Baked Apples with Date-Nut Filling

You don't need butter or brown sugar to make irresistible baked apples. This dessert tastes wonderful warm or close to room temperature and the leftovers keep for up to 5 days. Note: Use eating apples rather than cooking apples; they hold their shape better.
Photography By Heather Gill | December 15, 2011

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 375°. Mince dried fruit and combine with remaining filling ingredients. Or, combine filling ingredients in a food processor or Vita-Mix and process until smooth.

2. Wash apples and core twice to create a wide cavity. Remove apple bits from around seeds, then core, mince and add to filling. Peel upper 1/3 of each apple to keep skins from splitting during cooking, or remove entire peel.

3. Fill apples, mounding extra filling on top. Stand apples in a 9-inch square or oblong baking pan. Add water to pan. Tightly cover pan with parchment then aluminum foil, or a tight-fitting lid. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy.

4. Simmer the pan juices in a saucepan to reduce to 1/4 cup, then spoon over apples. Serve warm or close to room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 5 days.

Recipe compliments of The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert & Don Matesz (Planetary Press, 2006); TheGardenOfEatingDiet.com.

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Ingredients

Filling
  • 1/3 cup packed, dried, sulfite-free raisins
  • 1/3 cup packed, dried, pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup unsalted, unsweetened almond or cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or maple extract (preferably nonalcoholic)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 9 small to medium-size tart-sweet apples (5 to 6 ounces each): Early Gold, Ginger Gold, Braeburn, Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady or Cortland
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
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