I love baked apples. They taste like those chilly nights of fall. Like the rustle of those wet leaves on your way home from school. Like the smell of the hoarfrost on an early October morning. They taste like childhood. Baked apples are exquisite in their own simplicity, they are the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I can’t imagine an easier dessert, maybe some Nutella spread on a slice of bread (if Nutella even qualifies as a desert).
I woke up this morning with baked apples on my mind, so I took some local sweet and sour apples, I carved them using a melon baller (this step could be easily made using a vegetable knife) and I stuffed them with a date, oatmeal and brown sugar mixture, flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. I dressed them up with a tiny piece of coconut oil (butter would have worked just fine) and I baked them for about half an hour. The result was a stunning vegan dessert, extremely flavorful and so tasty!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 4 large apples (Honeycrisp and Granny Smith work just fine)
- ½ cup rolled oats – about 70g
- 10 pitted dates – about 50g
- 2-3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4-6 Tbsp water
- Preheat the oven at 190°C / 375°F (gas mark 5).
- Finely chop the dates (picture).
- In a bowl combine the oats with the chopped dates, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
- Prepare the apples. Using a melon baller or a sharp vegetable knife cut out the stem and the core, leaving a 3cm thick bottom (this will keep the stuffing in the cavity of the apple during baking).
- Stuff each apple with about 6 tsp of stuffing, making sure you lightly press the stuffing after the first 3 tsp.
- Take a small ceramic tray and cover the bottom with 4-6 Tbsp of water. Place the apples in the tray and top them with a ¼ Tbsp of coconut oil each. Bake them in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the type and on the size of the apple). They are ready when they are tender but not mushy and the oatmeal on top is golden.
- Serve them warm with the juices from the tray drizzled on top.