Serious Eats: Recipes

Baking With Dorie: Fruit-Nut-and-Honey Baked Apples

I don't know where you are, but where I am, people are stocking up on wood for their fireplaces and shopping for long wooly scarves they can wrap around their necks a couple of times before tying them in stylish knots. I'm in Paris and it's beginning to feel like winter here. In fact, it's beginning to look like winter, since the clocks were turned back last Sunday and it's dark by 6 p.m.

Because I can't make a fire in my fireplace, I did the next best thing—I put apples in the oven. It didn't do much to warm the place, but it certainly made everything smell great.

Baked apples, or pommes au four, as they're known here, are less a recipe than a construction—I didn't include a "Playing Around" section this week, since the whole recipe is an exercise in playing around. While I do nothing more than core the apples and stuff the centers with dried fruits and nuts, honey, and butter, I've had meringue-topped baked apples (once the apples are baked, you crown them with meringue, then run them under the broiler to brown) and apples topped with streusel—both nice ideas and ways to turn this nursery sweet into something fit for company.

Here in Paris, the apple man told me to use Canada or Boskoop apples, but you can use almost any kind of apple. Galas work well, but I'm kind of partial to big red apples, like old-fashioned Rome Beauties. If your apples are bigger or smaller than "regular" apples, you might need a little more or a little less filling, but, since the filling isn't cooked, it's easy to make adjustments.

One word of advice: Cut a little circle around the tummy of each apple to keep it from expanding and bursting. I tucked the apples into the oven forgetting that little cut, and one of them popped—not tragic, but not pretty.

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at DorieGreenspan.com and on the Bon App├ętit website, where she is a special correspondent.

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