Ask Jen about her non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert

Autumn wreath

This year, it’s my sister-in-law’s turn in the kitchen for the big day. It’s her first one with the entire lot of us (eek!). Thanksgiving with our family is the very definition of traditional; Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, fresh biscuits, pumpkin pie, all the fixings – complete with football. We are the typical American family on that final Thursday in November.

We have the quintessential Thanksgiving … until it’s time for the dessert. Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s plenty of pumpkin pie, but we have a member of our family who is now gluten-free and can’t have the pie (the pie crust is the culprit here). We have yet tThanksgiving table (aerial view)o find a gluten-free pie crust recipe that can hold a candle to my mom’s regular homemade pie crust. We’ve tried substituting gluten-free ingredients with no luck.

So we’ve decided to improvise. The apple pie in our house is just as famous as the pumpkin pie, so making a gluten-free alternative to apple pie was going to be a piece of cake. Or pie. (Oh, stop rolling your eyes at me, it was funny.)

slice of pumpkin pieNone of the guys in my family cook — unless it’s grilling season. So it was up to us women to find a suitable substitution that the whole family would want, let alone like. After careful consideration, we decided on a recipe that was given to us by my sister-in-law’s co-worker’s mother-in-law. That’s a lot of dashes! She assured us that these Maple Walnut Stuffed Baked Apples are fit for a Thanksgiving feast, and easy to make as well!

This will be our first time making the apples, so if you choose to try them, let me know how yours turn out!

Go make something awesome,

Maple Walnut Stuffed Baked Apples

basket of applesIngredients

  •    4 large crisp and firm cooking apples
  •    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  •    1/4 tsp cinnamon
  •    1/4 tsp nutmeg
  •    1/2 cup pure maple syrup (pure maple syrup is gluten-free)
  •    1 Tbsp butter
  •    1/2 cup apple cider (or apple juice)


  1. In our case, make sure the maple syrup and the apple cider is gluten-free.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  3. Wash, dry, and core the apples, leaving the bottom intact to form a ‘cup’ (make the hollow approximately 1 inch wide by 1-½ inch deep).
  4. Score the sides of the apples with small incisions in the skin. This will help the apple keep its shape in the baking. Save the apple tops if you wish.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the apple cider and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup. Set aside.
  6. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes in a pan over medium heat, stirring often to ensure they don’t burn. Remove from heat and cool.
  7. In a medium bowl, mix the remaining maple syrup, chopped walnuts, and spices.
  8. Place 1/4 tablespoon of butter at the bottom of the hollow in each apple. Top with walnuts and maple syrup mixture until it reaches the top of each apple.
  9. Place the apples in a small lidded oven-proof baking pan or Dutch oven. Pour the apple juice and syrup mixture around the apples, to pool at the bottom of the pan. If you saved the apple tops, place these next to the apples, in the juice mixture.
  10. Put a lid on the pan and bake in a 375°F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are completely tender. Be sure not to over-bake them or they may lose their shape and fall apart.

Serve hot or cold, with (gluten-free) vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or thick yogurt.

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