Baked Apples Stuffed with Dried Fruit and Pecans
Ingredients: 8 red apples (gala or rome beauty); 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots; 4 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted; 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter; 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 2 pieces; 1 cup apple cider.
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°F. Core apples. Peel about 1/3 down the apple. Stand apples up in a large ceramic or glass pie plate and make four evenly spaced vertical cuts starting from top of each apple and stopping halfway from bottom to keep apple intact. Brush inside and outside of peeled apple with lemon juice. Toss together apricots, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
Rub softened butter into dried fruit mixture with your fingers until combined well. Pack center of each apple with mixture. Put a piece of remaining butter on top of each apple. Pour cider around apples and cover pie plate tightly with foil. Bake in middle of oven, basting once, until apples are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until apples are very tender but not falling apart, 20-30 minutes more. Transfer to serving dishes and spoon sauce over and around apples.