Filling and frugal, laced with warming sweet spices and crunchy walnuts, and drizzled with miso caramel sauce, these simple spiced baked apples are just the thing to warm you up on chilly autumn evenings. And they only take around 30 minutes to cook too!
As the days start to cool off, and night falls earlier and earlier, what better to stave off autumn chills than some hearty, comforting spiced baked apples?
Let's face it, autumn and stuffed apples just go together, don't they?
When I was a child, my gran often made baked apples, using Bramleys from the tree in our garden, stuffed chock-full of currants (she didn't believe in raisins or sultanas) and demerara sugar.
More often than not, they'd be served with a gorgeous lake of steaming hot, thick, creamy custard... but sometimes, for a real treat, she'd let me have a scoop of Cornish or vanilla ice cream instead.
As I'm writing this, memories come flooding back of sitting in the warmth of my gran's kitchen while she cooked, and I can almost taste her baked apples. Yum!
One time though, she courted rebellion from my granddad and me; instead of apples from our garden, she used Granny Smiths.
What? Why? Why would she do that to us?!
Just in case anyone reading this doesn't know the difference, Bramleys - also known as cooking apples - are big, fat, and semi-sweet, whereas sharp and sour Granny Smiths are the work of Beelzebub himself.
To compound her crime, not only did she add mixed candied peel and glacé cherries (barfetty-barf) to the currants, she also didn't use nearly enough sugar. Although to be fair, there's not enough sugar in the world to take away the lip-pursing, face-sucking sourness of those little green balls of evil.
She only did it the once. Ha!
(Even she wasn't impressed with her creation.)
As an adult, baked apples were something I used to make a lot for my son - they were such an easy, cheap, and filling dessert to throw together. I'd sometimes make them for supper too (who says supper always needs to be savoury?).
I'd put the apples in the oven, and then we'd take the dogs for a long evening walk through the fields at the back of our house. By the time we returned, all pink-faced, and chilly, the kitchen would welcome us home with a truly wondrous spiced apple aroma.
And yes, we'd have them with a lake of rich and creamy custard!
I still love to have baked apples with custard, and sometimes with cinnamon vanilla ice cream, but y'know what else is fantastic? Drizzling them with caramel sauce! In this case, miso caramel sauce.
A few weeks ago, our friends, Emilia, Antonel, and Ioana came over for lunch, and because they are truly lovely people, they brought with them a bottle of wine from their vineyard, the best home-made vinetta (aubergine salad) I've ever tasted, and some mere coapta - Romanian baked apples. All made with produce from their own land.
Unlike in Britain, from what I can make out, baked apples in Romania are made exclusively from eating apples. Maybe they don't have cooking apples here - I've certainly never seen any. Or maybe it's because traditionally, Romanian food is made with what's available.
The baked apples are stuffed with walnuts (which grow in abundance in the Balkans) and honey. Yes, Emilia's baked apples were made with honey, and yes, I did eat one. And it was gorgeous!
I don't normally consume honey but I didn't realise until it was too late, and there was absolutely no way I was going to be churlish, and not eat the food my friend had lovingly prepared, especially given that she had very deliberately, and very kindly, made food which would be suitable for us.
Does that make me a bad vegan? Possibly. Does it make me a reasonable human being? I hope so.
Anyway, my baked apples therefore, are a fusion (I can't believe I just said that) of my childhood favourite and Romanian mere coapta. While they may not be one nor the other, they comprise, I believe, the best of both worlds. Two worlds, which at first glance, appear to be very different, and yet scratch beneath the surface, and you find more similarities than differences.
And everyone loves apples!
Simple Spicy Baked Apples
- full of Vitamin C (18% of our average daily requirement)
- really easy to make
- so very delicious!
Nigel Slater once said that a fluffy baked potato is the food equivalent of a hug - if that is true (and I believe it is), then these baked apples are the equivalent of sitting in front of a roaring log fire on a snowy evening, in the company of family and friends.
Do you prefer baked apples with ice cream, or custard?
