Baked Stuffed Apples
A classic apple dessert becomes a sophisticated Halloween treat with a meringue topping and a spiderweb of sweet creme anglaise. The recipe comes from "Martha's Entertaining."
- 2 oranges, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
- 1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground mace
- 8 apples (about 3 pounds), preferably Northern Spy
- Swiss Meringue
- Creme Angalise, with chocolate variation
In a bowl, stir together both zests, orange juice, raisins, and Cognac; cover, and let stand at room temperature 8 hours, or up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with a rack in the center. Stir nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and mace into raisin mixture. With a small melon baller, core apples, starting at stem end and leaving blossom end intact. Stand cored apples on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat, and fill each one with raisin mixture, dividing evenly. Bake until base of an apple is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size and variety. Cool apples on baking sheet on a wire rack.
Fit a large pastry bag with an open-star tip (such as #18) and fill with Swiss meringue. Pipe a rosette on top of each apple. Using a small kitchen torch, carefully brown edges of the meringue. (Alternatively, place meringue-topped apples under the broiler until golden, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning.)
Spoon about 3 tablespoons creme anglaise onto each of 8 dessert plates. Transfer chocolate creme anglaise to a small pastry bag fitted with a plain fine tip (or place in a small sturdy plastic bag and snip off corner). Starting at the outside and working toward the center of the plate, pipe a spiral pattern, leaving about 1/4 inch between each curved line. To create the spider-web design, drag the tip of a sharp knife in radiating lines through the chocolate spiral, working from the center of the plate out, and spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Place a meringue-topped apple in the center of each plate, and serve immediately.