Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baked Apples


Who isn't a bit sated after the excesses of the holidays? Every year I resolve to be healthier in January but my resolve weakens quicker than a snowflake in the morning sun. Yesterday I finished off a bag of caramel corn laced with chocolate chunks and sugar-glazed nuts before 11:30 a.m. There is still torrone in the cupboard; extra-creamy cheeses in the fridge; and Christmas cookies in the freezer. What's a gal to do?

I've given some of the goodies to friends, but they too, are trying to eat healthier as the calendar turns a page. Even away from the house, everywhere I turn, I can't escape the temptations. Food seems to be the common denominator that brings friends and family together, whether it's lunch with friends, espresso and cakes with my Italian chit-chat group or dinner with family. Only those with the the strongest will-power can avoid succumbing to the temptations.

If you want to steer clear of temptations, but still want a little sweetness at the end of your meal, forget about those leftover goodies for a while and try some baked fruit, like this apple. It's gussied up enough to feel special, yet there's little sugar and lots of flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth. The cinnamon stick idea was borrowed from my good friend Stacey of Stacey Snacks, who took it from Stephane at Zen Can Cook. Whenever I make baked apples, I like to add some dried prunes to the stewing liquid. For those of you turning your noses at the idea, give it a try. Once the prunes have cooked in the marsala wine for an hour, the flavor is intensely redolent of marsala and sweet plums.
I could suggest gilding the lily with some super-rich ice cream on the side, but that's only for those of you who have behaved in the last month.
So what will I do with all that ice cream? .....
I wonder if my neighbor's cat Ahso, who visits me occasionally (and stalks my bird-feeder), likes Haagen Daz vanilla?


Baked Apples

printable recipe here

For each apple:
Peel the top 1/3 of the apple and cut into the center from the top, excavating the core and leaving a space for the other ingredients.
Mix a few chopped walnuts and raisins with a tablespoon of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Place a small pat of butter into the apple center, then stuff with the walnut/raisin mixture. Place a cinnamon stick in the center. Place the apple into an oven proof container and strew some prunes around it. Pour 1/2 cup marsala wine over the apple and prunes. Cover loosely with an aluminum foil "tent." Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the apple can be easily pierced with a fork. If you remember, go back into the oven and occasionally baste with the wine.

I like to use winesap apples, but other baking apples, including Granny Smith, are good too.


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20 comments:

Chiara said...

Un meraviglioso dessert per coccolarsi Linda! Che occhi meravigliosi ha quel gatto! un abbraccio...

bellini said...

It is still early enough in the morning to have this for breakfast if I move away from the computer.

Patty said...

Cara Linda che visione. Una ricetta incantevole che sa tanto di casa e di cose antiche, profumi che risvegliano i ricordi. I have to do it very very sono!
I would like to invite you for a visit to my blog next Friday. A little surprise for all my friends. Ciao bella, pat

Stacey Snacks said...

I'm with Bellini, I want these for breakfast! meow!

Proud Italian Cook said...

This is every bit of special and would certainly satisfy my sweet tooth! I can't escape temptation either, baby showers, lunch with friends, out to dinner, what's a girl to do? I told you I need a 12 step program!

Stacey Snacks said...

PS all cats love vanilla ice cream!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That cat is a real beauty and your baked apple looks divine! My grandmother used to make hers in a similar way...

Cheers,

Rosa

lea said...

Oh that is a very serious cat! these look wonderful especially with the prunes. I can't get Marsala here. guess I could substitute apple juice...

Claudia said...

I've been soooo nauseatingly good, I need this in my life (sans ice cream). And so I will - and if the family is good, I'll share. Ahso looks like he means business. Hope that bird feeder is up high! (we have a bird feeder by each window so Pip can watch "bird TV.")

You know the chocolate-covered popcorn also sounds pretty good...

Linda said...

These look amazing...I love baked apples. Comfort food at its best!

Marysol said...

The baked apple looks armed and dangerous! If this is what eating healthier is all about, I'm in.


Btw, I love Ahso's expressive eyes.
"Any side is my best side. So, go ahead, take the picture."

Peter M said...

Love these in the winter...maybe add a Manouri cheese and honey in the middle!

The Food Hunter said...

What a pretty cat!

beti said...

it looks really good specially with prunes and by the way your cat is so cute!

Lori Lynn said...

I'm having a little dinner party tonight, I think baked apples will be dessert! Great idea, thanks Linda...
LL
P.S. Love prunes and marsala too!

Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Absolutely gorgeous flavours here! Very happy healthy eating!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

New Year's resolutions work well for me, as long as they aren't food-related. I don't turn my nose up at prunes, because you are so right that they are delicious once they are cooked. I have a prune cake recipe that I love. I'm sorry, but vanilla ice cream would be highly tempting for me to add. But, for breakfast, I could pass on the ice cream.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I haven't made baked apples in years. They remind me of my grandmother and I'm sure the aroma of them baking would reinforce that memory. She used to serve them warm with a little cream.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've been trying hard to lose weight for my daughter's wedding so I have been avoiding desserts, but a baked apple like this looks like a healthy and delicious choice!
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Thank you so much for your notes of condolence, Linda. They have all been of great comfort to me. {{hugs}}

Frank said...

I actually don't have much of a sweet tooth, but a baked fruit dessert like this one is right up my alley! Not too sugary but full of warmth and flavor...