Cooking with Ceci: Baked apples a breeze with this recipe

(Photo by Ceci Martinez)
(Photo by Ceci Martinez)

If your dream, like mine, is to learn how to bake, “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book” can help make that wish come true. This magnificent reference describes the art and science of baking in an easy way. Every recipe has been tested and tested again until it’s perfected. Every recipe that I have tried has been irresistible and given me the confidence to say: I can bake! Baked apples are usually loaded with butter, have a mushy texture or a dull filling, but you will find a heavenly treat in the recipe from this book. Happy Baking!

Note: If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, transfer the browned apples to a baking dish.


Serves: 6


7 large Granny Smith apples (best for this dessert)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped coarse

1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and dice one apple into 1/4 -inches. Combine diced apple, 5 tablespoons butter, cranberries, pecans, sugar, oats, orange zest, cinnamon and salt in bowl; set aside. Shave thin slice off bottom of remaining 6 apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off stem end of apples and reserve. Peel apples and use a small measuring spoon to remove 1 1/2-inch-diameter core, but don’t cut all the way through the bottom. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples, stem side down, and cook until cut surface is golden brown, about three minutes. Flip apples, reduce heat to low, and spoon filling inside, mounding excess filling over cavities; top with reserved apple caps.

Add maple syrup and 1/3 cup cider to skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until skewer inserted into apples meets little resistance, 35 to 40 minutes, basting frequently with maple syrup mixture in pan. Transfer apples to plates. Stir up two tablespoons of remaining cider into sauce in skillet to adjust consistency. Pour sauce over apples and serve.