The Occasional Recipe: Baked Apples
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I should have posted this in the fall. That’s when I start thinking about baked apples for dessert. But, since that thought and resulting dessert continues right through until spring, it’s not too late. As long as the weather is cold it’s one of my favorite desserts.
First of all what kind of apple? Everyone has a favorite, but I was surprised to find that the one I like best for baking is Golden Delicious. It holds its shape well and seems to have more flavor baked than raw.
Like all my favorite recipes, this is very easy. It’s delicious, but another part of the reward is the way it makes the house smell.
--Preheat the oven to 350. Then, to prepare apples, start by cutting them a tiny bit at the bottom so they stand up straight. Then cut off a small circle of the peel around the stem and core the apple. It’s easy to accumulate too many kitchen gadgets, but I think a corer is really useful.
Then--here is an important step that helps the apples hold their shape--make small horizontal cuts at several points into the fattest part of the apple. You just want to slice into the skin so that it doesn’t break during baking.
Put the apples into an oven-proof baking dish.
--I’ll tell you how I flavor the apples, but you may decide to just squirt on a little lemon juice, add a dusting of cinnamon, pour in some apple juice or cider, or dab a little butter and let it go at that. I like to pour a little maple syrup into a bowl and mix it with enough brown sugar and a little cinnamon to make a not-too-thick paste to glob onto the apples. I also like to fill the hollow cores with walnuts and raisins. If you do that, be sure all the raisins are tucked down far enough so they won’t get overdone in the baking.
-- Cover the apples loosely with foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Basting is nice to do if you have the time. Then take the foil off and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until a knife goes easily into the top of the apple. Again, basting during this part is good to do, but not absolutely necessary. Depends what else is going on the kitchen and in your life at the time.
That’s it, the whole thing. You can serve baked apples just as they are, which is what I do. Some people like a little heavy cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s easy to modify this as you wish for taste and calorie count. Some say potayto, some say potahto. I say enjoy a baked apple for dessert tonight!