Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples

We’re not making baked apples nearly as often as we should. I know this. For fact. It’s just not a go-to dessert and I’d like to change that. First, because it is next-level deliciousness. Second, because it’s one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make.

I’m proposing these as a sweet treat to get us through until Thanksgiving (because we need something toasty in the evenings that smells of the season)…or maybe an easier + healthier Thanksgiving dessert…or maybe just cause we feel like it. Works for me.

Let me paint a scene for you… You’re tired. You just got home from work. You pour yourself a glass of wine and change into your pajamas. Don’t forget your slippers. I love slippers. Then you order pizza because you just can’t be bothered with dinner. I don’t blame you. But you know you want (NEED!) something sweet too… In five minutes you throw together the streusel filling…another five minutes to cut the apples. They sit there poised and at the ready while the oven preheats and you wait for the pizza guy to arrive. Nail file in hand, you wait. Yawn. Stretch. Another sip of wine. A quick shove in the oven while you scarf a slice and fill up your glass. You start to relax. As the apples bake they magically fill your home with spices and cranberries and smells that only butter and sugar can create. It’s like your own little autumn fairy tale.

Depending on your mood, you eat them just as they are…sitting there in all their spiced apple glory. Or maybe you smother them in ice cream and spoonfuls of caramel sauce like any self-respecting broad that put in a solid day’s work. Or maybe you’re feeling pre-holiday pious (don’t get judge-y on me) and you glob on some Greek yogurt and drizzle with honey. Respect. Please come school me on restraint. I’ll be eating my third baked apple while I await your arrival…

Perhaps this particular night is a Wednesday and everyone is now happy. Well fed. Content. You light a fire and watch a movie covered in blankets. Go ahead and turn on a holiday movie. You know you want to…and no…it’s not too early.

Before We Get Started:

  • Apples. Try to get apples that are about the same size and frankly, bigger is better. That way you can get more streusel filling in there. Never a bad thing. I note that this makes 4 to 6 baked apples because if you have smaller apples you’ll have enough filling for six; if the apples are bigger, then four. I liked my Granny Smith apples the best for baked apples. I think they retain their structure and color better than a Honey Crisp or Gala. But follow your preference and gut and whatever you have available.
  • Cutting Your Apples. Cut the tops off of the apples. Using a knife, melon baller or spoon, scrap out the core of the apple…make sure you get all of the seeds out, but also leave a nice border of apple meat on the sides and the bottom of the apple.
  • Bake Time. I like my apples to remain a bit firm, so I only bake them about 25ish minutes. However, if you want them to yield to your spoon, go for 45 minutes. If you choose this latter time, just note that they won’t look as pretty when they are done. The apple skin will start to pull away from the apple and look saggy and wrinkled. Similar to how I feel after a night out.
  • Nuts. Use pecans, walnuts, almonds or none at all. Your call. You could add dried cherries in their place? Just a thought…
  • The Top Third of Your Oven. It’s a place I like to be. I bake my scones up there…cookies…and now my baked apples. Here’s why…I like a crunchy streusel situation. If you put the apples up towards the top of the oven, you’re more likely to accomplish this, in a shorter amount of time and thus sparing yourself mushy, over-baked apples. BUT. Yes, there’s a but. This works perfect in my oven. I don’t know how your oven works. Your oven may run hotter than my oven…so the first time or so that you follow my ‘top third of the oven’ directive, keep an eye on things to make sure our ovens are in sync. Trust your instinct…if your oven runs hot, then move the rack down a notch.

Let’s bake some apples!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | cinnamon, tangerine zest, oatmeal, brown sugar, cranberries + pecans. Ready in under an hour! The perfect dessert. YUM!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | cinnamon, tangerine zest, oatmeal, brown sugar, cranberries + pecans. Ready in under an hour! The perfect dessert. YUM!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | cinnamon, tangerine zest, oatmeal, brown sugar, cranberries + pecans. Ready in under an hour! The perfect dessert. YUM!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | cinnamon, tangerine zest, oatmeal, brown sugar, cranberries + pecans. Ready in under an hour! The perfect dessert. YUM!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | cinnamon, tangerine zest, oatmeal, brown sugar, cranberries + pecans. Ready in under an hour! The perfect dessert. YUM!

