Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
Fall means apples. Go into the stores now, and you will find a good variety of delicious apples to choose from. Baked apples are one of the easiest, tastiest, gluten-free treats to make during the holidays. I prefer Granny Smiths or Pippins, as their tartness combines well with the sweetness of the filling, and they hold their shape well. But, I've had success with Golden Delicious and Jonathans. I recommend serving these delicious treats with a big helping of vanilla ice cream. Make as many apples as you have people to serve. Scale stuffing accordingly.
4 large tart baking apples, such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pippin, Jonathan, Jona-Gold, or Rome Beauty
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans, and/or almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
¼ cup currants or chopped raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 lemon, cut into four wedges
¾ cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Wash apples. Remove cores to ½ inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corer, but if not, you can use a paring knife to first cut out the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about ¾-inch to an inch wide.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture.
As evenly as possible, drizzle vanilla in equal parts onto the stuffing mixture. Squeeze juice from one lemon wedge over the mixture, and top off with ¼ tablespoon of butter.
Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but firm. Do not overcook, as this will yield mushy apples. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.