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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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A healthy and delicious Christmas dessert

During the weeks preceding Christmas a baked apple makes a healthy and delicious alternative to gingerbread, stollen and Christmas biscuits. This hot fruit dessert can be prepared in the oven, but it can also be cooked easily and quickly in the microwave. The most suitable apples for this winter treat include firm, tart varieties like red Boskoop, Cox’s Orange Pippin or Gravensteiner. In former times the apple was simply washed and baked in the oven until the skin burst, then sprinkled with a little sugar and cinnamon. Nowadays the core is removed with a pointed knife or an apple corer.

The filling can be varied according to
individual taste

You can fill the hole in the middle with different ingredients according to taste: for example toasted flaked almonds, hazelnuts, raisins, currants, muesli and a little honey. Marzipan and nougat, plum jam with cinnamon, a shot of rum and Christmas spices like cinnamon and cloves can be used to flavour the apple. A few flakes of butter will prevent the apple from becoming too dry. For a “baked apple with cheesecake filling” the centre hole is filled with quark, egg yolk, vanilla sugar and dried cranberries. Diced ham and onions or Camembert with bacon strips are savoury fillings which make an interesting alternative and win over fans with the combination of sweet and savoury flavours.

Preparing baked apples in the oven and
the microwave

Place the stuffed apples in a fireproof dish and bake in the oven at 160 °C for about 30‒40 minutes. The apple is cooked when the skin bursts. If you are short of time, you can also cook baked apples in the microwave: Depending on size, one to two apples in a dish should be warmed for three to five minutes at 600 watts. Leave them to stand for two minutes before serving. Served hot, they taste delicious combined with vanilla sauce or zabaglione sauce, a small portion of vanilla ice-cream or roast chestnuts.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de