Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baked Apples

 Recipe #2 in our "Comfort Food Week" is a great one to celebrate fall. The leaves are starting to turn just a little, pumpkins are popping up for sale, and the apple man has made a first appearance at the farmer's market. And what better to do with fresh fall apples than to celebrate them?

It starts with peeled apples. Get your kid/spouse/roommate/neighbor to do this for you. It'll make your life a lot easier ;)
Then you'll want to core them. My vegetable peeler has a coring tool (just an angled tip that makes it easy to cut into apples). If yours doesn't, carefully use a knife. Try not to cut all the way through the apple so your filling won't leak out.

And try not to cut yourself. But definitely try not to cut all the way through the apple. Priorities.
A naked, empty apple.
Here's your filling. It's brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Fall flavors for sure.
Mix your filling together and spoon it into your apples. Pack it down as much as you can.

If you've got leftover filling, just sprinkle the rest over the top of the apples and around your baking dish.
Cover the sugared apples with butter.
Think you're done? Think again! There's one more ingredient.

I used apple juice for more apple flavor, but you could use water, too.

In the fall, I like to keep apple juice or cider around. I heat it up and throw in a cinnamon-flavored teabag or a shot of caramel syrup. Mmm.
Pour the juice into your baking dish. The juice serves several functions--it keeps the apples moist, it helps steam them, it keeps the filling from burning, and it blends with the cinnamon-sugar filling to make a sweet syrup.
Here's what they look like fresh outta the oven.

It looks like it's frowning. It's not, I promise! That's just from me poking it with the vegetable peeler to see if it was done.

Come to think of it, it probably is frowning.

 Here's what your baked apples look like on the inside. Hot, cinnamony sugary goodness. My husband remarked that they tasted like apple pie. I wish I'd had a scoop of vanilla ice cream to pile on top. Or some toasted pecans.

I can imagine they would be even more amazing wrapped with phyllo, puff pastry, pie crust, or crescent roll dough dough.

We had some leftover apple due to The Kid sharing with her dad. I diced up the rest and set it in the fridge to mix in her breakfast oatmeal. Delicious!

Recipe: Baked Apples
4 sweet apples (Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady, etc.)
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (heaping tsp)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

4 tbsp. butter, cut into halves
3/4 c. apple juice or cider

Preheat oven to 350F.

Peel and core apples. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Scoop or pour into apples.

Top each apple with 1 tbsp. butter.

Pour juice or cider into baking dish.

Bake apples uncovered for 1 hr. 15 minutes. Pour extra sauce over the top of the apples. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.