I have grown a fond for apples over the last two years. Rarely a day goes by where you won't find one in my hand or on my plate. My mother refers to my apple-eating habit as an addiction (in jest) and I'm beginning to think she's right. Yesterday alone, I had apples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in various forms. Perhaps it's the crispness of the first bite of an apple I simply cannot resist. Or maybe it is the fact that I love to spread my apple slices with a thick layer of peanut butter.
Whatever the reason, I do hope that old saying about apples is true. I don't want to go to the doctor any time soon.
My neighbors had an apple tree while I was growing up. The tree was next to the fence and the branches hovered over our garden, growing apples no bigger than the palm of my small hand. In early fall, the apples would begin to turn color; shades of red and green and yellow took over the tree. Wearing light jackets and long pants, my sister and I would steal apples under the cover of darkness, munching the tart fruit in the backyard. The biting tartness of the fruit was enough to make my eyes squint. When we were finished, we'd hide the evidence in the bushes.
It was, in many ways, the forbidden fruit.
My babysitter was the first person to introduce me to baked apples. She'd fill her apples with brown sugar and cinnamon, baking them until the house smelled like a rich apple pie. Baked fruit has always been a favorite of mine. The firm, yet tender, fruit and sweet fillings are the scents of autumn daydreams. I have a bad habit of forgetting about baked fruit when the seasons roll around.
This year, with a love of baking and a kitchen counter full of apples, it seemed destined for fruit to find its way into the oven.
Baked Apples are sweet, tart, and tender at the same time. The apples are filled with a mixture of brown sugar, oats, and sliced almonds, which gives a little crunch to the filling to offset the soft fruit. As the apples bake, the scent of cinnamon and apple pie fill the house, which only adds to the cozy effect these apples have on an autumn evening. Different sized apples may require shorter or longer baking times, so please adjust accordingly.
Yields 6 apples
6 ripe medium-sized apples, cored (leave the bottom of the apple intact)
3 tablespoons (43 grams) butter, softened
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (41 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) old fashioned oats
1/3 cup (40 grams) sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place cored apples into a baking dish.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the flour, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt. Fill each apple with the oatmeal mixture, dividing it evenly between apples.
Add enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Bake apples for 30-40 minutes, or until apples are tender, but not overcooked. Serve warm.