I bought at least 50 pounds of apples the other day, a bag from each variety, that tells you I'm little apple crazy !
Somebody asked me about what apples I use for baking and truth to be told I don't really have a preference what I use for baking, as long it tastes good when fresh.
One of my favorite things when growing was my mom's Apple Raisin Bread Pudding topped with thick layer of white meringue, and oh my we loved that meringue more than anything.
When making bread pudding I never use actual bread, I use either french baguette or some kind of rolls, but preferable french baguette if you can get one.
For stuffed apples I'd say use those firmer apples, McIntosh might be too soft for this.
Stuffed Apples Delight
Bread and Apple Filling
4 large apples
3 packed cups of cubed steak rolls (it is about 1 whole or 1 1/2 of a steak roll, depends on how big your bakery makes them), you can also use french baguette or any other kind you like, whole wheat is fine too
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
4tbl butter, divided :3tbl for the filling, 1tbl for topping
1tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
1tsp brown sugar for apple filling
1tbl brown sugar to sprinkle on top prior baking
Zest of half lemon
2eggs, separated egg yolks from egg white, reserve egg whites
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 chopped nuts, almonds,walnuts or pecans, what ever you like and have on hand. I prefer walnuts.
1tbl rum (omit if making for kids)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
pinch of salt
1-2tbl granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350F
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Cut the tops and core the inside using a melon scooper,reserve the edible parts of inside.
Put the apples on the baking sheet.
Peel the tops and grate them into a small bowl add chopped pieces of apple that you have left from coring the apples add lemon zest and 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, stir to combine and set aside.
Prepare Bread Filling
Heat the milk till hot, add 3tbl of butter and let it melt by the heat of the milk, add egg yolks, 1/2tsp cinnamon, vanilla extract, rum(if using) and whisk together until well combined and little foamy on the top, taste, if needed add more sugar, stir in raisins and nuts.
Pour milk mixture over cubed rolls and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until nicely puffed.
Prepare Cheese Filling
In a small dish combine together ricotta cheese and honey, set aside
Stuff the Apples
Place all the cored apples on the prepared baking sheet .
Start with the bread filling, stuff the apples tightly to about 1/2 full, then spread cheese filling on top and then add apple filling, and then add more bread stuffing. I do this with my clean hands so don't be afraid get in there and stuff them good.
Sprinkle with 1tbl brown sugar, cut 1tbl of butter into small pieces and put a small piece on top of the stuffed apple. Baked for 40 minutes, rotating once.
Make the Meringue
About 5 minutes before the end of the baking time, make the meringue. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until medium peaks are formed, add sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fit the piping bag with a large star tip, fill the bag with the meringue.
At the end of the baking time take the apples out of the oven and pipe the meringue on top of each apple, just like you'd do on a cupcake. Return apples into the oven and bake for additional 5-10 minutes, check them after 1st 5 minutes to see if the tops are golden to lightly brown. Once tops are golden to lightly brown remove apples from the oven at once. Let cool slightly and enjoy. These can be made ahead and stored in the fridge, simply reheat in the microwave.