Fragrant. Comforting. Simple. So simple, they hardly merit a recipe — especially when the filling depends on what’s handy in the pantry. Consider this not a recipe, but a nudge to find inspiration in your own pantry.
Crystalized ginger, pecans, dried cherries, raisins, apricots, macadamia nuts … they’ve all been baked into apples at one time or another. Lately, I’ve been adding a bit of cheese to the mix, too. Goat cheese is my current favourite.
Oh, yes — I top these warm babies with vanilla ice cream. Doesn’t get much better.
If you have an ice cream maker, why not dust it off? When it comes to homemade ice cream, anytime is a good time to make your own.
■ 4 medium baking apples, such as Northern Spy, Royal Gala, Ida Red, Rome Beauty, washed
■ 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
■ 4 tsp brown sugar
■ 1/4 cup walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds or a combination of nuts
■ 1/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots or a combination of dried fruit
■ 1/4 cup of your favourite cheese – optional
■ 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
■ nutmeg (optional)
■ vanilla ice cream – optional, but highly recommended
Preheat oven to 350°F
With a paring knife or an apple corer, remove the core from each apple and make an opening about an inch wide, leaving the bottom intact. Place the cored apples on a parchment-lined baking pan.
In a small bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, nuts and dried fruit. Add a bit of freshly ground nutmeg, if desired. Spoon the mixture into the hollow of each apple.
If adding cheese, push the cheese into mixture and drizzle with maple syrup.
Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until the apples are soft when pierced with the tip of a knife, basting occasionally with the maple syrup.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
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