Cooked Apples

Dessert is apples baked in the fireplace and covered with a not-so-secret sauce: melted vanilla ice cream, which Orr calls “the easiest sauce you’ll ever make.” Photo by Daniel Orr

Old-Fashioned Baked Apples with Sweet Season Spices
Chef Daniel Orr

6 servings

6 large (7 to 10 ounces each) baking apples (such as Braeburn, Empire, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, or Rome)
1/2 c apple juice
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c breadcrumbs
6 T packed light brown sugar
3 T maple syrup
1 1/2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp Kitchen d’Orr Sweet Season Spice Blend (see below) or cinnamon

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.

2) Using an apple corer or a small, sharp paring knife, core the apples. (The center cavity should be no more than 1 inch in diameter.) If necessary, trim a thin slice from the bottom of each apple so it stands upright.

3) Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, peel away a 1-inch ring of skin from around the top of each apple. Using the tip of a paring knife, make four small slashes about 1/2 inch deep around the equator of each apple. (These steps aid the release of steam, which helps the apples remain intact rather than collapsing.)

4) Place the apples in a large baking dish.

5) In a bowl, combine the juice, lemon juice, and vanilla and pour the mixture around the apples. In the same bowl as you used for the juice mixture, combine the raisins, oats, breadcrumbs, sugar, maple syrup, butter and spices. Divide the mixture evenly among the apples, spooning it into the cavity.

6) Bake the apples, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until they are tender when pricked with the tines of a fork, 45-65 minutes, depending on the size and variety of apple. If they begin to darken, cover with foil and continue to bake until tender. Set the apples aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. (May cover and refrigerate for up to several days and reheat until warm, but not hot, before serving.)

7) To serve, spoon the apples into individual bowls and spoon the warm juices over and around the apples. If you wish, cover with vanilla ice cream before serving.


Kitchen d’Orr Sweet Season Spice Blend
Also available at FARMbloomington.

1 tsp ginger powder
1 stick cinnamon (1/2 inch wide)
1/2 tsp annatto seeds
1/2 tsp pomegranate powder
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 pieces star anise
2 pieces cloves
1 piece mace
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 bay leaves

1) Grind all ingredients until fine in a spice blender.

2) Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.


Click here to read A Hoosier Holiday Feast.