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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Easy 'Baked' Apples

(Photo from www.vegkitchen.com)

Autumn is apple season!

Wherever you look these days, grocery stores and farmers’ markets are brimming with bushels of apples – sweet, tart, yellow, red, green, pink.

With so many delicious apples and ways to prepare them, one must decide which type of recipe to make– pie, tart, strudel, cake, muffin, sauce, chutney - and - which type of apple best-suits that particular recipe.

I’m a woman who enjoys eating a good, crisp apple - almost any variety will do. I eat it one slice at a time – no frills. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good mile-high apple pie (ala mode), and strudel (with whipped cream). Mmmm!!

One of the easiest cooked apple recipes I like to make is the old-fashioned baked apple, without using the oven. I’m too impatient to wait 45 minutes for the apples to become soft enough to eat. Instead, I ‘bake’ apples in the microwave. This is not a revolutionary idea; it’s just one that makes sense. The apples cook in record time and come out great!

Easy ‘Baked’ Apples 
Serves 4

4 medium-sized apples (I prefer Fuji apples.)

Filling Ingredients:
3 to 4 Tbsp. brown sugar (amount will depend on the sweetness of the apple)
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. raisins or currants (I use currants)
4 Tbsp. walnuts or pecans, finely chopped, optional
4 small pats of butter

Apple Directions:

1. Wash and core the apples. Do not cut completely through the bottom. With a sharp paring knife, cut off a ring of the apple’s skin at the very top.

2. Prepare the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, currants or raisins and nuts, if using. Set aside.
Step #3

3. Place the cored apples in a glass pie plate or other suitable microwave-safe dish. Fill each cavity of the apple with some of the filling mixture until all filling is used. Add a little water to the bottom of the pie plate. This will create a nice juice. 

4. Place a pat of butter on the top center of each apple.
Step #4

5. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes. 

6. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and microwave for another 4 to 8 minutes, checking after every four minutes. Apples will be ready to serve when a knife can easily be inserted into it. Allow apples to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

NOTE: The amount of cooking time will depend on the size of the apples. Larger apples might need to cook for 12 minutes.

To Serve: Place each apple in a bowl. Drizzle a little of the juice that collects in the bottom of the pie dish. Serve just as it is, or with whipped cream or a good-quality vanilla ice cream.

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