I found these mini crimson apples and decided to stuff them with some Indian spices and ground almonds. With Diwali going on, I had ghoogras on my mind, and thought a ghooghra-styled stuffing would pair amazingly with apples.
About this Recipe
This recipe offers a unique twist on the classic baked apple, infusing it with Indian flavors. Perfect for winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as Indian celebrations like Diwali, it provides a slightly healthier alternative to traditional ghughra with its omission of a fried pastry shell.
The resulting baked apples taste a lot like ghoogras, with the crunchiness of the apples replacing the crunchiness of the pastry. The result is a gluten-free, grain-free dessert with a nutty texture that complements the softness of the baked apples.
Apples: Crimson Gold Mini-Apples work well, but can be hard to find and larger varieties can be used instead. For baking, I prefer an apple that is mostly red with a dusting of yellow or green, and one that will hold its shape when baked. Ida Reds and Pink Ladys are perfect. I love Honeycrisps, but they can be too sweet for my tastes when baked.
Almond Flour: Adds a nutty texture and gluten-free element.
Brown Sugar: Provides a sweet contrast to the tartness of the apples.
Cardamom and Ginger: Create a wintery-spice flavor profile.
Lemon Juice: Prevents browning of the apples during stuffing.
- Make sure to get the whole core out of your apples. Any remaining core will be hard and unpleasant. Take care not to remove the bottom of the apple as you core it because that is needed for structure – to hold the filling in.
- The filling is forgiving. You can easily adjust the flavor ratios to how you like.
- Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon for a more traditional flavor profile.
- Add 1 tablespoon grated coconut or roughly chopped pistachios for more bite
Store the baked apples in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freezing is not recommended, as it may alter the texture of the apples.
Indian Spiced Baked Mini Apples
- 1 pound mini crimson gold apples about 18 apples
- ⅓ cup whole almonds
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp cold butter cut up into pieces (or substitute Earth Balance to keep it vegan)
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- lime or lemon juice to prevent apples from browning
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss the almonds into a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse powder. Add the brown sugar and spices. Mix.
- Add the butter and pulse until well mixed. Set the almond and butter mixture aside.
- Rinse and dry the apples. Using an apple corer or a melon baller, scoop out the apple cores (I found that a metal 1/4 tsp measure worked really well for scooping out the core). Create a little well for the filling making sure to leave the bottoms of the apple intact. Sprinkle a couple drops of lemon or lime juice into the cored apples so that they don’t brown while you finish coring the rest.
- Stuff the apples with the almond and butter mixture. Arrange them into a baking dish with the tops facing up.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the apples are pierced easily with a fork.
(Originally published 11/6/2013; updated 11/30/2023)