Baked Apples With Dried Apricots And Almonds
I told my brother Phil that my ‘book group’ was coming over for dinner and that I was making baked apples for dessert. He didn’t think that was a very interesting dessert and made some comment about what’s the big deal about putting an apple in the oven and turning the oven on. That is NOT a baked apple.
This is a baked apple…
Baked Apples with Dried Apricots and Almonds
(-Cooks Illustrated 1/1/2010)
7 large Granny Smith Apples or another tart-ish apple with flavor
6 Tsp butter, softened
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup dried apricots chopped
1/3 cup almonds or walnuts coarsely chopped and toasted
3 Tbsp oats
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp apple cider
6 cinnamon sticks
Heat oven to 375°
Peel and core one of the apples and chop into ¼ inch dice.
In an appropriately sized bowl combine the diced apple, 5 Tbsp butter, packed brown sugar, apricots, almonds/walnuts, oats, orange zest, vanilla, and salt and mix together.
Shave a thin slice off the bottom of the other 6 apples so that they sit flat. Cut about ½ inch off the stem end of the apples and set aside. You will use this as a lid.
Peel the apples and use an apple corer or a spoon or a melon baller or a paring knife to remove 1 ½ inch diameter of the apple core. Careful not to cut through the bottom of the apple. Apparently the reason that you peel the apples is so that they hold their shape. If you leave the skin on, they get mushy and disintegrate. Counter-intuitive – I understand (so is snowboarding. . .. but some things just work)
Melt the remaining tablespoon of the butter in a 12” oven-proof skillet over medium heat – like a cast-iron skillet or anything that go into the oven. If you don’t have that (and I somehow don’t – then use a baking dish about 9” x 13”). Once the butter stops foaming place the apples stem-end, cut-side down in the butter and brown the top – about 3-5 minutes. Turn the apples over and brown the bottom of the apples.
Fill the inside of each apple with the chopped apple mixture that you made. Place the apple-lids on the top of the apples to cover the filling which stops it from burning. If you’re using a baking dish put the apples into the baking dish. If you’re using your skillet then just keep on going. . ..
Mix the maple syrup and apple cider together and pour over the apples.
Put the apples into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until a knife comes out clean when poked into the apple flesh. Every 5 minutes or so, baste the apples with the cider/maple syrup mixture.
When the apples are done, serve each in a bowl with vanilla ice cream or cashew ice cream or soy or rice ice cream. Stick a cinnamon stick in the bowl for a decoration (not depicted).