These are not your mother’s baked apples. Or at least, they are not my mother’s baked apples.
The apples my mom popped into the oven on cold winter nights were sweetened with brown sugar and a jumbo marshmallow on top. That marshmallow was to the apple what a cherry is to a hot fudge sundae: divine.
The baked apples of my past were a solid dinner win. The baked apples of my present are a sure way to impress dinner companions.
These remind of a baked version of the bright-red, shiny, candy-coated apples that sit behind the glass windows of vendors at the fair. I loved those apples, but what a sticky mess.
While they may look fancy, this recipe is not at all difficult. Simply prepare a spiced sugar syrup with dried hibiscus petals, orange rounds, and plenty of warm spices. Pour it over the apples, bake, and serve with pound cake and ice cream. Enjoy!
Baked Apples with Hibiscus Petals
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dried hibiscus petals
1 blood orange, cut into thin rounds
1 whole star anise
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups water
2 ounces butter
vanilla ice cream, for serving
pound cake, for serving
3 tablespoons crushed sugared almonds, for garnish
fresh mint, for garnish
- Place the sugar, dried hibiscus petals, orange rounds, clove, star anise, and nutmeg in a saucepan and cover with the water.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over low heat for 40 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While this mixture infuses, core the apples. Leave the skins intact but score them lightly around the middle to prevent bursting.
- Lightly butter the bottom an 8x8 baking dish and place the apples in the dish.
- Distribute the remaining butter in the cavities of the apples, then ladle the entire hibiscus syrup over the apples and into the baking dish.
- Bake the apples at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until tender. Baste the apples regularly with the sugar hibiscus mixture in the baking dish.
- To serve, place a slice of pound cake in the bottom of a bowl and place a baked apple on top. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with sugared almonds and mint as desired.
I substituted a navel orange for a blood orange.