My second son turned one month last week. Needless to say, my ability to cook is a tad limited at the moment. But my big brother and my two adorable nieces were in town for a visit so I handed the baby off to his dad during our older son’s nap in order to pull together a simple but tasty dinner of veggie burgers with avocado and tomato, the world’s best oven fries, a green salad with dried cranberries and toasted pepitas, and even (gasp!) DESSERT.
I decided to make baked apples for three reasons: 1) They are yummy and comforting and warm, 2) It is apple season and the Hudson Valley is bursting with delicious, crisp, sweet-tart fruit, and, 3) Perhaps most importantly, they are amazingly easy to make.
I think baked apples are good pretty much any way but I included crystallized ginger to spice things up a bit, along with some toasted pecans we had leftover from another meal.
The rest was easy – brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, butter (you could use coconut oil if you don’t eat dairy), and some fresh apple cider that we got at a wonderful cider press party we’d gone to a few days earlier.
Cored the apples, stopping an inch above the bottom to avoid going all the way through.
Then stuffed them, topped them with butter, arranged them in a baking dish so that none would tip over while baking, and poured some of the cider into the bottom. Topped it with foil and put it into the oven for a while.
Next: Get the recipe!
My advice: Eat with ice cream (or a non-dairy equivalent) to let the wonderful syrupy, spiced cider mix with the melting vanilla flavor – it makes a great companion to the soft, sweet, slightly tart flesh of the apple and the sugary, nutty, gingery filling. A delightful fall treat and so easy that even a sleep-deprived woman with a four-week-old baby and a three-year-old can make it to boot.
Baked Apples With Candied Ginger & Toasted Pecans
* 4 large, fresh baking apples (Rome, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold)
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp ground cloves
* 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
* 2 Tbsps finely chopped crystallized ginger
* 1 Tbsp butter
* A pinch of salt
* 3/4 cup apple cider (or water if you don’t have cider)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash your apples then remove their cores to about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the apple. I used an apple corer in combination with a small, sharp paring knife- it was kind of messy/clumsy but worked. You should have a hole roughly an inch wide that does not go all the way through the apple.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pecans. Place the apples in a small baking pan – you want one small enough to keep all the apples upright but not so small that they’re crowded – they’ll bake better if they’re not touching. Stuff each apple with the filling mixture and top with a small pat of butter.
3. Add the cider (or water) to the baking dish and bake the apples for 30-40 minutes, taking them out several times to baste them with the cider in the bottom of the dish, until they are tender, but not mushy. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, rice dream or coconut bliss.
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