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Grown-Up Baked Apples

November 16, 2012

Back in the 60’s my Mom worked. We had a soda man. What’s the connection, you ask? You are about to find out. The soda man was a short, husky guy who regularly rang the bell and brought in a crate filled with large glass soda bottles that he carried in on one shoulder. He deposited them in the basement for us and went off with the last delivery’s crate, filled with the empty bottles. There were the bottles of plain seltzer topped with spigots that you see in black & white slapstick comedies. There were bottles of ginger ale, black raspberry and (my favorite) black cherry sodas.

My mom had no time to bake. That was a rare happening. She barely had time to cook. That was a regular Sunday thing. But one thing my mom often made in winter was Baked Apples.

Evening. Frost on the windows, dark outside. The kitchen filled with the aroma of baking apples. When they were done, all cracked and bubbly with apple juice goodness and syrupy sweetness of the soda, my mom pulled the tin baking pan out of the oven, placed the apples on a dish and poured the extra appley-red elixir in a glass for me. There was never a lot. Maybe a few ounces in a juice glass. But I’ll tell you – it was one of the most satisfying beverages I’d ever had.

So here’s my mom’s version of Baked Apples: Cortland apples, pierced all around with a sharp knife, cores intact, peel intact, stems intact. She was a working woman, after all. Who had time? Black cherry soda (from the, you guessed it, soda man!) poured over (just enough to wet each apple) and baked at 350 degrees until soft, about 45 minutes.. No soda man? Use 7-up, ginger ale or black cherry soda. No soda? Try a half and half mix of grape juice or cranberry-raspberry juice and sparkling water, about 1/4 cup total for 2 apples. Serve plain or with Redi-whip whipped cream in a can. I probably had equal parts apple and equal parts whipped cream on my plate then. That can was irresistible.

And here comes a grown-up version:

Peel the top thirds of the apples and core.

Let some raisins soak in a little liqueur for about 15-20 minutes. Try an orange liqueur, a lemon, like Limoncello, almond-flavored Amaretto, a little apple brandy, Calvados, or a red wine. Whatever strikes your grown-up fancy. If preparing for a mixed group, kids too, use juice or a juice/seltzer mix.

Stuff raisins into cores. Don’t over stuff. I kind of did that. The raisins on top burned a bit. I just picked them off.

Drunken raisins inside apples

Top with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon

When I told my mom what I was posting, she warned, “Be sure to pierce them through with a knife. Otherwise they get the oven dirty.” Then she remembered how I used to love to drink the hot juice when the apples were done baking.

GROWN-UP BAKED APPLES

Ingredients:

2 apples -Fuji (widely available in Southern California), Rome Beauty, Cortland (I’m covering different regions- use any apple you like for baking or ask your produce person at the market)

2 T. golden (or dark) raisins

2 T. orange liqueur or liqueur of your choice (if doing a kids’ version, soak in grape juice)

1/4 t.  cinnamon

2 t. light brown sugar

3 T. regular or white grape juice

1 T. plain seltzer (sparkling water)

Directions:

Peel the top third of the apples and core.

Soak raisins in liqueur for 10-20 minutes.

Stuff raisins into apple cores to just below the top. Pour juice/seltzer mix over tops of apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 350° for 45 minutes, until skins begin to “pop’ and juices bubble. They are done when pierced easily with a knife.

Serving Ideas:

Whip up a batch of your own slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Get light whipped cream in a can.

Find yourself some vanilla ice cream. That’s always good.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Consider adding baked apples to your holiday dessert table for a welcome change.

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4 Comments
  1. Jean permalink

    Judy, It never occurred to me to soak raisins in liqueur before putting them in baked apples. Great idea. Thank you.

  2. Hi, I have nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!
    Read more at:
    http://chocolatespoonandthecamera.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/super-sweet-blogging-award/

    • That is so so cool -thank you – will follow the steps and get it out there soon- and 1 more thing: your photography is terrific!- Judy

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