This easy savory baked apple recipe shows up regularly for dinner at our house. The apples can be prepared ahead of time, then served at room temperature. It’s the kind of dish that works as well for an everyday dinner yet looks impressive enough for a special occasion meal. It’s also quite at home on a brunch table. Plus, it’s every bit as tasty the next day, so I usually plan to make leftovers.
Inspiration for this dish comes from the book, On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis. It’s a fascinating read in which recipes comingle with the tale of how she and her family adapt to life in Normandy, France and transform an old convent into their residence.
Although there aren’t many recipes in the book, it has earned a spot on the shelf among other cookbooks I frequently reference.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Baked Apple Recipe
1 large leek, rinsed, halved, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 – 6 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chevre) – the cheese I buy comes in 4 oz. packages, but you can use more if the apples are on the large side
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
4 apples (I often use Pink Lady, Gala, or Braeburn)
1 cup of dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted add the leeks. Cook them until tender. If the pan seems too dry while cooking, add a little water or a splash of wine.
Whatever you do, don’t walk away from the pan and try to multitask as I do. Leeks burn easily. Not only that, but they also don’t just burn a little bit. If they start to burn, the resulting bitterness will permeate the entire pan. So, learn from my mistakes and supervise the entire softening of the leeks!
Once the leeks are soft, remove the pan from the heat. As it starts to cool down, add the goat cheese and combine it with the leeks as the cheese gets a little melty. Add a pinch or two of salt (remember, the goat cheese is a little salty to begin with) and the thyme if you like.
Prep the apples by coring them. Then peel a strip of skin from around the middle of the apple. This allows steam to escape during baking and helps prevent the apple from imploding.
Stuff the goat cheese mixture into the opening where the core was removed and fill the entire crevice.
Place the apples into a baking dish with sides. Then pour the wine around the apples.
Place in the oven and bake until apples reach desired tenderness. I like them with just enough give that a paring knife can pierce the skin and glide into the apple, but not so much that they’re mushy. In my oven that takes about 20 minutes.
I like to serve this as a starter course on its own. Or I’ll make a little vinaigrette with the wine from the pan and dress some baby salad greens to accompany the apples.
The first time I served this easy savory baked apple recipe, crab cakes were also on the menu. In our house, the go-to wine with crab is Chardonnay. So, we tried Chardonnay with the apples and have never looked back!
Are you looking for a new Chard? Our recent Chardonnay discovery from Chateau Lill made my list of Irresistible Washington Wines Under $26.
That said, there are a lot of great Chardonnay alternatives to try. Since the apples deliver some sweetness by nature, a slightly sweet Riesling or Chenin Blanc could work.
Lately, however, we’ve been swapping out Roussanne and/or Marsanne for Chardonnay because there’s a similar weight and texture. There are some great single varietal bottles and blends coming out of Washington from producers like Damsel Cellars, Muret Gaston, and Avennia that we particularly like. So, if you’re a Chardonnay drinker looking for an alternative, give one of those a try. Then head on over to social media and share your thoughts. I would be delighted to hear what you think!