Without a doubt, I got the ‘Extreme Hostess’ gene from my traditional Chinese mom. When we host big family dinners, she would make enough food so that EVERYONE has enough to eat for the rest of the week. During Thanksgiving long weekend, I attended 3 dinners and for each one I made at least 2 dishes. The most difficult dish I made was actually a cheesy (Gruyere+Parmesan+Strong Cheddar) herb potato gratin. A gratin is usually easy to make but the manpower behind it exhausted me….imagine washing, peeling, thin slicing 8 to 10 lbs of potatoes. For the longest time, I refused to buy a mandolin because I wanted to be old school aka using a cleaver…think I want to finally invest in one.
For my family dinner, I made baked apples for dessert. It still has that Thanksgiving theme to it and it was not too heavy to enjoy after the coma inducing turkey meal.
Ingredients (makes 8)
- About 1/2 cup of chopped dried cranberries or raisins
- About 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts (can try with pistachios, almonds, walnuts and/or pecans)
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
- 8 apples such as pink lady, gala, empire, winesap, liberty
- 4 tbsp of unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1) Heat oven to 375° F. Remove and discard the cores from the apples (use a melon baller or a small spoon to core them). Place the apples in a medium sized ovenproof dish (big enough to fit all of the apples).
2) In a saucepan, combine the apple juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and let it cool.
3) Combine the nuts, sugar, and butter. Divide the mixture among the apples.
4) Put the apples in an ovenproof dish. Divide the nut stuffing between the apples, top it with a small piece of the butter and cover them with their tops.
5) Bake for about 1 hour or until the flesh is tender, regularly drizzling with the cooking juice.
6) Best served with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt
That’s it and enjoy!