Cranberry Stuffed Apples + Cranberry Madras Cocktails

Apples Stuffed with Cranberry Sauce

By Eugenia Bone, from the book The Kitchen Ecosystem: Integrating Recipes to Create Delicious Meals (Clarkson Potter, 2014)

This recipe is very simple, but the flavors are super bold and American. It’s a great variation on traditional cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving! You can use canned cranberry sauce if you like, but it’s best if the cranberries are rather chunky; so I recommend you make the quick cranberry sauce as described in the canning recipe below. You don’t need to run the cranberries through a food mill for this recipe (though it is nice if you plan to can them). I like to preserve cranberry sauce around Thanksgiving when I am making it anyway: that way I have it on hand to prepare this recipe again later in the year.

Serves 4

4 baking apples, such as Jonathans
4 heaping tablespoons Cranberry-Orange Sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup apple cider


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Slice off the stem end of the apples, and using a corer or serrated spoon, scoop out the seeds, making a 2-tablespoon-sized cavity inside each apple. Trim the bottom of the apple so that it stands solidly. Stuff each apple with a heaping tablespoon of cranberry sauce.

Place the apples in an 8-inch-square baking dish, or whatever they will fit in snugly. A cast-iron skillet will do, too. Pour the cider into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender but not exploded-looking.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Makes 2 half-pints

This is a tart sauce. Add more sugar if you like it sweet. It throws off about 1 extra cup of juice. Lucky you! Save it to make a Madras cocktail (recipe below). Cranberry sauce made from cranberries that haven’t been pushed through a food mill will have some tough skins. If you are like my husband and go for roughage, no problem. But the rough texture isn’t nice in every application or for every taste; so if you think you might not like the skins, then pass the cranberries through a food mill before canning.

1 cup sugar (Ed. Note: You can use alternative sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, stevia, etc.)
1 cup water
2 heaping cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup orange juice


In a medium-sized pot, dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes and then add the cranberries. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and gently boil until the cranberries pop—about 5 minutes (it sounds like popcorn). Watch carefully—the berries easily foam up and boil over. Once the berries have exploded, remove the cover and boil gently for another 20 minutes to reduce the syrup. The sauce is loose but easily mounds on a spoon. Stir in the orange juice.

Have ready 2 clean half-pint jars and bands, and new lids that have been simmered in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. You don’t need to sterilize the jars, as you will be processing them for more than 10 minutes. Spoon the cranberries into the jars and cover with the juice, leaving ½ inch of headroom. Wipe the rims, place on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.

Process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. Be sure to make altitude adjustments when preserving by adding 1 minute of processing time for every 1,000 feet of altitude above sea level.

Madras Cocktail

Makes two 6-ounce cocktails

I usually end up preparing this cocktail the evening after I’ve made Cranberry-Orange Sauce. But if you want to wait, just refrigerate the juice. It will hold for a few days.

1 cup cranberry-orange juice
4 ounces vodka


Strain the cranberry-orange juice through a very fine sieve. Combine with the vodka in old-fashioned glasses filled with ice.

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