Simple Spicy Baked Apples
- 4 large eating apples
- 4 tablespoon walnut halves
- 4 teaspoon demerara sugar
- ½ vanilla bean seeds only (note 1)
- 4 teaspoon vegan butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 green cardamom pods seeds only, ground to a powder
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoon sultanas
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
- Wash the apples, and using an apple corer, remove the core and pips, then place into a baking dish.
- In a food processor, blitz together the walnuts, sugar, vanilla, vegan butter, cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ginger for a few seconds, until you have a coarse paste.
- Remove the blade, and mix in the sultanas.
- Stuff the cavities of the apples with the paste, making sure you press it in firmly.
- Cover with some tin foil, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, until the apples are soft.
- Remove from the oven, and serve drizzled with miso caramel sauce.
- These baked apples will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days if wrapped in tin foil.
- Or use ½ teaspoon vanilla extract / 1 teaspoon vanilla paste.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
Ooh these look so good! I have never had baked apple before but I would love to try one with some ice cream on the side! I love baking and cooking so I must try this! 🙂
You've never had a baked apple, Becca? You need to sort that out, pronto! 😉 xx
Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder
Your gorgeous recipe takes me right back to my childhood Nico! It's like nostalgic, foodie time travel 🙂 I think it's wonderful that food memories can do this to us. I will be definitely recreating your wonderful recipe and it is custard for me (although your caramel sauce looks so inviting too)! x
Ha ha ha, I love it - foodie time travel... I'll need to remember that! xx
This takes me straight back to childhood. Baked apples were common fare in our household. I have to say they were not my favourite and I've never made them myself, but stuffed with walnuts and drizzled with caramel sauce - well that's a whole nother matter 😀
Mind you, really, almost anything drizzled with caramel sauce is going to be amazing, right?! xx
Kate, Meals and Makes
These look delicious, I love baked apples. I have never had miso caramel before, but like the sound of the flavour combinations. Yum. #CookBlogShare
It's a definite winning combo, Kate! xx
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie
So lovely! I absolutely adore baked apples and have so many fond memories of eating them when I was small...I was rather disappointed when I tried them on my little people...and they didn't like them!?! Crazy. Talking of crazy, that miso caramel just sounds insane!!! (In a good way obvs) Just the mere thought of caramel and miso together is making me drool. But drizzled all over a baked apple...I think I may need a little lie down now...Eb x
Definitely crazy! Honestly, kids these days, they don't know they're born! **brandishes zimmerframe!** xx
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
Loaded up with that caramel sauce and you have a perfect winter dessert!
Oh yes, indeedy! xx
I'm so into baked fruity desserts at the moment! These baked spicy apples are the perfect autumn treat 😀
I love baked fruit too, Nadia, especially at this time of year - there's something so comforting about it, isn't there? I love grilled fruit too! xx
These look delicious! I haven't had a baked apple for ages and definitely need to try them out on my children. These must go so well with that delicious miso caramel!
Isn't it funny how many of us grew up with baked apples... and yet somehow, as adults, we've let them fall by the wayside. It's a shame, really - they're so simple and cheap to make! xx
My goodness, what's not to like about this recipe, the spices are lovely, I especially like the addition of the cardamom. And does it matter if the apples are cooking apples or eating apples? Either would be lovely, I am sure. Thank you for bringing this autumnal deliciousness to #CookBlogShare:)
I don't think it matters at all whether they are cooking or eating apples - the cookers will be a bit firmer but I have to admit that I like the 'fluffiness' of baked eating apples. xx
Mel | avirtualvegan.com
I haven't had a baked apple in years! My mum used to make them all the time when I was young and we always had them with custard. I think now I would prefer them with ice cream or even whipped coconut cream. I have no idea why but it is impossible to get Bramley Apples or any other kind of cooking apples here in Canada. Eating apples are used for cooking instead. It's strange and sounds a bit like the Romanian situation. I do miss good ol' Bramleys!
Love the sounds of the miso caramel with your version. My mouth is watering!
I must admit that I am looking forward to getting my mitts on some Bramleys when I'm back in Britain - they really are in a class of their own, aren't they? xx