Here’s an easy and delicious way to have that holiday treat we’re all craving.
Note: Do not sub in a different type of apple. I know, I know; Granny Smiths are not my favorite snacking apple either. But their sturdy texture is crucial in this recipe; other types break down and become pulp under the heat. Also, don’t worry about the puckered mouth you get when you eat a Granny Smith raw. Here, the sourness is first mellowed by the baking and second, necessary as a counterpoint for the sweet filling and sauce. Lastly, you MUST peel the apples. If you skip that step, all the steam will get trapped inside and turn everything to mush. But peeling them gives a firm-tender apple with a savory-sweet filling -- tasting much like right-side-in apple pie. Maybe even better.
Inside-Out Apple Pie*adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe for Baked Apples
5 Granny Smith apples
4 Tbs butter, softened and divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 Tbs rolled oats
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
table salt (dash or pinch, to taste)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup juice (apple or orange) or cider
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and cut 1 apple in a ¼ inch dice. Combine diced apple, 3 Tbs butter, sugar, cranberries, pecans, zest, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in medium bowl.
Cut ½ inch slice off the stem top of each apple; reserve. Peel the apples and hollow out a wide middle hole (about an inch from the apple edge) using a melon baller or paring knife, being careful not to pierce the bottom.
Melt remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat in an oven-proof skillet. When butter bubbles die down, place apples into skillet, cut side down. Cook until surface is golden brown, about 90 seconds. Flip apples over and fill with cranberry/oat/nut mixture, packing it down into the hollow and piling it on top of the apple. Place reserved apple caps on top of the filling. Pour maple syrup and juice or cider into the skillet. (If you are using a wide skillet, you may need more of each; you want ¼ to a ½ inch of liquid on the bottom.)
Place skillet in the oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Serve without the caps and generously doused with the syrup sauce.
photo by Nsilcock via Dreamstime