Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baked Apples

Adapted from Something Sweet by Jack Bishop

Something Sweet is a small book filled with big-flavor recipes. I enjoy these simple baked apples after a hearty meal on a cold winter's night when what I want most is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food.
Baked Apples
Adapted from Something Sweet by Jack Bishop

Serves 4

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup granulated sugar 
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup raisins
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 large apples (about 2 pounds)  Use your favorite apple for baking. My favorite is Honeycrisp, but you can happily use the easily-available Granny Smith.
½ cup apple juice
Heavy cream or vanilla ice cream, optional, but especially good

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Melt the butter.

Blitz the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon together in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the nuts are fine, without being reduced to a powder. You want them to retain some texture. Set this mixture aside in a bowl, preferably coupe shaped because you are going to roll the tops of the apples in them in a later step.

In a separate small bowl combine the raisins and brown sugar.

Core the apples. Using a vegetable peeler, remove only the top half of the peel from each apple. I like this very basic Swedish vegetable peeler.

Fill the hollow center of each apple with some of the raisin-brown sugar mixture. 

Brush the peeled halves of the apples with melted butter, reserving some of the butter to use later.

Roll the peeled part of the apples in the nut-granulated-sugar mixture until the bare sections of the apples are well coated with the mixture.

Place the apples in a small baking dish. Drizzle them with the remaining butter, then pour the apple juice or cider into the bottom of the pan.

Bake until the nut crust on the apples turns golden brown and the centers can be easily pierced with a small thin knife. This will take about 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve the apples warm, topped with the juice from the pan and, if you like, heavy cream (poured, not whipped) or vanilla ice cream.

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Swedish Peeler

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