Baked Apples 

A three course dinner for 12 may seem daunting to prepare, but with tactful planning, simple ingredients and a stylish hostess to provide a delicious menu with concise guidancean an At Home Soigné dinner can unfold into an evening guests will be boasting about for weeks!

The grand finale from Friday night’s dinner is a favorite for anytime of year. Baked apples are so elegant and so tasty. With a bit of finesse, this dessert tops the list of At Home Soigné favorites.

Below is a recipe for baked apples. It yields four. If your party is larger, this recipe can easily be converted. I like to use Granny Smith apples, not only because of their tartness, but because they bake well.

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon butter, divided in four (or amount of apples)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup hot water

Optional extras: Orange zest, lemon zest, grated ginger, candied ginger, other dried fruit, chopped nuts, cream cheese, mascarpone, peanut butter, Nutella
To serve: Ice cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream, coconut whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower-middle position.
Remove the core of the apples, cutting to within a half-inch of the bottom of the apple and creating a well roughly 3/4-inch wide. This is easy to do with an apple corer, but can also be done with a melon baller, grapefruit spoon, or a paring knife. Then slice in half.
Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and any extras in a bowl. Divide this mixture between the apples, packing the wells firmly. And sprinkle with raisins
Arrange the apples in a baking dish, and top each one with a pat of butter. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish.
Bake for 20 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking uncovered until the apples are soft and the brown sugar has melted into a syrup, an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

You can test the apples by poking a paring knife into the interior of the apple; it should slide into the apple easily with no resistance. The skin on the apples will also become wrinkled and soft by the end of cooking.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated or eaten cold.