Paleo Stuffed Apples

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This is the perfect dessert for the week after Thanksgiving. I’ve personally vowed not to eat pie this week, although leftovers don’t seem to count. I doubt I’m alone in feeling like I may have overdone it a bit last week and my body is craving lighter fare. This feeling doesn’t hit me often; I often think my appetite for decadence is insatiable. So, I figure my body is telling me something and for once I’m eager to listen.

I have a wonderful mentor in all things Paleo. My friend and neighbor, Stephanie Meyer, of FreshTart, has been inspiring us all with her Autoimmune Protocol Diet for months. When she first went on this mind-bogglingly-restrictive diet I wept for her. She loves food and cooking more than just about anyone I know, and this diet seemed a cruel end to that love affair. Well, I was dead wrong. I found myself lusting after all of her AIP postings on Instagram and wishing I was eating that way too.  I am incredibly fortunate to be able to eat just about anything I want, although I had a bout of dairy intolerance, which has thankfully mostly passed. Giving up cheese, yogurt, ice cream and all things custardy was no easy task for me, but I managed and felt better for it. You don’t have to be on a Paleo diet to love these honey sweetened stuffed apples. I made them to bring to a dinner at Stephanie’s house and didn’t feel as if I was giving anything up. In fact, who cares that they happen to be Paleo, they’re freakin’ awesome and perfect for a week of eating cleaner.

Stuffed Apples:

6 large apples (use something with firm flesh so they don’t turn to mush as you bake them)

2 to 3 tablespoons honey, depending on how sweet your apples are

3/4 cup chopped pecans, finely chopped and lightly toasted

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup finely chopped prunes (dried apricots would be great too, but I didn’t have any. Actually any dried fruit will work.)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F

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I don’t own an apple corer, so I used a melon baller and a paring knife to core the apples.

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Once the core is removed, use the melon baller to scrape out the flesh of the apple, so that the wall of the apple is only about a 1/4-inch thick. Don’t go too thin or the apples won’t hold their shape when baked. Save the apple flesh to use as part of the stuffing.

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Chop up the apple flesh and mix it with 2 tablespoons honey, half the nuts, raisins, prunes, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt.

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Stuff the apple with the filling and place in a baking dish. Really pack it in.

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Mix the remaining nuts, honey and cinnamon together with a pinch of salt.

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Top the apples with the nut mixture.

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Bake until the apples are very tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. If the nuts are starting to brown too quickly, very loosely tent with foil, but be careful not to over cook the apples under the tent or they will fall apart. They’ll still be delicious, but not as pretty.

The winners of the Emile Henry Pie Plates are MJ, Robin, Janet, Gabi and Rachael. Congratulations!