With Labor Day came the unofficial end of summer, but don’t despair — there’s a lot to love about fall. For one thing, it’s when apples are in season and at their best. The perfect pick-me-up fruit, apples are juicy, flavorful, and full of fiber and vitamin C. They’re delicious raw, of course, but they’re also great baked. Try this recipe for a guilt-free dessert that won’t won’t throw off your calorie count for the day. Remember, apples are on my “always buy organic” list — conventional versions are sprayed with pesticides that you want to avoid. Check your local farmers’ market for a nice selection of fresh and affordable apples and pears, and ask the farmers if their produce is organic. Also, be sure to look for all-natural cream cheese with minimal added ingredients.
Baked Apple With Pear and Almond Filling
* 1 large apple, halved and cored
* 2 teaspoons reduced-fat cream cheese, divided
* 1 small pear, cored and diced very small
* 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 tablespoons chopped almonds, divided
* 3 tablespoons water or apple juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice apple in half. Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to scoop out some apple flesh from each half, making room for the filling. (You can eat the apple flesh if you like — no need to reserve.) Dab 1 teaspoon cream cheese in the cavity of each half.
Toss the diced pear with brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon pear filling into each apple half. Sprinkle pear filling with almonds, pressing down to make them adhere. Place apple halves in a baking dish and add water or apple juice to the dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then baste with juices. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until almonds are roasted.
Makes 2 servings.
From Jillian *