Let’s start off the new year sweet-yet-guilt-free. This is the perfect post-holiday dessert for me because I don’t feel deprived but I am still enjoying dessert. They’re also pretty enough to be served to guests, but are easy and perfect for those of you who are worn out by all the holiday entertaining.
One of the most important things to do before you bake an apple is to use vegetable peeler to remove a band of peel from around the middle of the apple. This only needs to be about a half an inch to three quarters of an inch wide but it prevents the apples from splitting and getting really ugly in the oven. So here we go.
Seemingly simple, baked apples can become an elegant dessert or brunch dish. Seasonings can vary widely: you may use any nut or dried fruit, ginger in any of its forms, and white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey or even preserves for sweetening. The most important thing is to choose a variety of apple that is slightly firm, slightly tart and full of character.
Allergen-Free Baked Apples
- 4 large apples, such as Jonagold, Granny Smiths or Fuji
- ¼ cup chopped toasted nuts
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ tablespoons Earth Balance margarine spread or butter if you can eat dairy
- ½ cup water or fresh sweet cider if available
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Core through the top of the apples, stopping ½ inch from the bottom. You may need to use a small spoon to scoop out the core but do not cut all the way through the apple. Another option is to core all the way through and then reinsert about ½ inch of core back in bottom of the hole. Peel that half inch band from around the middle of the apple. Set the apples in a shallow baking dish.
- Combine in a small bowl the maple syrup, nuts, raisins, and cinnamon.
- Using a small spoon fill the apples with this mixture. Scatter the extra filling mixture in the pan.
- Then top the apples with small pieces of the Earth Balance or butter.
- Pour the water or cider into the pan.
- Cover tightly either with a lid or with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and baste with the syrup from the bottom of the pan and bake until they’re tender but not mushy about 10 minutes more. You should be able to stab it with a fork but it should not be mushy.
- Place the apples on serving plate and spoon the syrup over the apples.
Serve warm or at room temperature.