February 19, 2013

BAKED APPLES WITH HAZELNUTS, MAPLE CREAM + CREME FRAICHE


Last month I decided to say no to refined sugar for the time being, just to give my belly a break. I LOVE sweet treats and tend to go a little overboard when surrounded by tempting sugary concoctions. In years past, I've taken white sugar out of my kitchen for long stretches of times (for years, in fact) and I'm amazed at how much better I feel when I do.

Deprivation is not an option for me, so I get a lot of joy from playing with alternative sugars and whipping up natural sweets.  Honey, coconut and date sugars are always wonderful, and a jar of maple cream, recently to given to me by my awesome neighbors Rich and Caitlin, begged to be put to good use. I like to think of maple cream as nature's caramel! These baked apples, sweetened with the maple cream, satisfy my sweet-tooth while keeping my belly happy. I hope they warm your bellies too.

You can serve the apples as dessert of course, or you could eat them on top of a bowl of oatmeal for
breakfast.

INGREDIENTS
{printable recipe}
  • 6 apples: pink ladies and honey crisps are wonderful here
  • 1/2 cup crushed toasted hazelnuts (toasted pecans or walnuts are also great)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • zest of 2 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pats
  • maldon flaky sea salt 
  • for topping: maple cream, creme fraiche ( for making your own creme fraiche, try this easy recipe), heavy cream



Preheat oven to 375.

Peel the upper 5th of your apple. Use a pairing knife to cut out the core - you want to cut a wider opening at the top, tapering down to the bottom of the apple. Place cored apples onto a baking dish or cookie sheet. If one of your apples won't sit up straight, slice a tiny bit off the bottom to give it a steady base.

Stuff apples with crushed hazelnuts. In a little cup or bowl, combine maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. Scoop a spoonful or two of this tasty liquid over each hazelnut-stuffed apple. Place a pat of butter onto the top of each apple. Sprinkle on some flaky salt.

Place stuffed apples into the hot oven. Cook for 25-35 minutes until the sides of the apples have a little give when you press with your fingers. I like my baked apples pretty firm and just cooked through, not at all mushy.

While the apples are baking, scoop creme fraiche into a little pitcher. Use a fork to whisk in just enough heavy cream make the creme fraiche a pourable consistency.

Serve apples warm with a pitcher of runny creme fraiche and a ramekin of maple butter (amazing stuff!) or another pitcher of maple syrup to scoop over the baked apples.


Serves 6

64 comments:

  1. Lovely! That filling must be delicious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Rosa, it really is good. Hazelnut, citrus and maple make good companions!
    xo
    E

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  3. This looks amazing... I love the combination of Hazelnut with apple!

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  4. Thanks! I love that combo too, especially in these colder months.

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  5. These baked apples come at the perfect time for me, as we are not eating refined sugar at the moment. I can't wait to try the recipe!

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    1. Oh good! Try to get your hands on some maple cream if you can. You'll won't miss white sugar at all.
      xo
      E

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  6. I was just looking for a sugar free dessert recipe and your baked apples look seasonal and yummy. Thank you Erin!

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    1. Great Jane! Glad to be of help:)

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  7. What the heck is maple cream?! I am so excited by the idea of it, but have never heard of such a thing. It must be the stuff that is inside of certain bon bons, huh? Except yours looks a much more appetizing color. The joys of maple syrup are endless!

    Good luck keeping refined sugar out of your diet. I'll eat your share;)

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  8. OMG Emma, maple cream is heaven! I've been using a lot of maple syrup to sweeten things and the maple cream is a whole other level of decadence.
    xxoo
    E

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  9. Oh, these apples do look gorgeous! I've been trying to reduce my refined sugar too - now I just need to get my hands on this maple cream business :)

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    1. Renee, I think you'll freak if you try the maple cream. It's so darned good. I can only image all the ways to use it in baking. Yum!
      xxoo
      E

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  10. I just happened to have Pink Ladies, maple cream and hazelnuts. They are in the oven now, smelling heavenly!

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    1. So fun! I hope they were delish:)
      xxoo
      E

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  11. If I ate a dozen of these, would that mean I could keep the doctor at bay for a whole year? LOL I'd do it, too, because these look so delicious. ;)

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  12. Erin - these are beautiful! I admire you for cutting out sugar completely. On my list for sure. Just need to muster the will power. Smile. Lovely photos. Hope you enjoyed the stunning weather this weekend yet the rain today was a welcomed, since we need it. Have a great week!!!

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    1. Lisa, I always find it SO hard to give up sugar for the first week, then it gets much easier. I learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits, etc. And I'm amazed at how much more stable my energy and appetite are. Feeling good makes the whole thing worth while.
      And yes, I'm so happy that we are getting some rain. All the plants were so thirsty.
      Have a great week yourself Lisa,
      xo
      E

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  13. I decided to cut back on white sugar too. Not an easy thing to do but like you said, there are great alternatives out there. I'm proud to tell you I have been drinking coffee without sugar for 5 months now :D. At this point, I don't need it anymore. Loving these apples! XX

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    1. Good for you!
      It took me years to give up anything sweet in my coffee.. and I kicked and screamed along the way. Now I'm a true black coffee drinker too.
      xo
      E

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  14. I've been cutting right back on refined sugar too and I find it so exciting to experiment with other sugars - far from missing it, I actually find it liberating to have all these other options! These apples look like the perfect sweet treat.

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    1. The experimentation is fun isn't it? And I really enjoy how all the natural sweeteners have their own unique flavor, texture, etc..

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  15. These look absolutely delicious and lovely and sweet without resorting to refined sugar.
    What exactly is maple cream? Just cream with maple syrup? Or something more incredible that I haven't heard of?!

