I love baked apples, and I wanted to show you these in prep form. They are such a perfect side to hearty casserole dishes where you already have an abundance of vegetables incorporated in the main dish, but you just want a sweet accompanient to balance the savory dish. I usually pair baked apples with cream based casseroles such as chicken pan pie, hot chicken salad casserole, chicken divan, or chicken and rice.
To make, just simply score the stem out of a few Granny Smith apples (although gala would work if you prefer a sweeter apple), rub apples all over with butter. Then sprinkle tops of apples with cinnamon and stuff holes in top of apples with a few drops of vanilla, a slice of butter, raisins, brown sugar, then a light sprinkle of sea salt and nutmeg. I then drizzle a little pure maple syrup over them for good measure. Finally, I pour about a cup of apple juice in bottom of dish to keep the apples moist while baking and to serve as a glaze as the natural sugars from the fruit reduce down. I bake in oven on 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or so. When apples are a little soft to touch and just start to break their skin, they are ready. To take it up a notch, I might drizzle with a little hazelnut oil when finished to impart a little extra something. Such a low cost side, and a good way to make full use of those left over apples you have. A simple twist on “an apple a day.” Now off to the oven these go to get a good head start on the main dish…homemade chicken pan pie.