Chester, NJ & Baked Apples

This weekend, the calendar said it was time to transition from summer to fall, so I headed to New Jersey to do just that.

On Saturday, I met my brother and friends at MetLife Stadium (better known to us as Giants Stadium or the Meadowlands) to see Bruce Springsteen. The ticket to the outdoor concert was a belated birthday gift and one last nod to summer. Turned out that mother nature was sad to see summer go, too, because it rained…hard! But three hours after the concert was scheduled to start, the Boss took the stage and rocked it until 2am. We rang in Bruce’s 63rd birthday at midnight and ended the evening with fireworks and a 55,000 person-strong chorus of “Happy Birthday”.

By Sunday morning, the rain had passed and it was a glorious fall day. Warm sun and a cool breeze, it was ideal weather to head to the farm for apple and pumpkin picking. Every year since I was a child, my parents and I have taken a trip to Riamede Farm in Chester, New Jersey.

Though I’ve grown taller and no longer need to take the hayride,

I still love getting lost in the orchard rows,

searching for perfect apples, and avoiding those that are
.
With a few bushels of apples picked, we headed down the hill to the pumpkin patch. We climbed into the vines to find a perfect pumpkin and unique gourds hiding under the leaves.
A few clicks of the clippers later, our haul was complete and it was time to head home with our harvest.
My mom had found a wonderful baked apple recipe, so with freshly picked fruit, a family dinner planned, and a father who dices apples better than any kitchen appliance, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
The recipe below slightly amends Chris Kimball’s Best Baked Apples.
Yield: 6 apples
 
Ingredients:
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples and 1 Liberty (or other baking) apple
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped raisins
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
 

Directions: 

 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat over to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cut 1 Liberty apple into 1/4 inch dice. Combine 5 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, raisins, pecans, oats, cinnamon, diced apple, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

 
 
Shave thin slice off bottom (blossom end) of 6 Granny Smith apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off stem end of apples and reserve. Peel apples and use melon baller to remove 1 1/2 inch diameter core, being careful not to cut through the bottom of the apple. 
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once foaming subsides, add apples, stem-side down, and cook until cut surface is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove apples, flipping them, and put them in a buttered 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Add maple syrup and apple cider to skillet to heat. Spoon filling inside, mounding excess filling over cavities; top with reserved apple caps. 
 
 
Bake until skewer inserted into apples meets little resistance, approximately 60 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with maple syrup mixture in skillet.
 
Transfer apples to serving platter. Pour sauce over apples and serve. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
 
DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO CHESTER, NJ: 96 miles
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6 responses

  1. Terrific photos and an equally terrific recipe! Love the collage pics.

    The baked apples were wonderful, and the delicious filling added to the great taste of fresh-picked apples.

  2. Another great post . . . thoroughly enjoyable narrative and photography. I hate to repeat myself, but that last dessert photo is mouth watering. How many points would that be on Weight Watchers??? (lol) Kudos to you, Alyssa! Great job!!!

  3. Alyssa, I heard you are off to Boston this week. Can't wait for a new recipe. I am going to try those pumpkin bars this week.

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