Apple Pie Baked Apples Are Your Excuse to Do Less This Holiday Season
Apple pie just might be my favorite dessert of all time — especially during the holiday season. I don’t care if it’s Dutch, French, latticed, topped with crumble, or even served as mini turnovers — I’m a sucker for cinnamon-spiced tender apples nestled in a flaky crust. That said, it can be a real labor of love that I just don’t have time for. Enter: apple pie stuffed apples.
I’m always looking for fun, fresh new spins on classic recipes to debut at Thanksgiving. These apples have been a constant on my social media feeds as a fuss-free seasonal dessert option that doesn’t skip out on the quintessential aspects we all love, so I jumped at the opportunity to take my bounty of apples on a new cinnamon-sugar journey. Here’s how it went.
How to Make Apple Pie Stuffed Apples
For this review, I consulted many recipes, but the process I describe below is pretty in line with the version on Sally’s Baking Recipes. You will need about one pie crust for four apples. Roll the dough (homemade or store-bought!) into a 10-inch circle, then cut into quarters like a pizza and slice these quarters into 14-inch strips. Lay these on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back into the fridge while you prep the rest.
Slice a thin top off of each of your four plump apples, then use a melon-baller or spoon to scoop out the innards, leaving about 1/8-inch thickness along the walls of the apple. Toss out the seeds, then chop up the remaining apple meat and place in a small pot. Place the cored apples in an 8- or 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
Dice another whole apple into small cubes, then transfer to the pot with chopped apples. Combine with granulated sugar, warm spices of your choosing (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, etc.), and a cornstarch slurry (or flour). Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the mixture is thickened. Divide between the cored apples. If you have extra filling, enjoy it as a seasonal ice cream topping. Let cool slightly to make handling the apples easier.
Almost there! Lay three to four strips of pie dough over one of the apples, then alternate weaving strips in the alternate direction for a lattice-style top. Use kitchen shears or a paring knife to trim off extra dough. Repeat with the remaining apples and pie dough strips, then brush egg wash over the dough and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (this is optional, but I love the aesthetic it adds). Bake the apples in a 375°F oven until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes (mine took about 30 minutes). Serve warm topped with salted caramel, whipped cream, or ice cream.
Get the recipe: Apple Pie Baked Apples
My Honest Review of Apple Pie Stuffed Apples
It’s hard to beat a classic, but this has me rethinking everything. Not only are these apples absolutely adorable, but they also cut down on the work, time, and storage space a regular apple pie would take. No need to worry about crimping or par-baking or the potential soggy bottom of a full-on pie. I love the idea of using produce as the vessel for the rest of the dish — it makes for a stunning centerpiece that looks so much more impressive than it was to make.
There are a lot of ways to cut corners in this recipe, from store-bought crust to canned apple pie filing. If you’re a streusel topping fan, you can simply swap the pie dough for your favorite topping. They might not be as simple as a mug cake (or pie), but they’re not that far off and so much more delightful.
If You’re Going to Make Apple Pie Baked Apples, a Few Tips
- Make the filling after you’ve scooped out your apples. Most recipes will instruct you to do the opposite, but I suggest coring your chosen apple babies first so you can use those scraps to bulk up the filling (no wasted apples here!). You can rub lemon on the cored apples to slow browning, but these are getting filled and baked in the end, so don’t worry about that.
- Be picky with your apples. You can use a variety of apples, depending on personal preference, but make sure to look for fat, round apples as your vessels. These will be easiest to core and stand up on their own when baking and plating.
- Arm yourself with a melon baller. You can use a spoon to core the apples, but it’ll be much easier if you have a melon baller. It took me no more than five minutes to core four apples with my trusted baller.
- Do what’s easiest for you. Whether that’s going for store-bought crust or making the filling ahead of time, this should be as fuss-free as possible for you.
- Don’t forget the toppings. As tasty as these are on their own, apple pie isn’t complete without that little extra something. Salted caramel offers a nice table-side pouring moment, but there’s nothing more classic than a scoop of vanilla ice cream.