These stuffed apples come together in minutes and bake while you enjoy dinner. When you caramelize the sugar, don't stir or move the pan until the sugar begins to color. Cook until the mixture becomes a deep amber color. The caramel mixture will splatter when you add the cider; because of this, use a long-handled wooden spoon for stirring.
Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2004
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare filling, place almonds in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine ground almonds, sugar, and next 5 ingredients (through egg white), stirring until well combined.
To prepare apples, core, remove seeds, and carefully scoop out 1 tablespoon from each apple half to form a cup. Cut a thin slice off the rounded side of each apple half to make a flat surface; place apples cup-side up on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle generously over apples. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling in cup of each apple half. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until apples are golden and tender.
To prepare sauce, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat (do not stir) until mixture begins to brown; gently tilt pan and swirl to evenly brown mixture. Reduce heat to low; slowly add cider, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Serve over apples.
Wine note: Since this dessert is not supersweet, it's perfect for wine pairing. Very sweet desserts are harder to pair because they can make wine taste dull or neutral. A terrific choice is Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise from Jaboulet, France. The 2001 is about $16 for a 375-milliliter half-bottle. Just a small glass of this wonderfully opulent wine will make the baked apples taste like a three-star dessert course. -Karen McNeil
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