Apple "Pie" Cups

or all the comfort food, half the guilt, weekday dessert

First one thing, then another, and just when you think it's all past - boom!  Something else comes barreling in like a bull in a china shop.  We all have those times when it seems that your schedule, mind, and heart have just been overloaded for a bit too long - well, for me this has been one of those months. As you can see, in the glaring evidence in the side column, I have not been faithful in my writing over the past few weeks.  This does not mean, however, that I have ceased my experiments (though "take out" has become the dinner option more often than I would care to admit lately).  I have in fact made time to "play" with my food, sadly it has not been as enjoyable as usual because the benefit merely raises my emotions to near balance rather than the usual boost I get straight into happiness, but I pushed on all the same.  So when last night's concoction actually got me excited again I knew it was time to sit down and share it with the world (well, with the handful of people in it that may actually be reading this).

I wanted dessert. Not ice cream from the freezer or popcorn from a bag, but a real homemade dessert.  Add to that the fact that my early morning exercise routine has instilled the fear of fat into my daily food consumption and I was truly in a pickle, so to speak.  Now after several days passed of longing for cookies, pie, and frozen drinks I finally had inspiration - and came in the form of an aging bag of Gala apples on the kitchen counter.  They were just a touch soft so they had been cast aside for canning, which was hopefully in the near future, and since a fresh bag had taken their place for snacking they were the perfect canvas for my new dessert.  I didn't have time to make apple pie, or even apple crisp, since my energy was fading fast.  I knew I had to deconstruct it even more.  So out went the crust, along with the sweet pie filling, and hopefully at least a few dozen calories.  What I had left was this - apples and crumb topping.  I wasn't terribly confident, but that little voice in the back of my mind whispered hopefully "try it, this could work!"  And wouldn't you know, it was right!  These delicious little perfectly proportioned desserts brought all the comfort of dutch apple pie in a fraction of the time.  Now, I admit, I wasn't thinking this out while I was making it so some of the quantities may need to be adjusted for the ingredients.  But believe me, once I gobbled this up I made every effort to recall the information as precisely as possible.  So here we go:

6 Gala Apples
4 tbsp softened butter
6 tbsp flour
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F

1. Cut the apples in half around the middle.  Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds/core.  It's ok if it goes slightly through the bottom, just don't make a giant hole or all the delicious pie top goodness will escape while baking.

2.  In a medium sized bowl combine the butter, flour, and brown sugar.  It should look a bit crumbly but be even in texture throughout.  Don't fret about perfection, just get it all mixed in there.

3.  Line the apple halves up in a deep baking dish and top with equal amounts of the crumble mixture.  Place the baking dish in the oven carefully so that none of the topping goes overboard.  Bake for approximately 30 min or until the tops are sizzling, looking melted, and getting a touch of golden brown in color.

4.  Allow to cool for about 10 min, top with whipped cream or caramel sauce, and enjoy!  Store in the fridge and enjoy the leftovers at room temperature or heated a bit in the microwave.

One bite and I was happily transported back to the holidays and my mom's amazing dutch apple pie.  Not a substitute by any means, but certainly a delicious option for the rest of the year.  This is a fantastic weeknight dish to toss into the oven when serving dinner that will be ready just about when everyone's finishing up and looking around hopefully for dessert.  The leftovers also make a nice addition to lunches, a somewhat healthy way to indulge at work or at school just when you need that sort of escape.  I hope that you give this quick, easy dessert a try and find it as delicious as I do.  Enjoy!

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