Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Drunk Baked Apples

"How did the apples get drunk?” you ask... they had all the leftover desert wines I had standing around my house.  I am not a big fan of desert wine, I enjoy an occasional port, but still usually have some left over.  The fact that I don't really drink desert or fruit wines does not stop me from buying them, whenever we go on wine tasting trips.  Much to my husband's dismay, I end up buying the little (and overpriced) bottles of apple, black currant or raspberry wines with the same excuse... "If anything, I will cook with it".  And it is true, when all else fails these make great base for all kinds of desert sauces or salad dressings.

I went apple picking recently and although these year's pickings were not abundant (we went a week too late), I still had plenty of Granny Smith apples to work with. For a quick, easy and delicious desert baked apples work great.  It is just as easy to make two as it is to make twenty, which makes this desert great for entertaining company.  And you can make these in advance, just heat them up in the oven for a few minutes and drizzle with sauce before serving. 

If any are left over, they make a great snack the next day.  And for all this goodness, I figure they are a much healthier alternative to most of the backed deserts out there. 

Drunk Backed Apples

6 Granny Smith ( or any firm, tart apples).
3 tbs of honey
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dry blueberries or cranberries or raisins
1/4 frozen black currant or any tart berries
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of dried ginger
1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp of lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups of desert or fruit wine or port or any combination of all the lefovers you may have

1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of Grand Marnier
1 cup of sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel just the top of the apple and core with the melon baller.  With the same melon baller, hallow out the inside of the apple, making sure the sides and the bottom do not get too thin.  Immediately after peeling and coring drizzle each apple inside and out with the lemon juice.  This will prevent browning.

In a bowl combine chopped walnuts, dried and frozen berries, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest.
Squeeze about a 1/2 tbs of honey inside each apple, than fill with berry and nut mixture.  Press the mixture firmly inside each apple and fill all the way to the top.  It's ok if some of the filling overflows, it will just flavor the sauce.

Arrange all the filled apples in the glass baking dish and pour the wine/ port mixture over the apples.  Bake in the 400F oven for about 20 min or until the apples become somewhat tender (but not mushy).

When the apples are done, set them aside and pour all the remaining liquid into a sauce pan.  Add balsamic vinegar, Grand Marnier and sugar.  Simmer until the sauce has reduced by about half and coats the back of the spoon. 

Drizzle the sauce over the apples and serve warm or at room temperature.

Now, if that doesn't smell and taste like fall, I don't know what is!

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