A quick dessert that pleases everyone in the family. If you’re feeding kids, use all cider instead of the brandy; for others, bourbon, Calvados, even rum will work well. Whisking creme fraiche into the baking juices gives the sauce body, tang, and a slight hint of richness. You can also pour in heavy cream at the end.
6apples (Mutsu, Cortland, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty), cored2tablespoons dried cranberries2tablespoons chopped pecans3tablespoons brown sugar2tablespoons butter, meltedPinch of nutmeg½teaspoon cinnamon¼cup brandy¼cup apple cider2tablespoons maple syrup¼cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
2. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each apple to ensure that they sit flat. Place them in the baking dish. With a paring knife, prick a few steam holes in the top of each apple.
3. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, pecans, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fill the centers of the apples with the cranberry mixture. Pile any extra filing on top.
4. In the small bowl, whisk together brandy, apple cider, and maple syrup. Pour the liquid over the top of the apples.
5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender, basting every 10 minutes.
6. Drain off the cooking liquid, and whisk in creme fraiche. Pour over the top of the apples. Karoline Boehm Goodnick