Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slow Cooked Stuffed Apples - Apple Week Recipe 2

Good evening everyone! It's starting to actually feel like fall out there. 80 degree days, where have you gone? It seems like a thing of the past now, with temperatures struggling to surpass 60. It's days like these that make one crave a good, warm fall flavored recipe. Something with brown sugar and cinnamon, something warm and something flavorful.

Have I got just the recipe for that craving!

My dish tonight is perfect for those evenings where you are craving something warm and comforting, but don't really need or want to construct an entire feast. This recipe is light on waistline, but packs a punch with flavor and originality.

The Recipe: Slow Cooked Stuffed Apples
Original Recipe Found In: Taste Of Home Magazine: August / September 2010 Issue

What You'll Need: (Note, this recipe makes 6 stuffed apples, adjust the ingredients as necessary for your needs)

6 Tart Apples (Granny Smith preferred)
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/4 Cup Chopped Dry Apricots
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Melted Butter
3/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Begin by coring your apples and peeling the top 1/3 of each. Use a basting brush or paper towel, rub the lemon juice over the peeled sections of the apples (this helps to avoid unsightly browning of the peeled apple). If you're making the full 6 apples, place them in a 6 quart slow cooker.  However, a smaller quantity of apples will not require such a large slow cooker. As I was only making 2 apples this evening, I chose to use our smaller, 'dip' slow cooker which is roughly 2 quarts.

In a bowl, combine the pecans, apricots, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. I chose to add some dried cranberries to the mix as well, just to change things up a little bit. In reality, any 'fall flavor' of dried fruit or nut will mix in nicely with this concoction.

If your pecans and apricots are not chopped, you can use a chopper - such as the OXO chopper that Maggie and I love. I used our OXO chopper to reduce the pecans to a fine crumb like mix and attempted to use the chopper to slice up the apricots as well...the pecans chopped up just fine. The apricots, which were gummy and sort of soft in texture, simply bounced around the container. I opted to shred the stubborn little buggers manually instead.

Pecans...slightly chopped

Mix everything well in the bowl until you achieve a mixture that looks a lot like granola. Using a large tablespoon, pour heaping helpings of the mixture into the cored out apples. I used the end of the spoon to pack in the mixture in tight (like packing gun powder into a cannon) to ensure that each apple was filled to the top with the granola mixture.

The whole mixture - it looks (and tastes) a lot like granola 

Showing a little flesh! 

Apple cannons...filled with granola and far less deadly  

Pour in 1/3 cup of water (or just enough to cover the bottom of the slow cooker) and set the temperature to low. Allow the apples to cook for 3 to 4 hours or until soft, serve and enjoy!

The Results:

Alas, my apples cooked for about 40 minutes too long. I had set the slow cooker on a timer, so it could begin cooking at 2:00. I was due home at 6:00 - by my logic that was 4 hours and everything would be fine. HOWEVER this was the first time cooking with this particular slow cooker, and as I found out the hard way that it is an ambitious little guy (I.E. hotter than I realized).

What that meant is sometime between 5:00 (when Maggie came home) and 6:00 - My apples essentially exploded...outwards. The skin literally cooked off the outer edge and the apple fell apart. This meant no 'end result' picture with a nice, golden apple. Sine the thing I spooned out of the slow cooker wasn't all that photogenic, I opted to not post pictures of my final mushy dish.

That being said, the outward appearance had no effect on the flavor - which was fantastic. Maggie summed it up eloquently by simply stating "it tastes like warm apple sauce, topped with cinnamon and nuts". She hit the nail right on the head, warm cinnamon apple sauce with pecans cooked right in. A perfect warming dish for those cool fall time I'll set the timer a little shorter though...

That's all we have for you this evening. I'm back in the kitchen tomorrow with a recipe that I have personally tried in the past - but am now attempting to duplicate via only memory and taste...this could be an interesting evening! Be sure to stop in tomorrow night to see what I've got cooking. Until then,


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