Baked Apples with Dates, Walnuts, Prunes and Salted Caramel Sauce

A warm winter treat.
Using Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe posted on 1/11/14) as a finishing touch, these apples are stuffed with a simple mixture of dried fruits and walnuts. A perfect balance to enjoy the delicate flavors of the salted caramel sauce.
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If you do not have salted caramel sauce on hand, or to simply prepare a vegan, lactose-free version, you might add a hint of cinnamon in the dried fruit mixture and serve with a little sprinkle of cinnamon instead of salted caramel sauce.
I like to use a variety of apples, so long as they hold reasonably well after baking: Fuji, Jonathon, Honeycrisp. Some might split, but they remain deliciously tasty. The apples to avoid would be Golden Delicious or Red Delicious, as they have a tendency to become mushy and mealy when baked.
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Ingredients for 4 guests:
4 apples (honey crisp, Fuji,…)
3 dates
3 prunes
A handful walnuts
4 Tbsp Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe posted on 1/11/14)
Preheat oven to 350F.
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Slightly cut the bottom of each apple to that they stand straight.
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They should be relatively even on a flat surface.20140120-143609.jpg
Cut off the top of each apple, about 1/4 of the way down, keeping the stem up. 20140120-143627.jpg
Core the center to remove the seeds and tough center part. 20140120-143644.jpg
Be careful not to go too deeply and leave enough thickness at the bottom.20140120-143703.jpg
Mince the dates and prunes.20140120-143719.jpg
Then, continue chopping them as well as the walnuts and mix.20140120-143736.jpg
Place the apples in an oven-proof dish, add this mixture in the center hole of the apples, press down to pack the cavity, and spread the remaining dried fruit mixture on top.20140120-143754.jpg
Cover each apple with their respective cap. Place them in the preheated oven.20140120-143814.jpg
After an hour, remove from the oven. Set the apples aside, turn off the oven, and place the jar of salted caramel sauce in the still warm oven to melt it slightly. 20140120-143834.jpg
Serve the apples on each plate and spread some warm salted caramel sauce. 20140120-143855.jpgEnjoy!

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Salted Caramel Sauce

In rare occasions, indulging in the sweetness of the moment calls for a treat savored delicately. Salted caramel sauce provides that rarified quality, reserved for a special moment, allowing you to truly savor every bite and relish your taste buds.
20140105-035527.jpgSalted caramel sauce can be enjoyed over poached or baked fruits, a tart or pie, ice-cream, or simply drizzled over Chantilly cream.
Making it is very easy, and it keeps for quite a while refrigerated.
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The essential ingredient is fresh French butter, which tastes smooth and rich.

Ingredients for 1-12 oz jar:
(Multiply the recipe for more jars)

6 oz. sugar
1 Tbsp. water
4 oz. French butter
1/8 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Useful tool: wide mouth canning funnel (see photo at bottom of recipe)
20140105-040848.jpgPrepare the jar(s) and utensils in advance of starting to cook the caramel sauce, as you’ll need to pour it into the jar(s) as soon as it is ready.
20140105-041034.jpgBegin by placing the sugar, butter cut into small pieces and sea salt into a saucepan with a heavy bottom or copper pan for even melting.

Add the water to moisten the sugar.
20140105-041139.jpgLet melt on medium heat, mixing with a wooden spoon occasionally.
20140105-041400.jpgThe mixture will foam and rise and might slightly crystalize.
20140105-041528.jpgContinue cooking mixing with a wooden spoon as it starts to caramelize.
20140105-041620.jpgWhen the caramel falls back down and turns a beautiful brown color, turn off the heat.
20140105-041823.jpgAdd the cold cream at once.  Watch out for splatters. The caramel will harden. Continue mixing rapidly.
20140105-041922.jpgPlace back on the stove, on medium heat.
20140105-042035.jpgBring back to a boil and turn off the heat as the caramel mixture rises again.
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Using a wide mouth canning funnel, poor the hot caramel sauce in the jar(s).
20140105-042155.jpgBe sure to pour the caramel almost to the top as it will shrink while cooling.  Let cool till warm to serve.

Let cool completely to refrigerate. Enjoy!