Mirabo Walnut and Baked Apple

Mirabo Walnut and Baked AppleAll the flavors of fall come together in this divine dessert: A creamy dab of Mirabo Walnut atop a cranberry-stuffed baked apple, all drizzled with maple-vanilla syrup.

The key to this baked apple is in selecting the apple. Apple varieties vary widely in taste and texture and each bakes quite differently. So even though all those baked apple recipes out there say you can use any apple you please, I’m going to do you a favor.

In this recipe, use Gala apples, select smaller ones, and cook them for only 20 minutes. 20 minutes, you ask? Yes. (In my humble opinion, unless you want applesauce-like results, don’t ever cook an apple more than 30 minutes. Some baked apple recipes even say to keep them in for an hour!!)

The thing to keep in mind is that apples keep cooking after you remove them from the oven. And because they are usually hotter than the sun, no one in their right mind can eat them right away. And so, as they cool, the inside is still cookin’ away. So take them out of the oven when they still look a tad underdone, when the skin is still pink and only just puckering around the edges, not wrinkly. And ignore the voice of doubt in your head. This time they will come out just right: still in shape and soft enough to be cut with a fork.

A topping of nutty and creamy Mirabo Walnut perfectly complements the cranberries’ tartness and the apple’s acidity, and the vanilla-maple syrup adds both a whiff of autumn and a drop of indulgence to every bite.

Mirabo Walnut and Baked Apple detailMirabo Walnut and Baked Apple

4 Gala apples, small
½ cup dried cranberries
4 oz. Mirabo Walnut, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla)
½ cup of Grade A Maple syrup (I prefer dark amber), plus a tablespoon for baking
Walnuts for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Halve and core the apples (see also Take 2 for alternative). Slice a small piece from the side of the apple and place on a baking sheet so that the half sits firmly, without rolling. Brush with the tablespoon of maple syrup.
3. Divide the dried cranberries among the apple cores.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the edges begin to pucker.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool to just warm.
6. Divide the Mirabo Walnut into four slices and remove the rind (optional).  Spread a dab of the cheese onto each warm apple.
7. In a measuring cup, mix together the syrup and vanilla.
8. Drizzle each apple with the syrup, garnish with walnuts, and serve.

Take 2: Mirabo Walnut and Baked Apple Stack
Mirabo Walnut and Baked Apple StackFor a more dramatic presentation, follow steps above but in Step 2, use an apple corer to core the whole apple. Slice a small piece from the bottom of the apple (again, so that the apple sits firmly, without rolling when placed on the baking sheet). Then thinly slice the apple, keeping the slices together as much as you can. Place the stack of apples on the baking sheet. From the top of the apple, fill the core with cranberries. Brush the outside of the apples with maple syrup. (Feel free to also brush each apple slice with the maple syrup if you have the patience, and a sweet tooth.)  Follow Steps 4–8 above, decreasing the baking time to 15 minutes.

Mirabo Walnut and Baked Apple Stack detail