Bread & Baking

Roasted Apples with Hazelnut, Bitter Chocolate, and Lemon Zest

Serves 6

6 firm baking apples (such as Granny Smith)
¼ cup sugar, divided
¼ cup (1/2 stick) soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 teaspoons finely grated or minced lemon zest
2/3 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 Ounces (1/3 cup) chopped dark chocolate
1 ½ cups sweet Marsala wine, divided

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Butter a small dish, about 8 by 10 inches. Slice a thin layer off the bottom of the apples to create a base to stand while cooking. Slice ½ inch off the tops of the apples, and set aside. Peel the apple, and scrape out an inch-diameter core from each apple with a small spoon, without cutting through the bottom. Mix together 3 tablespoons of the sugar with butter, lemon zest, hazelnuts, and chocolate and pour into the center of the apples. Drizzle the apples with ¾ cup of the Marsala, and cover them with their tops. Pour the rest of the Marslaa over the apples and sprinkle them with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake for 45 minutes, basting the apples with the hot Marsla a few times during their roasting. The apples are done when a toothpick can be inserted into them easily. Serve warm, with Marsla spoon over the apples and whipped cream on the side (optional).