Vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whole milk yogurt makes a fine topping.
4 Cortland, MacIntosh, Winesap, or Paula Red apples
1 to 1-1/2 cups apple cider
1 vanilla bean, split and cut into quarters
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Peel the top third of each apple and, with a long thin knife or a corer, remove the core so there is a tunnel through each piece of fruit.
Put the apples in an 8 or 9-inch square cake pan. Pour the cider inside each apple (it is supposed to overflow so there is about a half inch of liquid in the pan. Tuck a piece of vanilla bean into each apple and sprinkle everything with the sugar.
Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes to an hour, or until the apples are very tender. Timing varies with the kind of apple you are using. If you’d like, you could boil down the pan juices into a syrup for finishing the apples. Rinse the vanilla bean pieces, dry them and use them for other recipes. Serves 4.
Per serving: 163 calories; 1 g fat (0.1 g saturated fat; 6 percent calories from fat); 41 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 4 mg sodium; 0.4 g protein; 5 g fiber.