Food and Drink: Cold Weather Comfort Food Part 2

I can’t bake. At all.
This obviously presents a problem for those times that I’d like to end a meal with a homemade dessert. Because of my lack of expertise, I’m always on the hunt for an easy, foolproof recipe. I found a recipe for Baked Stuffed Apples in the autumn edition of Food & Drink. It looked simple enough, but I soon realized that I was missing most of the ingredients. So I improvised and came up with my own version. These stuffed apples are a perfect way to end a comforting dinner on a crisp fall evening.

You'll need:

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 large baking apples
  • 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Port wine (or any other liquor you have on hand)
Crumble topping:
  • 3/4 cup muesli (or granola, or oats)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
Combine the cream cheese with vanilla, maple syrup, cardamom and cinnamon. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Next, remove the apple cores by using a melon baller. I couldn’t find a melon baller, so I used a knife and a spoon. The apples definitely look more rustic when you do this and it was slightly more difficult, but worked just as well. Remember to leave the bottoms of the apples intact. Arrange the apples in a baking dish. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Fill the apples with the cream cheese mixture. Drizzle ¼ cup of Port into the bottom of the baking dish and cover with buttered foil. Bake for 25 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove and uncover.
In a small bowl, mix the muesli, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Drizzle with melted butter and toss to combine. Top each apple with the crumble topping and bake for 15 more minutes, until crisp and golden.

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