The ultimate comfort food, baked apples are synonymous with Fall at Colonial Pines Inn. Thanks to dear long-time guests from Alabama, the Bradleys, who like to make a day trek to a nearby orchard as part of their visit to Highlands, we usually have a bushel of exceptionally fresh, very large apples on hand. This year, due to some very sad circumstances, the Bradleys were not with us for the first time in 28 years. We missed them even more than we missed the apples, but the Keenes, another generous couple from Florida, heard me talking about the Bradleys and showed up that evening with a surprise bag of gorgeous apples!! We have some nice guests, don’t we???
The apples shown above are Honeycrisp and here’s how I like to use them to make APPLES-IN-A-DISH:
Choose large apples about 3″ in diameter. Core and cut in half through the middle, being sure to remove all the seed hulls. Place them cut side down in a baking pan with about 1/2″ water with a little sugar added. Bake covered at 350 about 30 minutes, then check regularly until the apples reach a soft consistency. Because each apple may bake at a different rate, remove the ones that are ready and continue to bake those that aren’t. When done, use a spatula to place the apples cut side up in a 3″ glass dish, pouring a little of the remaining liquid over each apple. To make a delicious topping, saute chopped pecans in a little butter, add an equal amount of dried cranberries and golden raisins. Add a little cranberry juice and simmer with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a splash of maple syrup. Top warm apples with the pecan mixture and serve immediately. They can also be made ahead, refrigerated, and microwaved just before serving.
Another variation, PINK-APPLES-IN-A-DISH, can be made with large, ripe Rome apples which, with their dark red skins, bake up pink. Use the same method as above for baking. Add a little cranberry juice to the pan liquid before pouring over the apples. Instead of the above topping, place a generous dollop of Red Currant Jelly into the apple holes just before serving. The warm apple will turns the jelly into a lovely red sauce!
Either variation makes a beautiful additional to a holiday meal and if there are any apples left over, use them to dress up a humble bowl of oatmeal like my husband Chris does!
Highlands is enjoying a late Fall this year, and Leaf-Season rooms are still available through the end of the month. We’d love to have you as our guests!
Wherever you are, we wish you a Color-Full Fall!
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