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    1. I had never come across maple cream before the gift from my neighbors. Maple cream is also known as maple butter. It is thick like caramel and worth seeking out. Even just to spread the maple cream on toast would be SO good.

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  16. Sumptuous apples! Everything looks so good, I keep pushing my hand at the computer screen in hopes of grasping a bite. Lovely!

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  17. That's a wonderful comfort food dessert. I might need a little ice cream. Photos are super.

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    1. Thanks Angela. It's the smell of the baking apples that really gets me... so comforting!

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  18. I looove the combination of apples with maple syrup and cinnamon and your gorgeous photographs make me crave this dessert so much, Erin.
    I too have a sweet tooth and trying to stay off sugar (refined or not) is a struggle. Sometimes I indulge myself and other times I manage to stay off it for months. Honey for me is the best substitute.
    I love mixing maple syrup in Greek strained yoghurt or whipped cream but I had no idea maple cream existed as a product. Very interesting!

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    1. Magda, it's always tough for me to give up white sugar too. I usually have to get the point where my belly is begging for a break. Somehow the natural sugars don't bother me so much, thank goodness!
      Maple syrup and greek yogurt are so good together. When I have a bite of something like that, giving up the refined sugar is not so tough:)
      xxoo
      E

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  19. Erin, I never tried baked apple but i do love the sound of it! Beautiful flavor and texture combination happening here.

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    1. Kankana, you can't believe how easy these are to make... maybe my favorite thing about baked apples!

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  20. As per the norm, gorgeous pictures and it sounds lovely! My college roommate used to tell me that baked apples deserved a special occasion, so we would always make them on New Years Eve!

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    1. Thanks Jane! Baked Apples for New Year's Eve - that's a sweet and cozy tradition. Love it. xxoo

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  21. I just can't get over those amazing colors in these pictures, absolutely love it Erin! There's something about the contrast of maple, hazelnuts and creme fraiche that just works so perfectly. Combining that with baked apples sounds even better, need to try this!

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    1. Denise, I agrees - with maple, hazelnuts and creme fraiche, we can't go wrong. Good friends for the apples;)
      xxoo

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  22. I love the idea of eating these for breakfast. I am going to make some when I get home, looks so good.

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  23. Mmmm these sound absolutely gorgeous. I love baked apples. What is maple cream? (sounds like this may be a major omission in my sweets knowledge...)

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    1. Emma, I'm not sure how I missed maple cream myself until now. See if you can find it at your local market... I imagine you of all people could use it in all sorts of amazing ways!
      xxoo

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  24. Those look amazing Erin!! Yum!

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  25. Oh my! These look wonderful. Sometimes I forget about simple desserts in the winter, and this looks like such a nice way to enjoy apples. My young daughters would have a great time making these with me. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

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    1. Elizabeth, I hadn't made baked apples in ages. You're right it's so easy to forget the simple treat!
      Love your blog, by the way:)

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  26. These look amazing! When I was younger (I seem to remember pre-boarding school days, so that must have been a hell of a lot younger than I am now!) my mother used to have a baked apple with honey and mixed dried fruit, served with a dollop on natural yogurt every evening for dessert, and I've only just remembered that - thanks for jogging my memory!

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    1. Rachel, I'm happy to jog your food memories;)

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  27. Erin, me too! I've been off refined sugar/dessert for a week, and I'm going until Easter. Chocolate is my challenge. This is a wonderful way to get some sweetness in, and you just read my mind. I've been thinking of baked apples all week!
    Hope you're well!

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    1. Marites! So nice to see you here. Yes, chocolate is hard. I try to get little healthier sweet treats when I can.
      xxoo
      E

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  28. I am so so happy to have found your blog! Trying to get healthier ... move more, eat well. I should be gluten and dairy free too. Can't wait to start trying your recipes. Is there a way to subscribe to your blog and get the feed in my google reader? I try not clog up my email with blog post notifications.
    Thanks.

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    1. Hi Janet, Welcome! I know what you mean about clogging the email in box! I think you can go into your google reader and press the red "subscribe" button and write yummysupper.com in the box. My blog should be added to your reading list.
      Take care,
      Erin

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  29. Oh, wow. Heaven. This looks and sounds just amazing!

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  30. Hi,

    We’ve recently launched the website Alldishes.co.uk. It’s a search engine that aims to gather all the best recipes from UK and Irish websites and blogs. We’ve noticed that you have a lot of great looking recipes on your blog that we would love to feature on our site. To read more about how it all works and to sign up with your blog, please visit: http://alldishes.co.uk or send us an email on info@alldishes.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!
    Kind regards,
    Senka

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    1. Senka, I'll check it out. Thanks for stopping by.

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  31. Maple cream is something I need in my life! How have I never tried this? This is a lovely dessert, and the suggestion of serving an apple on oatmeal would make for a delightful morning.

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    1. Oh yes Lisa. Maple Cream is a necessary indulgence. SOOO good.
      xo
      E

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  32. I am surrounded by apple trees Erin, so I am always on the lookout for recipes that are relatively easy. Thanks for sharing especially with your busy schedule!

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    1. Julie, lucky you to live amongst apple trees. Such beauty!
      And it's great to hear from you. Hope life is good.
      xo
      E

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  33. Oh my goodness, Erin, these sound incredible. Maple cream! Yum. I've been craving sweets a lot lately (work stress) and I think one of these would satisfy my sweet tooth for a while.

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  34. Kathryne, Sorry to hear about your work stress:( I too go for sweets when I'm feeling frayed. Somehow they are so so satisfying. The maple cream is quite a dreamy way to satisfy the craving. Wishing you luck.
    xoxo
    E

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  35. Wow! These were so delicious. I added a few raspberries to the middle of the apples and a few drops of vanilla extract in the boiling water at the bottom of the pan just as an experiment and they were really good. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

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  36. thanks for share....

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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