Baked Apples Recipe - Shrunken Heads and Faces for Halloween
I adore Halloween - I always have. I even ended up with my own little witch - my daughter was born on October 31. As a result, Halloween has been something of a major celebration for us for several years now.
One of my favorite things to do it the "pre-Trick or Treat" party for the children. Now I have no trouble whatsoever letting them indulge their greedy little hearts out with the candy they'll be collecting - it only happens at Halloween and Easter, and I'd really rather go ahead and let them get it over with. I do however insist that they do have a decent meal before the sugar-orgy starts. And in order to not be the party pooper making them eat a decent meal, I've come up with lots of recipes to make it far more fun to stay in the Fright Night Theme.
This is one of my all time favorites. Baked Apples are a kid friendly dish anyway, and the only trick to these is how you cut the faces before the apples are baked off. If you cut the features too large, they'll 'squish' and not be really recognizable. If you make them too small, they won't soften enough to really look funky. So go for a medium set of features on each face, and they'll end up sweetly creepy.
- 6 medium Granny Smith apples
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 Tbl chopped raisins
- 2 Tbl chopped dried cherries
- 2 Tbl dried apples, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes, divided
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- zest from one lemon, with remaining lemon halved and reserved
- 3 tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare the filling by combining the walnuts, raisins, cherries, apples and 2 Tbl of the coconut in a large bowl. Toss together to combine and set aside.
- Trim the apples by removing the stem, and with a melon baller or teaspoon, remove the core from the apples. You're looking to preserve as much of the flesh as possible, but leaving a nice hollow inside for the filling. As you core each apple, cut a 'jack o'lantern' type face on the front. As each apple is done, rub it with the lemon to prevent oxidation and keep the apple from turning brown.
- If your apples don't want to stand up, trim a bit from the bottom to create a flat surface. Also, to help the apple 'slump' nicely and make a great face without the skin bursting, you can score the side away from the face. Place apples in a 9x13 baking dish.
- Evenly divide the filling among the apples. Drizzle each apple with the maple syrup, dividing evenly, and top with 1 1/2 tsp of the butter.
- Bake at 350F for approximately 45-50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast remaining coconut until golden brown. Be careful - the sweetened coconut can burn quickly, so don't walk away and stir it constantly.
- You're looking for the apples to begin to slump. The tip of a paring knife inserted will meet with very little resistence, or resistence only in the center. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Top each apple with a good pinch of the toasted coconut for 'hair'. Spoon the syrupy stuff from the bottom of the casserole evenly over each apple. Serve hot or warm.
- The Thrillbilly Gourmet
Combining classic technique with everyday food for spectacular results!