Even though apples are plentiful year round, fall seems to be the time put them to use.
Apple pie, apple pancakes — you know, all that sweet goodness served piping hot.
It got me thinking long and hard about how to recreate that apple in my own way.
I knew right away I wanted to bake the apple. There is something comforting about a warm apple surrounded by hints of cinnamon, clove and allspice.
While the raw apple looks far more beautiful, baked apple takes on a new flavor and texture that to me has more depth.
So I came up with my own version of the apple sandwich but made it a stuffed baked apple instead.
6 gala or Granny Smith apples, washed and cored (peel them, too, if that is your preference)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons mulling spice
Granola topping (recipe below)
Fresh mint for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat apple juice, mulling spice and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then let simmer for about 5 minutes. Toss apricots and cranberries in brown sugar then stuff them inside the cored apples. Pour apple juice mixture over the apples (use a strainer if you want to remove the spices). Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, and apples are tender. Let cool a little, then top with granola. Serve with a scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint (it makes a nice complement to the sweet ice cream).
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toss together all ingredients. Place on a large baking sheet in a single layer Place in oven while apples are baking. Stir after the first five minutes and then every two minutes thereafter until everything is toasted — probably about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Vegan coconut vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
Heat coconut milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape insides into milk mixture. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least four hours. Put mixture in the freezer for about an hour so it gets really cold, but not frozen. Pour into an ice cream maker, turn it on and let it mix for about 20 minutes.