Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cider Baked Apples

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While it was a joyous process to drive out in the lovely Ohio countryside ablaze with the colors of Fall to pick not only Mutsu apple, but the  Melrose, the official apple for the state of Ohio, I'm knee deep in apples! With over a bushel of apples, I realize that the work is not picking the apples, but finding ways to use them. So far, I have made apple butter, apple simple syrup and applesauce which has made only a small dent in my cache. Even though baked apples will only use up a few apples,I couldn't resist these baked apples stuffed with stem ginger, almonds, golden raisins and bathed in a heady spicy hard cider glaze. 
Often called the "oven buster" apple as one baked can easily serve two, the Mutsu, introduced in 1948, is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Indo apple first grown in the Mutsu Japanese province. An excellent snacking apple with white firm flesh and an ambrosial aroma, this apple is also good for baked goods, salads and makes especially tangy sweet applesauce.

The Melrose apple, the official apple of the state of Ohio, introduced only a few years earlier than the Mutsu has yellowish green skin with a blush of red and russet streaks. It's a great keeper with more intense fruity flavors developing after the apples have been off the tree for a few months.

Cider Baked Apples
  • 3-1/2 cups hard apple cider
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 6 unpeeled medium Mutsu, Melrose or Braeburn apples, cored 
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup stem ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the hard cider, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, or until mixture is syrupy and reduced to 2-2/3 cup.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stuff the cored apples with the raisins, stem ginger and almonds. Place in an apple baker or a 12-inch baking pan. Pour the hot syrup over the apples. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until apples are almost tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from oven, turn the apples over and add the brandy to the pan. Baste apples with the cider syrup and apple brandy combination frequently, allowing the apples to absorb the flavors. Let stand, covered for 15 minutes. Serve the baked apples with the syrup and any of the fruit and nut mixture that escaped during cooking. Top with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt. Serves 6.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #355, hosted this week by Marta from Mangiare e un po'come viaggiare. Weekend Herb Blogging was created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and is now managed by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything Once. More information about WHB can be found here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

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