Since we’ve just wrapped up the holiday party season, I decided to post a dessert recipe that is easy on the waistline. Baked apples are naturally gluten-free, easy to make, and delicious, plus you use not-so-stellar apples if you have them. On top of that, you can make as many as you need (1? 12?) and they can go into an oven with pretty much anything else.
Wash your apples well and core them cleanly. Some recipes recommend leaving a little bit uncored at the bottom so that the filling doesn’t fall out, but this always seemed a bit too fiddly to me. You can peel them if you want (I never do) but if you , rub them with a cut lemon to keep them from turning brown. Place them in a baking dish that will hold them all without crowding them or leaving loads of extra room. Make your filling with anything you have around the kitchen – dried fruit, nuts, flaxseed, coconut, other fruit such as pears or pineapple, cubes of stale cake, bits of stale cookie, whatever you think would taste nice. The classic combination is raisins and walnuts, but grated carrot, coconut, raisins, and walnuts is nice and a bit reminiscent of carrot cake. Coconut with stale cake cubes would be nice, as would raisins and stale cookies. I wouldn’t recommend anything that melts, like chocolate, but almost anything goes.
Bind your filling with something slightly sticky, like honey or a syrup. Alternately, you can whip sugar into margarine and bind the filling with that. It doesn’t need to stick together completely, rather just slightly. Stuff the cored bits of the apples with your filling all the way to the top of the apple. Top each apple with the tiniest dollop of margarine and about a teaspoon’s worth of sugar. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom and sprinkle in a bit more sugar if you want a thicker syrup. Pop in a medium oven until the apples are soft, between 45 minutes and one hour. Baste apples with the pan water syrup at the bottom when you take them out, and eat hot or cold.