Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurry-Up Microwave-Baked Apples


My family and I bought way too many apples at a pick-your-own farm recently--that's my grandson lugging one of the baskets we picked. As a result, we've been eating them both raw and cooked nearly every day. I like traditional baked apples, but I also like having baked apples ready, from start to finish, in less than 15 minutes.

Microwave-baked apples come out tender and appetizing, but quite different from oven baked. Juices don't evaporate from the dish; the apples don't cook down much; and they keep more of their color than oven baked.
Some apples are definitely better for baking whole than others. Some comparison pics, here, show how several different varieties can come out. Besides the ones recommended below, check out the results of my side-by-side apple testings here. 

The apple in the two photos below is Honeycrisp, which tastes good, holds its shape well, and has a very appetizing golden-pink color. Recently, I invited Guy Raz, the host of NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, to do a comparative baked apple tasting in my kitchen, and his favorite was the Honeycrisp.

To ensure that all the apples are done at the same time, choose ones that are all the same size. Microwaving time will depend not only on apple size and variety but wattage of your oven. If you decide to reduce the total number of apples be sure to also reduce the baking time.

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Tip: If you ready baked apples often consider buying a new, good quality apple corer. The modern ones have a sharp bladed cylinder that plunges down through the center, making the core extraction very fast and tidy.

Tip: If you'd like more info on what apples are best for baking, I've done an extensive side-by-side apple bake-off and posted my results here.  I've also come up with an even easier 2-ingredient "baked" apple recipe (it calls for only sugar and apples!); check it out here.

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar (can increase this for very tart apples)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cinnamon (or use 1/4 teaspoon of both)
4 6- to 9-ounce baking apples, such as Braeburn, Empire, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, or Rome
 2 tablespoons water combined with 1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl thoroughly stir together butter, brown sugar, and spice. Using apple corer (or small, sharp paring knife), core apples; if possible, remaining center cavity should be no more than 1 inch in diameter. If necessary, trim bottoms so apples stand up. Using tip of a paring knife, puncture each apple about halfway down and 1/2-inch deep on four sides. This aids release of steam, helping the apples to stay intact.

Arrange apples upright in a deep microwave-safe casserole large until to comfortably hold them; drizzle the lemon water over them. Spoon the sugar mixture into the apple cavities.

Microwave apples, covered with a microwave-safe cover, at 100% power. At 6 minutes begin checking to see if apples are tender by piercing with a fork; baking time may range from 6 to 12 minutes. Let apples stand a few minutes before serving. Transfer apples to individual bowls and spoon the cooking juices over them, dividing equally. Serve plain for breakfast or snacks, or with a scoop of ice cream for a healthful, but yummy dessert.

Makes 4 servings.


It's amazingly easy to turn these apples into a fabulous dessert just by adding scoops of ice cream, drizzling over some amazing caramel sauce (shown below), and if desired, a pinch of sea salt--oh my! Or if you're in the mood for another fine homestyle apple dessert check out my favorite Apple Crisp or Blueberry-Apple Crumble.
 
To simply look at some beautiful pics of autumn bounty, including  apples, squash, pumpkins and corn, click here.
 









3 comments:

Binnie on September 26, 2009 at 12:46 PM said...

Nancy -

I've never considered baking apples in a microwave, but I may get brave and give it a try. Q - do you ever add raisins to the apple cavity before baking? I seem to recall that my mother's baked apples included raisins.

Binnie Syril

Nancy Baggett on September 27, 2009 at 9:41 PM said...

Yes, raisins can be added. I'd run them under hot water first, so they don't dry out during the "baking."

RW1010 on September 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM said...

These sound easy & very yummy! Can't wait to try them!

 

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