National Apple Month

October is not just for pumpkins—it’s also National Apple Month! To celebrate, we’re sharing a delicious baked apple crumble recipe from Lindsay Navama’s cookbook Hungry For Harbor Country. It’s the perfect recipe to satisfy your seasonal apple cravings!

Autumn Baked Apples with Caramelized Pecan Oat Crumble

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Special Items Needed

Apple corer or melon baller

10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet, or 2 (6-inch) cast iron skillets


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free or regular old-fashioned oats (In a pinch, use quick-cooking oats.)

1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

 1/2 cup chopped pecans

 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

4 medium apples (Use softer, sweeter apples such as Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Ginger Gold)

4 tablespoons cold salted butter

1/2 cup apple cider (In a pinch, use apple juice or water.)


Add 1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger to the brown sugar mixture.

 Drop 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter at the bottom of each apple before stuffing with the brown sugar mixture.

 Add 1/3 cup chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries to the brown sugar mixture.

6 heart-warming servings   

30 min active time  

1 hr 30 min start to finish

Tips for Success

Resist cooking the apples too long or they will burst open!

Prep  Place a 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven on the middle rack, then preheat the oven to 375ºF. You can also use an 8 x 8-inch oven-safe baking dish brushed with oil, but there is no need to place this in the oven prior to baking the apples.

Make the Oat Filling  Add the oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and cloves (if using) to a medium mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Set aside.

Core the Apples to Hold the Stuffing  Use a melon baller (my preference), apple corer, or sharp paring knife to remove the cores from the apples without piercing holes through the bottom. This part takes patience, so I remind myself, “Go slow and enjoy the process, Lindsay, so your apples don’t leak!” Scoop out enough flesh from each apple to hold about 1/3 cup of the crumble. If the apple doesn’t easily stand up, slice a little off the bottom to make it flat. If you accidently do poke a hole all the way through, “patch” the hole with a dried fig, dried plum, or small scoop of nut butter.

Stuff the Apples  Cut the cold butter into 8 equal slices, 1/2 tablespoon each. Use a spoon to fill each apple halfway full with the brown sugar mixture. Put 1 slice of the butter in each apple, then fill the apples with the remaining stuffing. Place the remaining slices of butter on top of each apple. 

Bake the Apples Covered  Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven using heavy-duty oven mitts. Please be very careful! This skillet is SUPER HOT. Leave the mitts over the handle to prevent grabbing it by accident! Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the skillet or pan. Place the apples in the cast iron skillet or oven-safe baking dish. The apples should stand up and be evenly spaced. Put on oven mitts to cover the apples with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. 

Bake the Apples Uncovered  Carefully remove the foil and bake the apples uncovered for another 20 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the apples and the fruit is tender but not mushy. When done, the skin will be somewhat wrinkled. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Let’s Eat!  Serve the baked apples in bowls with a knife and fork. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. For kiddos and easy eating in general, slice the baked apples into bite-size pieces in a bowl before adding whipped or ice cream and serving. Yum, yum, yum. If not immediately serving, these can be made 1 day ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator, then reheated in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes or in a 350ºF oven until warm.

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