Ah, the week of the blizzard, otherwise known as the week when all food needed to be WARM. The week I look at overnight oatmeal and wrinkle my nose (this never happens, so you know it’s a big deal). The week all – literally 100% – of the water I drink comes from hot tea. The week I look at an innocuous little apple sitting on my counter and say: you! You, sir, are going in the oven. He never knew what hit him.
There’s something so comforting about warm, hearty food in the winter, isn’t there? While I absolutely adore the bursting fruit oatmeal pictures I scroll through on Instagram, raw fruit is not what I crave in the winter. Baked apples are like the best of both worlds (plus some goodness from a few other universes): you get all of that delicious apple goodness but it’s soft and it’s gooey and it’s sweet and every bite comes laden with buttery, oaty crumble.
While this recipe would be amazing with a classic apple/oat crumble flavor profile, the addition of lemon and ginger truly take it to the next level. Citrus always feels like a gift to get us through winter: it brightens everything it touches, and on the gloomiest days where I feel like I haven’t seen fresh, seasonal produce in ages, citrus is always right there with it’s yellows and it’s oranges and it’s sweetly acidic flavor that boosts the flavor of 99% of desserts. The ginger adds a lightly spiced zing, a bit of excitement for your tongue (in case the four feet of snow dumped on us over 24 hours wasn’t enough excitement for ya 🙂 )
I make these in batches and store them in the fridge until I’m ready to eat them. While I’ve been warming them up for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven before eating them (see: whole above rant), they’re equally good cold. I love them for dessert with a bit of vanilla ice cream (Coconut Bliss makes my favorite); they’re also delicious for breakfast either on their own or with a bit of yogurt.
- 4 apples, cored but with the bottoms intact (I use a paring knife, but a melon baller would be ideal)
- 1 cup oats (gluten free, if necessary)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup almond meal
- 5 tbsp grass fed butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon (try to get organic, since you’re using the skin)
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together all ingredients except for apples until well combined. Fill each apple with oat mixture, pressing it down firmly so the apple is really stuffed. Let mixture rise a bit above apple top, about one inch. Fill a small baking dish with just enough water to cover the bottom, then place apples inside. Cover loosely with foil (make a sort of dome shape) and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 20 – 30 minutes, or until crisp topping is lightly browned and apple is soft to the touch. Serves 4.