So, if it wasn’t already painfully obvious by looking through the other recipes on this blog, I’m given to decadence.
When eating out, I ALWAYS save room for dessert. Sometimes I’ll even ask to have my main wrapped up to go so I can enjoy a full portion of the sweet stuff.
That being said, Thanksgiving tends to be an indulgent dining experience that often leaves us wishing for elastic waistbands by the time we’re through with the mains. These baked apples with cider caramel are a perfect way to satisfy your craving for a little sweetness without going overboard on pastry dough. Not that I have anything against pastry dough.
This can be easily prepped ahead of time and kept warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve.
For this recipe, I used Ambrosia apples that I picked fresh from Mountain Orchards last weekend. Northern Spy, Pink Lady and Ida Red are all great varieties to try in this dish.
- ¼ cup pecans
- 4 large cooking apples Northern Spy, Pink Lady, Ida Red
- ¼ cup golden raisins, chopped
- 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp grated orange rind
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup apple cider or juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- ¼ cup reserved reduced apple baking juices
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Place pecan pieces on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from baking sheet and cool. Chop pecans and reserve.
Peel skin from the top third of each apple. Use a melon-baller or paring knife to core the apples, leaving about ½-inch (1-cm) of the bottoms intact to hold the filling.
Combine pecans, raisins, brown sugar, butter, orange rind, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Toss to combine well. Use a small spoon to stuff filling into apples, pressing in with fingers to compact filling. Set apples upright in a small baking dish or pie plate.
Pour apple cider over apples. Cover baking dish tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes or until apples can be easily pierced with the point of a knife.
Remove apples from oven and drain apple cider juices into small pot. Keep apples covered in a warm place while you make sauce.
Place pot over medium-high heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until juices are reduced to about ¼ cup (50 mL). Reserve.
Heat sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan, over medium heat, and stir until sugar is moistened. Allow mixture to come to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar has turned golden. Standing back slightly, pour in the reduced apple juices (the caramel will bubble and spit vigorously). When the bubbling has subsided somewhat, stir to incorporate the juice and the caramel. Don't be tempted to stick your finger into the sauce to taste it until it has cooled slightly, as molten sugar is painfully hot. Pour sauce over and around apples.R
Recipe from: Mott, Eshun and Emma Waverman. "Baked Apples with Warm Cider Caramel." Food & Drink. Holiday 2006.