Served still warm and drizzled with their syrupy juices, these apples are enhanced by a dollop of Crème Fraîche or softly whipped cream.
1½tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
6 medium-large tart baking apples, washed (do not peel)
½cup shelled pecans, chopped
1tablespoon grated lemon zest
3tablespoonsCalvados or applejack
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Mix the water, ¾ cup of the brown sugar, ½ tablespoon of the cinnamon, and the lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and reserve.
Remove the apple cores, but do not cut all the way through the bottoms.
In a bowl, mix the remaining 1½ cups brown sugar, the raisins, pecans, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Fill each apple to within ¼ inch of the top. Pour 1 teaspoon of Calvados over the filling in each apple and top with ½ tablespoon butter.
Transfer the apples to a 9 × 13-inch baking dish and pour the the syrup over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of Calvados into the syrup.
Bake the apples until tender, basting them occasionally with the syrup in the pan, 1 hour.
When the apples are done, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a serving dish. Pour the syrup from the pan into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly, pour a tablespoon of syrup over each apple, and serve the remaining syrup on the side.