Apple of my Eye – Baked Apples

Apple of my Eye – Baked Apples

“If one out of ten Americans planted 2 fruit trees, the world would be richer by nearly 6 billion pounds of fruit.” – Rosalind Creasy, Champion of edible landscaping

Think about it… with that surplus of fruit, we could have a whole network of national fruit swapping going on…

Backyard Georgia apple growers could swap with their Florida citrus neighbors – Tennessee figs swapped for Washington cherries – Oregon pears for California avocados. We would be flush with fruit.

It’s now Apple Season here in the North Georgia Mountains. The orchards are hanging full, the houses are bursting at the seams, and the roads are packed with Georgians out for their Apple Fix.

But, if you’re heading this way, be prepared to wait at some of the more popular houses. Lines will be long, but believe me, there are plenty of apples to go around. It’s been a very good year at the orchards.

And, if you’ve never made the trip to the area, here are some of the better houses to stop… and what to expect when you get there. This is by no means a full list, just the one’s I have personal experiences with.

Oh… if you’d rather just get to the recipes… scroll past the Apple Houses.

Mack ~ Aaron Apple House
8955 Highway 52 East Ellijay, Ga. 30536
You can find 8 to 10 varieties of locally grown apples from their own orchards. Mack Aarons is a “No Frills” kind of apple house. Family owned and operated. They carry a full selection of  ciders, jams, jellies and probably the best fried pies of all the apple houses. On weekends they are also cooking up fresh pork skins and boiled peanuts out on the grounds. No Pick Your Own.

Hillcrest Orchards 
9696 Highway 52 East, Ellijay, GA 30540.
More tourist destination than anything else. Fully operational apple house and orchard with petting zoo, goats, country store, demonstrations, and a Pick your Own area. Lines are usually very long on weekends – so be patient.

B.J. Reece Apple House   
9131 Hwy 52 East, Ellijay, GA 30536.
Well kept wholesale / retail operation with a large selection of  apples from their own orchards. Reece has a large, well organized Pick Your Own orchard and a small country store inside the house.

Aaron’s Apple House
52 East Ellijay, GA 30536. 
No Frills apple house. The operation is clean and the staff  is knowledgeable and very helpful.
No Pick Your Own

Hudson Orchard
8036 Hwy 52 East, Ellijay, GA 30540.
Old style apple house set in a white clapboard shop. They carry a good variety of apples, pies and southern jams and jellies.
No Pick Your Own

R & A Orchards
5505 Highway 52 east, east Ellijay, GA
Well run full service apple house with a bakery, juice press, inside eating areas and a large shopping area.
They usually have a selection of other seasonal vegetables in addition to the apples.
Well established and well organized Pick Your Own Orchard

Penland’s Apple House
Hwy 515 Bypass, Ellijay, GA 30540
Penland’s has been around forever. Their newer location just outside Ellijay on HWY515 has plenty of on site parking, a large shopping area, fried pies and a well stocked country store.

Red Apple Barn
3379 Tailscreek Road. Ellijay, GA 30540.
Relatively small operation west of town. Check before you go as operating hours tend to be a little inconsistent.

If you are looking for an orchard near you, I’ve located a search site called Orange Pippin that culls out all the garbage and helps you locate the best orchards and apples in your area. You can find them HERE
Baked Apples were always a fall treat at our house. Bright red crisp apples packed with brown sugar, butter cinnamon and nutmeg served piping hot out of the oven. It’s better than pie…without all that bothersome crust to deal with.
With our bag of Pink Lady Apples, I decided to change things up this year. We’re doing a sweet and a savory apple.
Baked Apples
with Dates and Pistachios
The recipe is for 2 apples –  double or triple to fit your needs
2 Medium to Large  Apples – More to the Tart Side
2 Tablespoons Pistachio Nut Meat
4 Dates
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Teaspoons Butter
Melon Baller
Pyrex Baking Dish
Tin Foil
Preheat the oven to 350
  • Core the apples 2/3 of the way deep – leaving the bottom of the apple intact
  • Rough chop the dates and nuts
  • Pack each cavity with 1/2 of the date / nut mixture
  • Top each with 1 teaspoon of butter and drizzle  a tablespoon of honey into each opening
  • Sprinkle the tops with nutmeg
  • Place the prepared apples in the baking dish and tent with tin foil
  • Bake at 250 for  45 min to 1 hour – or until the sides of the apples give easily when pricked
  • Remove and drizzle a little extra honey over the top and serve immediately
Savory Baked Apples 
With Gruyere and Bacon
Recipe is for one apple. Increase the amounts to fit your needs
1 Large Apple
1 Strip Salt Cured Bacon (Not Maple Flavored)
1/2 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese  – divided
1 Shallot – Minced
Black Pepper to Taste
Melon Baller
Pyrex Baking Dish
Tin Foil
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Core the apples 2/3 of the way deep – leaving the bottom of the apple intact
  • Finely chop the bacon and mix with half of the gruyere and the minced shallots
  • Stuff the mixture into the cavity packing down as much as possible
  • Season the top with pepper and nutmeg
  • Place in the baking dish and tent with foil
  • Bake at 350 for  45 minutes to 1 hour – or until the sides of the apple give easily
  • Remove from the oven and set to broil
  • Carefully slice the apple in half and place back in the baking dish cut side up
  • Top with the rest of the grated cheese and place under the broiler until the gruyere is browned and bubbling.
  • Can be served hot out of the oven  or at room temperature

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6 thoughts on “Apple of my Eye – Baked Apples

  1. I so love baked apples but have never had the savoury ones…I am going to have to give this one a try! I just know the Boy will love it as well!

  2. @janet@cupcakestocaviar I usually make a variety when I bake them, too :)Janet, I checked into orchards "close to you". You're right they are a couple of hours away.. but its about the same as for people in Atlanta coming up to the mountains in distance. The 2 I found were :1. Melody Orchard in Rogersville, TNand2. Haneys Appledale Farm in Nancy, KYBoth are open at least through the rest of this Month and Haney open through December.Hope you can make it!

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