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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crustless "Apple Pie" for One

As I was already cooking Swiss Steak in the oven today (I called Mom, because I wanted to make her recipe, which I still couldn't resist tweaking), I decided to bake something.

My eyes lit on the Honey Crisp Apples I bought late last week at Colasanti's. I wanted something similar to apple pie without the crust, for several reasons. It's nearly Halloween and I'm entering the mad scientist/experimental cook stage again. How appropriate.

1. I am crust rolling impaired, so the crust always ends up with thin spots
2. Making a crust is too time and labor-intensive at this precise moment. If I attempt it, it will be on a day I'm inspired to bake.
3. Pie is eaten for the filling, as far as I'm concerned. I really don't care for most pie crusts
— whether from a mix, ready-made or scratch — that is, aside from cookie crumb or graham cracker crusts. (This preference has nothing to do with the fact that I don't have to roll those crusts. Really.)
4. I don't need the extra calories.  

Crustless "Apple Pie" for One

1 large Honey Crisp apple
1/4 C. apple cider
1 T. real maple syrup
1/2 T. Smart Balance® Light Original Buttery Spread with Flax, cut in little chunks
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Take one large Honey Crisp Apple. Wash, peel if desired (I felt safe leaving the peels on because my apple is organic), core and cut apples. (I left them in long, slender pieces as though I were going to eat them raw.)

Place washed apples in a baking dish with a cover (I used the smallest of the glass Pyrex casseroles we have; probably a 1-qt. size.)

Pour in 1/4 C. apple cider over the apples (enough to keep them from burning in the bottom of the dish). 

Sprinkle apples with 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Dot with the small chunks of Smart Balance® Light Original Buttery Spread with Flax.

Drizzle 1 T. maple syrup over the top. Toss the apples with the apple cider, rotating the apple pieces so all are coated with a bit of the maple syrup and spices.

Bake at 325 for about an hour and 15 minutes  ... until the apple slices are tender, almost breaking down but still identifiable as apples. The amount of cider in the bottom should be significantly reduced.

Depending upon how much liquid you have left, you may want to take the lid off the glass dish to reduce the liquid for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time. (Very juicy apples may "sweat" out additional liquid, and if you don't take the lid off, you may up with sweet apple soup.)

My apple slices were fairly thick and I left the peel on; if you like your slices thin, it may cook more quickly. Check the dish at about 45-50 minutes if you made your apple slices thin and/or removed the peel.

Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and serve warm.
Serving suggestions: Serve topped with cider sauce; it's good over light vanilla ice cream. Or top apples and sauce with low-fat or fat-free lightly-sweetened whipped cream.

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