Baked Spiced Apples
Here's proof of the staying power of old-fashioned recipes. Typically served as dessert, this fragrant dish is also delicious served as part of an autumn brunch.
- 7 Gala apples
- 2 Tbs. chopped dried cranberries
- 2 Tbs. chopped toasted pecans
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise pod
- Crème fraîche for serving
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Preheat a Breville convection oven to 350°F (180°C).
Using a sharp knife, cut a slice 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick off the stem end of 4 of the apples. Using a melon baller, scoop out and discard the core from the apples, being careful not to puncture the base of the apple. Then, still using the melon baller, carve out the flesh to leave a shell about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Discard the flesh or reserve for another use. Stand the apples upright in an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish.
Peel, core and finely dice the remaining 3 apples. In a bowl, stir together the diced apples, dried cranberries and pecans.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, flour and salt. Measure out 1 Tbs. of the brown sugar mixture and set aside. Add the remaining brown sugar mixture to the diced apple mixture and stir to combine.
Carefully fill the cored apples with the diced apple mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 Tbs. brown sugar mixture. Pour 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water into the pan, and place the cinnamon stick and star anise in the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake the apples for 30 minutes, then remove the foil. Return the apples to the oven and continue cooking until the apples are soft and the filling has begun to caramelize, 20 to 30 minutes more.
Let cool slightly, then transfer the apples to individual bowls. Top each apple with a dollop of crème fraîche, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen