Pie Baked Apples — The Weekender
This time of year, many of us make the trek out to our closest U-Pick farms to load up on sweet, crisp apples. It’s easy to get carried away by the fresh air and autumnal abundance, and what looked like a reasonable amount of fruit in the orchard becomes an overwhelming volume once you cart it into your kitchen.
So, you start cooking. You make a big batch of applesauce for the freezer. You bake up a pan of apple crisp for dessert (or breakfast, topped with a scoop of plain yogurt). You slice the apples and stack them with peanut butter. You take a sackful to work, hoping your co-workers will help you out. And still, there are more apples.
If this sounds like a familiar story, may I suggest a fun little dessert that comes together quickly, tastes like a treat and still manages to put the focus on the whole fruit? A cross between traditional pie and baked apples, these Pie Baked Apples have you scoop out the interior apple flesh, toss it with a little sugar and spices, and pack it back into the empty apples. You top them with some store-bought pie crust, then bake them until they're tender and brown.
The thing I like about this dessert is that it puts the emphasis on the fruit, not the crust, while still feeling like something special. For those of you who follow a gluten-free diet, you could make a little batch of gluten-free crust, or you could even replace the crust entirely with an oat-based crumble topping.
Older kids can help hollow out the apples with a spoon or melon baller, and younger ones can help fill them up with the spiced apple bits. I do suggest that you make sure to lightly tent the foil over the apples for the first half of the baking process. I didn’t do that and my foil stuck to the crusts. I was able to recover, but my finished apples weren’t as pretty as they could have been.