Today is National Apple Day (there seems to be a day for everything!) and whilst I don’t follow the culinary calendar that closely, this is one anniversary that I am happy to celebrate. I eat an apple virtually every day and marvel at how they have a sweetness, crunchiness and satiety value that little else comes close to.
I don’t often leave the house without one in my bag and half-time at sports matches sees me delving into my bag for that treat when others are grabbing cookies, chips, chocolate, candy, hot dogs and burgers – and I never feel deprived! For that reason alone I mix and match my apple choice frequently and marvel at how many varieties there are and the complexities of their flavours, keeping qualities and end use.
I have favourites for baking, serving with cheese, making into purees and sauces and simply crunching plain and simple from the fruit bowl.
This is a great time of year to try out new varieties as they are being harvested – those that don’t keep so well are at their best and stores and farmer’s markets have some very good deals of mixed bags too. I encourage you to try some of the more unusual ones so that they don’t disappear from the commercial orchards for good.
One of my most favourite ways to serve apples is baked. This must have been one of the first recipes I made at school way back when and it has served me well over the years. In the past, pre-surgery, I would have stuffed the apples with butter, sugar, dried and candied fruits and even added a slug of cider or Calvados to the mix. Then I would serve with rich ice cream or whipped sweetened cream. These days I am a little more in check and bake my apples as you’ll see in the recipe below.
There’s no hardship, the apples are still fluffy and tender when cooked; have a sweetened filling that I can tolerate; and still taste great with thick plain yogurt, low-fat ice cream or a reduced fat and sugar custard accompaniment.
When time is short I do cook these in the microwave – they work well enough and can be on the table in under 15 minutes. What’s not to like when the price is also brilliant too?
BARIATRIC BAKED APPLES
4 medium baking or dessert apples
8 teaspoons mixed dried fruit
1 tbsp reduced sugar orange marmalade or preserve of your choice
4 tbsp no added sugar apple juice
low-fat ice cream, thick Greek yogurt or reduced fat and sugar custard to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4.
- Wash and core the apples and score a cut around the circumference (or waist) of each to prevent bursting during cooking. Alternatively, slice a ‘hat’ off the top of the apples then core and replace the hat slices after stuffing for cooking later. Place in a baking dish.
- Mix the dried fruit with the marmalade or preserve and use to stuff the centres of the apples.
- Pour over the apple juice then bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes until tender – test by piercing with a skewer. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with low-fat ice cream, yogurt or custard.
MICROWAVE METHOD: Prepare as above and place in a microwave proof dish. Cook on FULL POWER (100%) for 9-10 minutes until tender – test by piercing with a skewer. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving as above.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION (APPLES ONLY): 110