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TASTY TUESDAY: Baked apples

by Anne on June 7th, 2011

Here’s a a wonderful recipe for you all to try, courtesy of the Lovely Anne from Spotless.

I’m always keen on recipes that the whole family can enjoy, which can be a little more challenging with number three not yet seven months old and still pretty new to the world of solid food. But here is one treat that everyone loves, and is packed with benefits for us all, especially in the colder months. Some say that babies’ food should be plain and free of herbs and spices, and I do agree that it is important for babies to experience the true unadulterated flavours of individual foods in their simplest state. But I think it is equally important for them also to be exposed to a wide range of tastes and flavour combinations. As well as adding interest and fostering a more adventurous palate, there is so much nutritional value to be gained by eating a wide variety of foods.

This week my organic vegetable box was bursting with lovely sweet apples. Along with gobbling them straight up, we rediscovered this age-old dessert which is rich in goodness. What’s in it?

  • Molasses and raisins provide a useful source of iron and several other minerals, as well as making it marvelously sweet and gooey.
  • Cinnamon marries so well with anything sweet, which is such a happy coincidence as it has a well-documented regulatory effect on blood sugar (so is great for diabetics), as well as a range of other health benefits. Cinnamon protects against coughs and colds and other illnesses (it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory) and food spoilage, helps lower LDL cholesterol, fights cancer growth and helps relieve the pain of arthritis.
  • Cloves are another all-round healing herb with powerful anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties (they are legendary in helping with dental pain). They boost the immune system and help fight colds and coughs (they are an effective expectorant and have a warming effect) as well as being an excellent aid to the digestive system. Like cinnamon they also help protect against food spoilage.
  • And who could argue with apples being one of nature’s great gifts, bursting with goodness and irresistible flavour? (Interestingly, in fact most wild apples are inedibly bitter – our cultivation of just two parent apples to produce 90% of all the apples we now consume has wreaked havoc in the apple gene pool…but that is another story.)

So, here is how to make them. For each person, you will need:

  • An eating apple
  • A few raisins or sultanas
  • A teaspoon of crude blackstrap molasses (the flavour is very strong so don’t use more than this)
  • A small pinch of ground cinnamon
  • A small pinch of ground cloves, or one whole clove
  • Enough water to cover the bottom of an ovenproof container

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F / Gas Mark 5. Then:

  • Core the apples and place them in the ovenproof container. (I like to cut off the bottom piece of the core and use it as a plug to keep the stuffing in.)

  • In a bowl, mix together the raisins (or sultanas), molasses and spices.
  • Fill the hole in the middle of each apple with the mixture.
  • Surround the apples with a little water.
  • Bake until the apples are really soft, about 40 minutes.

  • For a baby, scoop out the flesh of the apple together with the raisin mixture and puree or mush with a fork to your desired consistency, removing the clove if whole.