Meet Hasselback apples, the most impressive dessert you have to bake this fall. Crisps, crumbles, pies, and baked apples are all fine, but this is the one that really stands out in a crowd.
Firm, sweet apples open like a fan, allowing the sweet cinnamon and brown sugar streusel to sink between each slice. Why not go all out and top this holiday-ready treat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?
Like a Baked Apple — but Even More Impressive
If you love baked apples, or any dessert that involves cooked apples for that matter, then Hasselback apples should be on your must-make list. They work just as well for a weeknight treat as they do for a dinner party dessert.
Choose Large, Firm Apples
The apple is the star of the plate, and the key to making it shine is selecting the right variety.
When it comes to baking apples — especially with this dessert, where structure is so important — not every variety will work. Hasselback apples work best with very firm apple varieties, like Honey Crisp and Pink Lady. These apples are sturdy enough to hold their shape during baking, whereas other varieties — such as Cortland or McIntosh — will cook down too much during baking, leaving the thin apple slices to disintegrate and fall flat.
A note on size: The larger, the better. It's one more way to make this dessert even more impressive.
Read More: The Best Apples for Baking
Cut Thin Slits in the Apple, but Not Too Thin
What makes this dessert really stand out are the slices over the top of the apple that cause it to fan out after baking.
For the best results, cut slices about 1/4-inch apart. Even very firm apples will cook down a little bit during baking, and when the slices are too thin, they begin to melt into each other, leaving the apple more droopy than fan-like.
How To Make Hasselback Apples
Makes 2 apples
What You Need
2 large, firm apples, like Honey Crisp or Pink Lady
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon rolled oats
Ice cream, for serving (optional)
Small saucepan (optional)
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter: In a small saucepan (or in a small bowl over low heat in the microwave) melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Once cooled add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
Peel the apples to remove all the skin.
- Slice the apples in half from top to bottom.
Core the apples: Use a melon baller or spoon to remove the apple cores.
Cut slices in the apples, leaving the bottom intact: Place the apples cut-side down on a cutting board. Cut slices into the apple, 1/4-inch apart, stopping just before you cut through the bottom. (This keeps the slices connected at the bottom of the apple.)
Brush the apples with melted butter and sugar: Stir together the butter mixture. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter mixture over top of the apples and into the slices.
Bake the apples: Spray a thin layer of cooking spray over the inside of a baking dish. Place the apples in the baking dish, flat-side down. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil, and bake for 20 minutes.
Prepare the streusel: Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into cubes. Add it to a bowl, along with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, flour, oats, and a pinch of salt. Use your fingers or a fork to blend the ingredients together.
Top the apples with streusel: After the apples have finished baking, remove the baking dish from the oven. Use a fork to carefully spread the streusel over top of the apples. Work the streusel between the slices as well.
Increase the oven temperature and continue baking: Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Place the baking dish back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more.
Cool the apples: Remove the baking dish from the oven. Cool the apples for about 5 minutes before serving.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)