Roasted Apples With Dried Fruit, Nut, and Cheese Stuffing
Perfect for dessert after a casual fall supper, but fancy enough to serve on Thanksgiving. If desired, add a bit of Madeira, port wine, or even Grand Marnier to the apple cider before soaking the dried fruit. If you want a more pronounced smoke flavor, smoke the apples for 30 minutes before finishing on higher heat.
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or currants
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely diced (optional)
- 1-1/4 cup hot apple cider or juice
- 6 large crisp baking apples, such as Braeburn, Fugi, Gala, Granny Smith, etc.
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus additional walnut halves for garnish
Put the cranberries and ginger, if using, in a small heatproof bowl and pour the hot apple cider over them. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes, then drain, reserving the apple cider. Set aside. Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix until smooth. Stir in the 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and the reserved cranberries and ginger. Core the apples, from the stem end, leaving the bottom intact. (If you accidentally punch a hole in the bottom, plug it with a marshmallow.) Pare 1/2-inch of skin from the equator of the apple to keep the skin from splitting as it roasts. Spoon the filling into the apples. Arrange the apples upright in a snug baking dish. Pour the reserved apple cider in the bottom of the dish. Roast the apples until they are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with the apple cider. Serve warm garnished with walnut halves.