A dessert that is relatively simple to prepare yet tastes so rich and satisfying. The apples are coated with maple syrup and filled with a mixture of walnuts, raisins, and spices that puffs up during baking. The sweetness of the apples and maple syrup is nicely contrasted by the tartness of the creme frache.

SERVES 4

4 large tart apples (such as Cortland or McIntosh)

ВЅ cup pureВ maple syrupimage

в…“ cup finely chopped walnuts (not ground)

2 tablespoons raisins

ВЅ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch allspice

Pinch nutmeg

1 egg white

1 tablespoon butter

Вј cup water

1 recipe CrГЁme FraГ®che

  1. Butter a baking dish large enough to fit the 4 apples. Preheat the oven to 425В°F.
  2. Peel one-third of the skin off around the tops of the apples, leaving the remaining two-thirds of the peel intact. Core the apples. (If you do not have an apple corer the easiest way to do this is to cut two-thirds of the way down from the top of the apple around the core, going around the core a number of times until a smooth cut has been made, then repeating this from the bottom of the apple. Push the core out from the bottom through the top.)
  3. Put the maple syrup in a small bowl. Roll each cored apple in the syrup, making sure to coat thoroughly both inside and out. Place the apples upright in the baking dish and reserve the syrup.
  4. In a small bowl combine the walnuts, raisins, and spices. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved maple syrup. Add the egg white and mix well. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each apple.
  5. Pour the remaining maple syrup equally over each apple. Cut the butter into bits and place on top of each apple.
  6. Cut 4 small pieces of aluminum foil just large enough to cover the filling in each apple to prevent the raisins from burning and lightly butter each one. Place 1 on top of each apple. (The filling will puff up during baking.)
  7. Pour the water into the dish and move the dish around to blend the liquids. Bake the apples for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender when gently pierced with a knife. Do not overcook them or the apples will burst. Baste occasionally with the syrup.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature, and pour any remaining syrup over the apples. Top each apple with some creme frache.