By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy
Warmly-spiced pumpkin filling is spooned into a hollowed-out apple shell that softens and caramelizes as it bakes. Topped with a simple caramel sauce this is a a rustic yet elegant fall dessert to serve to family and friends!
No need to limit yourself to pumpkin. This filling is based on a sweet potato pie recipe. I have also made it with buttenut squash and next up is kabocha. Carrot pie is also intriguing! My kids won’t go near winter squash in the lightly salted, roasted version that I adore. But this is one of their favorite desserts of all time. That’s a win in my book.
I’ve recently become even more excited about carotenoid-rich vegetables after discovering a new health benefit. Current research is showing that those with the highest serum-levels of carotenoids were 20-30% less likely to develop breast cancer. It’s probably a bit early to tell whether this is because those with more carotenoids are likely to be higher in other nutrients as well, but there seems to be at least some link since it has been noted across multiple studies.
Concerned that the apple shells may be too tedious? It turns out that hollowing an apple is easier than it may seem. This recipe calls for four huge apples (or 5 large) and the whole operation takes no more time than it would to make a crust – a sometimes stressful endeavor, in my opinion. I use red delicious because they are softer. Just half them, hollow out each side with a knife, then scoop out the center with a good spoon (a grapefruit spoon works well).
When you finish putting these together you are left with the perfect amount of apple with which to make an apple pie! Just toss it with some lemon to prevent it from oxidizing and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to put it together in the next day or two. Or try one of the savory apple recipes that have recently appeared on The Nourishing Gourmet.
Here are some apple recipe ideas:
Cranberry Apple Mini Pies (GF, if desired)
Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce (DF)
Apple Clafoutis (Grain-Free)
Potato Apple Soup with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola
Easy Pan-Fried Cabbage and Apples
We usually prefer our pumpkin pie chilled, but we love these warm. And you won’t want to skip the caramel. It’s definitely worth the quick extra step!
- 4 very large apples (I use red delicious)
- lemon (sprinkle on apples to prevent oxidation)
- Filling Ingredients:
- 2 cups pumpkin or orange squash puree (here are instructions for making your own)
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- ¼-1/2 cup coconut sugar (pumpkin and other orange vegetables vary in sweetness, you will have the chance to taste the filling and adjust so start with less)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (optional, for those who don't need it to be dairy free)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (preferably fresh grated)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a food processor, puree all pumpkin filling ingredients except the eggs. Taste and adjust sweetness and spices (remember, the caramel sauce will also add sweetness). Then incorporate the eggs.
- Carefully and confidently, hollow out the apples - slice them in half (from stem to bottom). WIth a knife, carve out the apple on each side leaving the core intact, then scoop out the core with a good spoon (I used a grapefruit spoon). Leave about ¼" of apple attached to the peel. Sprinkle each shell with a little lemon before moving on to the next step.
- Fill each shell with pumpkin filling and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until done.
- Serve warm with Easy-Peasy Caramel Sauce.