How To Transform Standard Baked Apples Into A Decadent Dessert

Stuffed baked apple
Stuffed baked apple - Svera/Getty Images

Baked apples don't have a reputation as a go-to dessert. Though their softly sweet charms are undeniable, they can be a one-note in flavor, missing a counterpoint of acidity or creaminess. But that can all change if you view the baked apple as less of a fruit and more of an edible vessel waiting to be stuffed with decadent fillings.

And no, we're not suggesting the ho-hum standard dried raisin and nut stuffing, either. Instead, go bigger and bolder with a tangy and perfectly luxe spiced cheesecake filling. Combining the tender pleasures of well-spiced and sugared apples with the creamy delights of cheesecake, this two-in-one dessert embraces textural differences in one ideal bite. It's also insanely easy to make, calling for little more than a hollowed-out baked apple and a blended cream cheese filling. And the cheesecake filling itself is flexible to numerous flavorings and twists, from pumpkin spice to caramel. So, how should you go about making your own cheesecake-stuffed baked apples?

Read more: 30 Tools Aspiring Home Bakers Need To Have

Stuff Your Apples With Cheesecake Filling

Cheesecake stuffed apples
Cheesecake stuffed apples - Olivia Grigorita/Getty Images

First, let's hollow out your apples (choose firm ones, like Pink Lady, Gala, or Granny Smith for the job) with a melon baller or a cookie scoop, making sure to remove the core and seeds as you go. Once you have a nice divot with about ½ inch left of the apple walls, you can rub the apple flesh with a bit of lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing (aka turning brown) while you prepare your filling.

Next, you'll whip together your cheesecake ingredients. For four apples, you'll want an 8-ounce block of cream cheese blended with ¼ to ½ cup sugar, an egg, and a bit of vanilla extract. Feel free to add any additional flavoring that you desire, like pumpkin pie spice, almond extract, or even a bit of citrus zest. You can also use brown sugar for an extra caramelized flavor. Once everything is properly beaten together, you'll spoon the filling into the prepped apples until it's about ⅔ full. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, or until apples are soft and the filling is about set.

To serve, you can add a few more creative flourishes like ground graham cracker crumbs, chopped and toasted nuts, or even a drizzle of caramel sauce or maple syrup. Whatever suits your cravings best, the cheesecake-stuffed baked apples will welcome the sweet topper.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.