I rarely come across a recipe that I don’t adapt in the kitchen. Few and far between are the chefs I trust implicitly enough to blindly follow a recipe for the first time. Dorie Greenspan is one of those chefs.
My sister recently learned that she is intolerant to gluten. Rather than shower her in gluten-free approximations of traditional sweet treats, I decided to get a little creative (and a little seasonal) and see what the internet had to offer on the happenstantially-gluten-free-dessert front. (Thank you, internet, for always providing me with what I seek!)
The only modification I made to this recipe was the kind of apple I baked. Dorie recommends large baking apples (Rome Beauty, to be precise) but I had these smaller, Opal apples on hand which still tasted beautiful baked–I found the portion size for a smaller apple to be closer to what I could comfortably eat as well. (Sorry Dorie, for the slight deviation…)
Everything else about this recipe I followed to the letter, and was so pleased with the results. I’d never made baked apples (somehow!) and was frankly delighted with the whole process. Coring and stuffing the apples, basting them in high-quality pressed cider and butter, watching them puff and brown in the oven…the whole experience was part of the treat of eating them. To boot, this recipe is grain-free and refined-sugar-free, so flavorful, and feels so perfectly autumnal. The real sense of indulgence comes from the butter and whipped cream, which are beautifully complimented by the sharpness of the apple and the warmth of the candied ginger. I mean it when I tell you this recipe left a profound enough impression on me, it will probably become a yearly staple…and I’m sure I’ll make it again before fall is gone.
There was definitely a steep learning curve in terms of coring the apples without an apple core-er. I used this cheese knife to pierce concentrically around the core, then used a small spoon to scoop out the flesh I’d serrated–a labor intensive process, but so rewarding. These apples are cute as a button when they’re all hollowed out with little lids for the top!
Apple cider and honey go into the pie dish and the whole thing bakes for about an hour, until…
I basted the apples three times over the course of the hour, spooning buttery cider into the hollowed cavity and over the tops of the apples.
Dorie Greenspan’s Baked Apples
- 4 large apples or 6 medium ones
- ½ lemon, cut into wedges
- ¼ c dried apple rings, broken into small chunks
- 4 pieces of crystallized ginger
- 1/4 c raisins
- 2 teaspoons honey per apple, + 2 more tsp for basting liquid
- 3 Tbs butter
- 1 cup pressed apple cider
- ½ c heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 Tbs maple syrup
- Dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 and make sure a rack is centered in the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, and place a 9” pie dish on top.
Cut a small cap off the top of each apple, and keep it close to its mate so they don’t get confused. Use a small paring knife or corer to remove the core from the apples. (Note: sometimes perforating the apple flesh with a fork or cheese knife makes for easier work.) Peel the topmost layer of apple skin underneath the cap of each apple and reserve. Rub the peeled and cored apple flesh with lemon and squeeze some juice into each opening.
In a small bowl, combine equal parts ginger, dried apple chunks, and raisins to make the filling. Press down into the opening of each apple, and drizzle 2 tsp honey into each apple. Cut the butter into as many chunks as you have apples, and place each pat over the top of the cavity. Pop the lid back on the apple, and don’t worry if it feels very full!
Pour cider into the pie dish and mix in 2 tsp honey, two lemon wedges, and reserved apple peelings. (Chef’s note: the honey won’t dissolve evenly into the cider at first, but don’t fret!)
Arrange the apples in the pie dish and bake.
Baste the apples occasionally with the liquid from the pie dish as they bake, at least three times. When you can poke them with a fork and meet minimal resistance, 50-70 minutes, they are done.
Let them cool for about 15 minutes as you prepare the whipped cream.
Add cream and maple syrup to a medium bowl with high walls, or a large bowl. Beat with an electric beater until fluffy and of desired texture, about 5 minutes.
When the apples have cooled slightly, top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.
These apples keep 2 days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.