Tuesday, December 04, 2018

December Is For Baking

Sorry I've been away from my desk, but things have been busy. We've replaced some ancient shutters on the farmhouse and removed a door that was impacted by having shrubbery too close for years. A short term closing up with plywood was necessary since we're getting rain tonight and tomorrow, but soon there will be a new door...this is the farmhouse, too.

December started with with baked apples. I baked six of them, but they were small, so yesterday I baked six more. I'm using a nice dark red apple. I bought a bunch so can't remember the variety, but I think it is a Arkansas Black or similar heirloom. Nice, crisp apple with some tartness and good juiciness, plus it keeps it's shape pretty well when cooked. Unfortunately the skin gets a bit tough with cooking, but otherwise it's perfect for this recipe.

When you bake these you first remove the stem end and the core area that holds the seeds, but you leave the bottom intact. That cavity formed by removing the core is filled with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, chopped walnuts, raisins, and a bit more cinnamon on top. With a little water in the baking dish, the apple goodness gets sealed in with aluminum foil and it's baked until the apples are tender.

First of all, your house will smell wonderful with all that cinnamon perfuming the air. Secondly, this is a fairly healthy dessert or snack (or breakfast which is how Sweetie enjoyed one this morning) and it is enhanced by the addition of milk, cream, whipped cream, ice cream, or custard. Nut milk works, too. It's fine all by itself, but I think the dairy brings a lot to the party. It's quite delicious both warm and cold, especially if you like cinnamon.

You can use your favorite apple. Just make sure that they fit snugly in the pan or dish you bake them in. The timing can vary, too, depending on the apple used. I recommend checking after a half hour and then every ten minutes after until a knife inserted goes in easily and you find the interior tender.

Baked Apples

4-6 (or more) apples
1/2 cup sugar (brown, white or a mixture)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons raisins (I like golden raisins)
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

With a sharp paring knife, remove the stem end and core of each apple, making sure to remove all of the seeds. Be sure to leave the bottom 1/4 of the apple intact.

Place the apples in the baking pan or dish. They should be very close to each other. If not, adjust pan size so that they are. You may have to switch to another pan or baking dish.

Mix the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. You can shake it together in a jar with a lid or in a plastic bag with a zip lock. Divide the cinnamon sugar mixture among the apples in the pan or dish.

Divide the chopped walnuts among the apples. Divide the raisins among the apples. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon over the raisins, dividing it among the apples.

Add the water and place foil over the baking pan or dish. Seal to the sides. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and check for tenderness. If needed, replace the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Check for tenderness.  If needed, replace the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Check for tenderness.  When apples are tender, remove the foil and let cool slightly in the pan.

Serve warm or cold, preferable with custard or cream or nut milk.

1 comment :

  1. That holds together SO well, yet is actually BAKED -- I'm going to have to try and find the Arkansas Black! All these old heirlooms/hybrids are something else. I love baked apples, but they can go so badly so easily - if the apple isn't soft enough, if it falls apart -- this looks delish.