I’m testing all kinds of healthy desserts for part of a series of classes I’m teaching at Columbia Sportswear this fall. I know ‘healthy’ is a terribly subjective term but I’m focusing on dishes that traditionally don’t use lots of refined sugars and flours (like these Baked Apples) or adapting ones that do, to use less of those things.
It’s a lot of fun and I loved these apples I made last night for our dessert and loved them even more for breakfast this morning with Greek yogurt and maple syrup. Many European countries have a variation of this dish (which is also delicious with pears) and I grew up with some German renditions of this. The below recipe was loosely inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s in Around my French Table, however, I simplified it significantly. Enjoy!
I’m also having fun testing soups these days in preparation for Fall Soup Class which still has a few spots. So far I think there will be a pureed chickpea soup with cumin and lemon; a leek soup; a potato chowder and a soup with different kinds of beans and greens!
4 apples, cut in half, peeled and cored (or pears or quince)
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pecans
1/2 cup of chopped dried fruit (dates, raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, prunes or apricots)
2-3 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar (or 1 -2 tablespoons honey)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup apple cider or water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the apples cut side up in the 9 x 13 baking pan. They should be fairly snug so they stay upright and hold their filling. Put a small piece of butter into each hollow (where the core used to be)
In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon, sugar (or honey), salt and nuts and dried fruit. Divide this mixture evenly among the hollows of the 8 halves. Dot each half with another piece of butter. Pour the cider or water into the pan and sprinkle the remaining butter onto the liquid in the pan.
Bake until the apples are nice and tender (but not falling apart) which can be anywhere from 45 – 70 minutes depending on the size and kind of your apple. Baste with the buttery juice every 15 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes before eating or eat at room temperature as is or with Greek yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche or whipped cream.