According to Bon Appetit, the 6 best apples to use for baked apples are Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Mutsu, Winesap, and Pink Lady. Our personal favorite for both sweet and savory recipes is the Honeycrisp, as its name implies it has a texture that lends itself well to baking, and to the many other uses you might use a baked apple for if you have leftovers. The Honeycrisp has an exceptionally sweet and juicy texture with a complex sweet-tart flavor along with its signature crispness.
Honeycrisps are also a popular variety in many of the Hudson Valley Apple Orchards. While it might be a bit late in the season for apple picking (it’s something to keep in mind for next year when you visit), there are late-season farmers markets and many local markets as well as farms still offering many of the delicious varieties that the Hudson Valley has to offer.
One of the things we love about baked apples is you can bake them by themselves with just a few additions or you can stuff them with sweet or savory fillings, use them for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or as an appetizer, side dish, main dish or dessert.
If you have never made a baked apple before and more specifically a baked stuffed apple, check out this article from Epicurious: How to Make Baked Apples (and Why You Should)
Their article suggests that Gala and Fuji apples are the best for baking but I’ve found it also depends on the length of time you bake an apple, what liquid you use to bake it in and a key difference I’ve found is the temperature you bake the apples in. A lower heat (325-350) tends to make most apples much softer vs a higher high roasting period (375-400+) which helps keep the apple firm.
If you are baking an apple, just the apple itself, hollowing the seeds out, and then roasting it with about an inch of liquid in it works very well. You can then stuff the apple afterward (if you choose to) and reheat it by itself or reheat and add some flavored whipped cream or iced cream to it with a drizzle of caramel or melted chocolate.
Here are two of our favorite baked stuffed apple recipe fillings. One sweet, one savory.
Bake the apples off in advance for both.
For the sweet recipe, the roasted apples can be sliced up and used in an apple galette, giving the galette an extra nutty flavor from the already roasted fruit for the savory recipe you can puree them up with a variety of additions and make a chilled or hot soup out of them.
Roasted Apple Galette
While traditional Apple Galette is made with pie dough, a nice easy substitution is to use puff pastry
-1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough (thaw just until it’s moldable)
-4 baked Hudson Valley Honeycrisp apples
-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
-½ teaspoon powdered ginger
-½ teaspoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon Hudson Valley honey
-1 tablespoon salted butter (cut into small pieces)
-Slice your baked apples crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the larger center slices and coarsely chop the end slices to about 1-inch pieces, about half of the slices should be chopped. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon.
-Preheat the oven to 400°. On a flat baking pan, spray lightly with vegetable oil and spread the puff pastry out.
-Spread the chopped apples over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Drizzle the honey over the chopped apples.
-Arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. -Sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger sugar mix evenly over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter. Fold the puff pastry edges up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.
-Bake the galette for about 20-25 minutes, until the puff pastry is nicely browned and puffed up slightly. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Some nice additions before baking are golden raisins, spiced walnuts, dried cranberries and/or dried cherries. Serve with whipped cream or iced cream.
This lovely savory soup can be served hot or chilled.
Baked Apple and Sweet Potato Soup
-6 baked Hudson Valley Honeycrisp apples, roughly chopped
-3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, boiled or baked. Canned can also be used as well-drained of the syrup. If using canned 1 16 oz. can equals about 3 potatoes. The sweet potatoes can also be diced and roasted ahead of time as well for an even greater flavor
-1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
-1 cup heavy cream or Greek yogurt (this is optional but adds a very nice flavor)
-1 tablespoon honey or agave (you may need a little more if using the Greek Yogurt)
-Kosher salt and pepper to taste
-In a large saucepan, add the baked apples, cooked sweet potatoes, and stock, cook on low for about 20 minutes. Puree and add cream or yogurt and mix well. Season to taste honey or agave and salt and pepper. This can be reheated and served hot or chilled and served cold.
Apples are a staple of many of our innkeeper’s recipes, both sweet and savory and you may find them one morning as a scrumptious addition to the wonderful breakfasts you will find when you stay at one of our member inns.