It’s been years since I’ve made baked apples. I’m not sure why I stopped. The sweet, warm combination of cooked apples, nuts and dried fruit is undeniably delicious; as classic as apple pie but without all the fuss. And depending on the filling and sauce, they can be as rustic or as elegant as you’d like.
There are well over 50 varieties of apples grown right here in the Warwick Valley, so choosing the best one for baking can be overwhelming. While there’s no wrong choice, a firm, thicker skinned apple with a balance of sweet and tart yields the best results. Carefully hollow out the core with an apple corer (does anyone actually have one of these?), a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, leaving the base of the fruit intact so the juices don’t escape. I stuffed my apples with a combo of chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds and dates, dark amber maple syrup and a generous amount of freshly ground cinnamon.
I remember my grandmother pouring cold cream over the steaming apples. My vegan version swaps the dairy for a whipped coconut cream. Finish with a homemade hard cider and fresh rosemary syrup.
Leftovers make for a nourishing breakfast treat either served solo or cut into chunks and mixed with oatmeal.