It’s apple harvest time, and our county has some of the best in the world! We enjoy apples fresh from the tree, applesauce, apple muffins, apple cakes and bread. Baked apples are a special treat, and in our home they hold lots of memories of making them together.
Of course, there are so many ways to make baked apples, lots of different fillings and sweeteners. Use whatever nut you like, or omit them. No cranberries? Use raisins, or dried cherries.
The great apple baking test
The kids and I recently baked up a big batch of a dozen different types of apples to see which ones we liked the best, and good old standbys of Fortune, Empire, and Jonathan won hands down. These apples absorbed the flavor of everything else, and yet kept their pronounced apple flavor and shape, both important.
We used just a touch of spice in these; we wanted to keep the apple flavor front and foremost!
Use a firm apple
This is not the recipe for a really soft, sweet apple such as McIntosh and Gala or you will get a pile of applesauce in the oven. You also don’t want yellow or green apples because they become an off color in the baking process, and we need to feast first with our eyes!
A little of this and that, and lots of apple
The cranberries add some tart, the rum and brown sugar a touch of the exotic, and the butter a little mellow. While these are baking your house will smell a little like cinnamon, a little like rum, and a whole lot like pure apple!
If you are not a fan of rum, you can substitute Calvados or another apple brandy, or just use cider.
Cranberry Butter Rum Apples Baked in Cider
- 4 large Fortune, Empire, or Jonathan apples
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped, optional
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup old fashioned oatmeal
- Scant 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- Few grates fresh nutmeg
- 6 tsp. dark rum
- 4 tsp. butter or vegan butter
- 2/3 cup apple cider
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Wash, and core the apples two-thirds of the way through, leaving the bottom firm. I’ve found the old-fashioned corers with sharp tip and serrated sides work best; I found mine at a flea market for a dollar and have used it for years. I peel the very top of the apple as well so that the skin does not split open when the apple is ready. Place the cored apples in a small baking dish.
Mix together the brown sugar, walnuts, cranberries, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum.
Divide and stuff into the cavities of the four apples, pressing it down, and mounding on the top if necessary. Since I omit the nuts because of an allergy, and since my apples were really large, mine won’t look as full as yours might.
Dot the tops with butter, and pour the cider into the bottom of the pan.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, remove from the oven, remove the foil, and baste them. Give them a look. Are they nearly done? Still quite firm? If they still have a ways to go, put back in the oven, covered, rotating the pan, and check again in 10 minutes. Once you are close to done, a sharp knife inserted has just a little give, put back in the oven uncovered. When ready, the flesh will be softened but still firm, and the skin just wrinkling with a few tiny cracks.
Remove apples gently to their dishes. Pour syrup from the pan over them, and garnish with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
© Copyright 2020– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post. The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.