Baked apples are one of my very favorite desserts! They’re even better when made with honey!!
3 1/2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup honey (preferably 100 percent raw honey from a small producer)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
6 unpeeled baking apples, halved and cored with a melon baller (try Honeycrisp, Mutsu aka Crispin, or Pink Lady aka Cripp’s Pink)
1/2 cup golden raisins, craisins or currants
1/2 cup dried apricots, julienned
6 whole cloves
2 or 3 star anise pods
2 to 3 cinnamon sticks, optional
In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes or so, or until mixture is syrupy and reduced to about 2 2/3 cups.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the apples, cut side down, in a 12-inch baking pan. Distribute the raisins, apricots, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, if using, over the apples. Pour the hot syrup over the apples. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the apples are almost tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from the oven, turn the apples over, and baste apples with the apple syrup, allowing the apples to absorb the flavor. Let the pan stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Serve baked apples with the liquid and dried fruits spooned over them in a bowl. Served with whipped heavy cream or ice cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.