5 Ways to Stuff an Apple

Baked apples are a simple but delicious dessert at this time of year, or anytime. The biggest question might be in choosing the right apple variety. Some varieties turn to mush after baking while some stay nice and firm. Jonathan, Wealthy, Winesap, Gala, and Fuji are all good choices for baking. As are Honeycrisp, Granny Smiths, Galas, Pink Ladies, and Braeburns work equally well.

Choose medium to large size apples. Wash and dry. You’ll need one apple per person or however many you want to make. With a paring knife, carefully peel a thin slice around the stem and hollow out the core of the apple. Finish removing the stem by scooping out the seeds with a small metal spoon or melon baller. Leave enough at the base of the apple to hold the filling, or stuffing.

Place apples in a deep baking dish appropriate for the number of apples to bake. Make one of the stuffings below that each make enough for 4 apples. Fill each apple with the mixture. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Classic Method: combine 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) soft butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cups chopped pecans. Press into each apple.

Cinnamon-Raisin: Combine 1/4 cup seedless raisins with 1/4 cup finely chopped extra apple. Stuff into each apple. Dot top with butter. Sprinkle cinnamon over top of apple.

Cranberry-Spice: Combine 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Dot top with butter. Before baking, drop 4 whole cloves and 1-inch stick of whole cinnamon into liquid in baking dish.

Date-Nut: Combine 1/4 cup chopped dried dates and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Stuff in apples. Dot with butter

Orange marmalade: Use 1/2 cup orange marmalade to stuff apples. Dot with butter.

Place apples upright in baking dish. Pour about 1 inch of liquid around apples. The liquid can be water or apple cider. Bake about 45 to 50 minutes, or until apples are very tender. Check to see whether liquid has evaporated during baking. If dry or low, add more liquid.

When apples are done, remove from oven and baste them with the juices from the pan. Serve warm or cooled, with or without whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.