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Baked Virginia Apples

February 26, 2016

Baked Virginia Apples

I’ve lived in Virginia over 45 years (counting college) and have never ever made baked apples that I can remember.

What is wrong with this woman?

Baked apples are as Virginian as well, a beloved dish at Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center (Presbyterian), a traditional standby for Thanksgiving and other holiday or festive meals, potlucks, a homey side dish at Cracker Barrel restaurants, and as simple as throwing cinnamon candy hearts in a baking dish with apples cut in half. Bingo. Dessert. Somewhat healthy.


I guess if I have fresh great baking apples on hand I’d rather have an apple pie, and my hub is kind of the same way. Even though it is a whole lot more work.

Once again this year our church is providing meals and workers for the emergency homeless shelter (Valley Open Doors) that many congregations help with, including the local mosque. And once again I used this (is that shameful?) as an opportunity to make a different dish with this blog in mind. So here goes.

And okay, I didn’t get to taste the final result (but I should’ve made a side dish with one or two to do so) but I know the sugary-buttery-cinnamon-y syrup was, yum, just lovely. I may have to try it again.

For my batch, I did NOT want to use candy hearts because I didn’t have any on hand plus, well, candy. Is brown sugar and butter healthier? I don’t know but here’s an adapted recipe from a PBS Foods recipe. I didn’t have time to slice the apples so I made them as halves. You can mix this dish up ahead of time and pop it in the oven about 45 minutes before dinner. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or just plain.


Baked Apples

8 large tart apples (I used Stayman; any good baking apple)
juice of one lemon (optional, to keep apples from turning brown, and adds vitamin C)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
3 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ cup water

Wash and slice apples in half, and cut out core. Do not peel or slice.


Mix lemon juice thoroughly (stir) with apple halves in large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir some more.


Place apple halves with peeling side down in greased 9 x 12 baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you use. Pierce with fork to determine when apples are soft. Serve warm. Serves 16.



For more great Virginia recipes from cooks associated with the Mennonite Media offices in Harrisonburg, Va., of 2010, check out my part cookbook, part inspiration for keeping family mealtime: Whatever Happened to Dinner?

Whatever Happened to Dinner?
What’s your favorite way to serve apples at a meal?
The year I spent in Spain, I was always impressed by our really simple, healthy desserts served at the boarding house where I lived: a simple orange, apple, pear, banana, or tangerine served on a plate with a knife and fork. Special pastries were served only on holidays.
Yeah, it was a trick peeling those fruits with a table knife and fork but many of our Spanish roommates did so, and ate them without using their fingers. “Las Americanas” (American girls) picked them up and ate them with their hands. 🙂 



From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

  1. There is NOTHING wrong with this woman, Melodie. 🙂

    You present nourishment two ways here: recipes and life lessons. I like to see lemon in recipes: It adds tartness and in the case of apples keeps them from browning.

  2. Yes, about the lemon! I was totally surprised at how well the apples were kept from browning.

    Awww and thanks for the endorsement. 🙂

  3. Athanasia permalink

    Yes, you should have made a batch for you also. That is what I do. I am sure the guests enjoyed their dinner and desserts.

    We have 3 apple trees, an Empire, a Jonathan and a yellow Delicious. We are getting 4 more this spring that we ordered from my aunt’s county extension sale…an improved Jonathan (ours was planted in 1945; it is still producing but thinking ahead) , a Spy, a Macintosh and a Honey Crisp.

    We do a lot with our apples. I can applesauce of course, we have a cider day where we join with extended family and all bring our apples, and I put many many into our root cellar. We also dry some. I have never made fruit leather, though I hear it is easy. My mother said when she was little they dried apples up in the attic. We also put excess apples out at the farm stand.

    I have never heard of a Stayman apple. Is that more native to your area? Apples we grow here have to be winter-hardy breeds. We just planted 2 peach trees…well they are going through their second winter and we have never had peaches here before. But the nursery we ordered them from said they are hardy to zone 4b so we should be safe.

    When we have the freshest of the eating apples I will just slice up a bowl of them and put them on the table with the meal. Later, like now our keeper apples are not as crisp so I will bake or cook with them. Some of the recipes I make with apples are:

    red cabbage with apples
    baked apples (we core, do not peel, fill with br sugar, butter, chopped nuts)
    apple brown betty (this was my father’s favorite)
    2 crust apple pie, sour cream apple pie, struesel topped apple pie
    apple sauce, canned and made on the spot fresh as needed
    apple cider and hot apple cider
    waldorf salad
    carrot apple coleslaw
    applesauce coffeecake
    spiced red apple slices (my paternal grandma used to make spiced red
    crabapples off the tree in her yard)
    applesauce in place of oil in some baked goods
    apple jelly

    Now I feel the need to go eat an apple. I enjoy all the thinking your blogs and
    inquiries cause me to do.

    • Athanasia permalink

      Oh, I forgot two recipes…my shrimp curry dish uses apples, why I don’t know, but it is delicious, and my turkey stuffing has apples in it.

      • Athanasia permalink

        I’ve never cared for apple butter. It’s oft asked for at the farm stand though.

  4. Athanasia, you are amazing–what a list of apple recipes! I can bet your shrimp curry dish with apples is delicious–have you ever used apples in chicken salad?? I use them when I don’t have any grapes on hand. You need to start your own blog and share some of these recipes!

    You know, I like apple butter ok, but I always forget about it in the refrigerator and then after 6-9 months it goes bad, so I guess you could say I’m not a big fan either. It is great on fresh homemade bread. I can understand people asking for it at the farm stand. Do you have a website for your farm stand? Or is it just a local thing?

    Yes, Stayman apples seem to be an eastern variety, very tart but they soften up nice when baking. Thanks for all your comments!!

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