Cranberry Pecan Baked Apples

Makes 4 to 6 Baked Apples

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal (old fashion, rolled oats)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped up
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cranberries*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 orange/tangerine zested + juiced (zest and juice separated)
  • 4-6 apples (Granny Smith, Gala, Honey Crisp)

Optional Toppings: vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche…I topped them with Greek yogurt, more chopped pecans and a drizzle of honey…tasty. 

*I have not test this with frozen cranberries but I think they would work fine. 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Put a rack in the top third of your oven. Put two tablespoons of water in the bottom of either a cast-iron skillet or casserole dish that will hold your apples.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oatmeal, butter, chopped cranberries, pecans, cinnamon and orange/tangerine zest. Use your hands and get in there and mesh everything together. Squish the mixture between your fingers until it starts clumping together. You don’t want any big butter chunks.
  3. Cut the tops off of your apples and then core them as noted above. Set them in the skillet (or your oven-proof dish of choice) and drizzle the cored apples with the orange/tangerine juice. Evenly distribute the oatmeal mixture into the core of each apple. I like to mound it up a bit.
  4. Set the skillet on the top rack of your preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes for a firmer apple and up to 45 minutes for a super soft apple. I prefer 25 minutes…but it’s all about preference.
  5. Eat them warm and topped with whatever you want or nothing at all. SO GOOD!
  6. Please tag me #displacedhousewife @displacedhousewife so that I can see your beautiful baked apples!!
On My Mind

–Rebecca xo

 

11 Comments

  • Dawn @ Girl Heart Food 2016/11/08 at 4:21 PM

    No lie – I love that story and I was totally picturing myself as you were telling it :D And you know what the first thing I thought when I saw that beautiful first pic of the apple? Christmas. For reals. It just looks so holiday-like to me. I could certainly go for a healthy-ish dessert right now. Love it!

    Reply
  • Laura | Tutti Dolci 2016/11/08 at 5:02 AM

    You had me at autumn fairy tale. Now all I want is a baked apple.. with that salted caramel drizzle you mentioned ;).

    Reply
  • traci | Vanilla And Bean 2016/11/07 at 3:09 PM

    I voted last month – put it behind me. WA is one of three states where everyone can vote by mail. I love it because it gives me time to set with it, read the voters guide (and dig deeper when needed), and sip coffee (or whine). I love taking it at my own pace! My Ma used to make the most luscious baked apples.. I grew up on them. These completely remind me of them. They are gorgeous and I love the hint of orange you’ve included! Delicious work my dear! xo

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/11/07 at 4:27 PM

      Traci — I get an absentee ballot…even though I’ll turn it in on election day…and I do it for the same reason. I want to sit and think and research as well. Thank you so much for the love!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Cathy | whatshouldimakefor.com 2016/11/07 at 3:00 PM

    i think you just outlined the perfect night. wouldn’t change a thing. especially the slippers. i can’t live without mine, the fuzzier the better! my mom used to make baked apples all the time growing up and yet, i almost never do. thanks for the reminder that i am indeed missing these from my life. i can smell them baking right now!!

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/11/07 at 4:30 PM

      Cathy — I can’t wait to go read your post and drool over that turkey!!! I saw it quickly on Instagram this morning…you can bet when I have a second to breathe this evening, that’s at the top of my list!!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • DisplacedHousewife 2016/11/06 at 9:21 PM

    Karen — ah ha haaa…I like that edit of the story!! xox

    Reply
  • Karen @ Seasonal Cravings 2016/11/06 at 8:56 PM

    You painted the perfect weeknight picture for me – except I will add that my kids are all out and I am home alone in my slippers drinking wine and eating this gorgeous deliciousness! Looks so good!

    Reply
  • DisplacedHousewife 2016/11/06 at 7:15 PM

    Thank you Mary Ann!!! The smells are delicious!! xoxo

    Reply
  • Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen 2016/11/06 at 6:31 PM

    Wow Rebecca, these look so delicious! Absolutely mandatory on the dessert menu during the fall/winter seasons! I can just smell them cooking now! Hope you have a wonderful week! XO

    Reply

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