Introduction: Baked Apples
These baked apples are the best you'll ever taste, guaranteed. And they're super easy! Grab some apples, and try this now. Yes, NOW. Make extra, as you'll want leftovers for breakfast - they're that good.
Yes, definitely. This is what all breakfast cereals wish they could be! I had an amazing baked apple for brunch in New Orleans, where it's considered an important part of a well-balanced hangover-battling breakfast. Give it a try.
The base recipe I describe here is easily modified, so you can combine it with your favorite parts of Grandma's recipe, or experiment to your heart's content.
Step 1: Tools & Ingredients
allspice, cinnamon, or other spice of your choice (optional)
other fillings like raisins or nuts (optional; I'm not using them here)
knife or apple corer
oven-proof baking dish
Step 2: Core Apples
Grab a paring knife or apple corer, and cut the cores out of your apples.
Place them right-side-up in a baking pan. It's fine if they're a snug fit, but you want each to have enough room to rest squarely on the bottom of the pan.
What kind of apples should you use?
Anything that's considered a good baking apple, and preferably has a slightly tart bite. That includes Galas, Golden Delicious, Cortlands, Empires, Mutsus, Winesaps, Jonagolds, Johnathans, Honeycrisps, Russets, Pippins, or anything else you'd use in a pie. Avoid Fujis, McIntosh, and Red Delicious, as they don't stand up well to cooking. I also tend to avoid Granny Smiths, as they're a bit one-note tart, but if you're adding more flavorful fillings they may be fine.
Step 3: Stuff Apples
Fill the apple cores loosely with brown sugar.
If you're using raisins or nuts, this is the time to add them too - mix them with the brown sugar, and pack the cores a bit more tightly.
I don't have exact measurements for this - just eyeball it. The apple core/apple ratio turns out to be just about right for creating the right sweet balance, and anyway there's a decent margin for error.
Step 4: Add Amaretto and Cream
Pour amaretto over the apples, making sure to douse the stuffed cores as well. Look at the side of the baking dish - you want to fill it about 1cm deep. (I aim for the thickness of my little finger.) This turns out to be about 1.5 cups for a regular 8x11 pyrex baking dish.
Do the same with the heavy cream - you want roughly equivalent amounts of cream and amaretto. See photos for a nice shiny example.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top of your apples, and a pinch or two of your favorite spices if you like. I tend to use allspice and/or cinnamon.
Step 5: Bake
Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes, then flip the apples over.
Bake for another 30 minutes, or until apples are cooked through and starting to slump. They will drop quite a bit more liquid, generating an absolutely amazing sauce. If you're using a firmer type of apple that doesn't slump as easily, stab them with a fork to make sure they're cooked through.
Cool on the counter for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.
Step 6: Serve
Serve apples warm.
Scoop an apple onto a plate or bowl, then drizzle with several spoonfuls of the pan juices. You may choose to add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, but remember we've already got quite a bit of heavy cream in the sauce! Nothing wrong with overdoing it, however.
Save any leftover apples in the refrigerator, and reheat for breakfast or dessert. They microwave well, and the sauce only gets better with time. Enjoy!