As the long days of winter march on, the brief sunlight throughout the day often gives way to cold, dark evenings. While I am not a fan of the winter, I have tried to make the best of it by making special meals or desserts. One thing I find that always seems to be available all year long is apples. This recipe is ideal for pregnant women – or anyone- who wants a quick, easy and healthy dessert of afternoon treat.
Baking apples is an easy way to add in flavors, texture, and fiber. Apples on their own are healthy, but add in raisins, nuts, other dried fruits and spices and this dish becomes its own little powerhouse. In the past, baked apples always came out mushy or too soggy and fell apart when you tried to cut into them. One simple trick I learned is to do away with pouring lots of liquid over the apples or baking them in a syrup; instead, I use parchment paper wrapped tightly around the apples to keep the heat and steam in so they cook naturally, and slowly, on their own with the ingredients I put inside the cored out middle. The best part? You can change any of the ingredients and add whatever you like. Here I give you a simple version of my favorite version but feel free to experiment with different nuts, dried fruits, syrups or spices. This dish can also be made into a savory side dish for chicken, turkey, or pork. Share what You make or what ingredients you substitute or include. The possibilities are endless!
WINTER BAKED APPLES
Makes 2-3 servings
2-3 large baking apples like Red Delicious, Roma, Honey Crisp, or Pink Lady
4 tablespoons raisins (or 6 prunes, diced small)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons sweetened dried coconut
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom
2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup (natural works best)
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an ample amount of overhang on both sides (Or put the apples in ramekins after they are prepared
- Cut off the top 1/2 inch of each apple and set aside. Core out the middle with a small paring knife, melon baller or apple corer, making a 1 to 1- 1/2 inch wide channel. Remove all the seeds.
- Put the raisins, walnuts, coconut, cinnamon and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl and combine. Divide filling and add it to the inner core of each apple. Drizzle or brush the tops of each apple with any remaining maple syrup. Put the tops back on the apple
- Put the apples in the loaf pan or in individual ramekins. Wrap the parchment paper tightly around the apples (or around each ramekin), making a pleat at the top and folding it down and around the apples to make a firm seal.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until the apples are soft, fragrant and slightly bubbling. Let the apples cool about 15 minutes before serving or allow to cool completely and serve cold.