EATING well

Baked apples bring a healthy bite of fall to dessert

There may be no dessert that evokes fall more beautifully or simply than baked apples.

Taking cues from the Mediterranean, we flavored the date and nut filling with orange and mint. It makes for a great contrast to the otherwise sweet blend of honey and dates. If you don't have (or don't like) dates, other dried fruit will work just as well. Try dried, chopped apricots or raisins. The same goes for the walnuts. Substitute another variety of nut or leave them out altogether.

These also make a delicious breakfast — and an easy one, too, if you baked an extra apple or two the night before.

BAKED HONEY-DATE APPLES

6 baking apples, such as Fuji or Gala

½ cup walnuts, toasted and broken

¾ cup chopped dates

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mist a 9- by 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Core the apples using an apple corer or a melon baller, leaving the apple otherwise whole. Scoop out a little bit of extra apple at the center to create a cavity inside about the size of a walnut. Arrange the apples standing upright in the prepared pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, dates, orange zest, honey and mint. Knead the mixture together with your hands until it is well combined. Spoon some of the mixture into the cavity of each apple, packing it into the center. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until each apple is tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

Serves 6.

Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories (60 calories from fat, 23 percent of total calories), 7g fat (0.5g saturated, 0g trans fats), 0mg cholesterol, 54g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 43g sugar, 3g protein, 0mg sodium.

Baked apples bring a healthy bite of fall to dessert 09/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 19, 2013 3:57pm]

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