as a celebration of the vine harvests and of wine. No wonder we like fall so much. It is also associated with apples as symbols of life renewed. Celebrating newly-made wine, harvesting apples and vine products, and visiting burial cairns to place an apple upon them, were all ways in which the Celts honored this occasion. Avalon, one of the many Celtic names for the Land of the Dead (also by the way, the title of one of the best songs of the 80’s), literally means the “land of apples”. These acts symbolized both thankfulness for the life-giving harvest, and the wish of the living to be reunited with their dead.
The Autumnal equinox, or “Mabon”, falls this year on Thursday. My wish is to be reunited with my oven. What better way to celebrate than by firing up the oven to whip up a simple and homey baked apple dessert? Then why not include not only apples from the Goddess, but also wine from the God. Try these with Les Secrets du Château Palvié Doux 2002 ($28) – a dessert wine made from 50% Muscadelle and 50% Loin de l’oeil. It’s both spicy and sweet, aged in oak for richness, with an aroma of dried figs. It’s not a fortified wine, so it won’t knock you out with alcohol — but it’s also not for storing after opening like some sherries are. Serve it with baked apples at your next Mabon party!
Baked Apples for Mabon
- 6 large baking apples
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon butter