If you have a nagging need to apply heat to apples before enjoying it, try steaming for a change. Cooking and baking cultivars such as Granny Smith Apples can be steamed with good results, changing its distinctive crispness into a spoonable consistency. Steaming also intensifies the flavor of apples while retaining much of its fresh taste, and more importantly, its nutrients. There has to be some truth to that old saying, right?
Sweet red bean paste complements the tartness of Granny Smiths in this traditional Shanghai recipe for stuffed and steamed apples. Unlike steamed peaches with honey dates, in which the ingredients combine into a syrupy whole, the apples and red bean paste stay separate because of the firmer fruit. Enjoy the apples with a bit of the sweet filling in each spoonful.
recipe adapted from Eileen Yin-fei Lo’s The Chinese Kitchen
Apples Steamed with Sweet Azuki (Red Bean) Paste
makes 4 servings
4 firm Granny Smith apples
8 tablespoons azuki (red bean) paste
- a large bowl containing 6 cups of cold water and 3 tablespoons of vinegar
- a melon baller
- 4 ramekins
- Replace the azuki bean paste with mashed dried or fresh fruits, jams or preserves, or other sweet purees.
Slice off the tops of the apples about a quarter of the way from the top. Place the apples in the bowl of vinegar water as each is sliced.
Using a melon baller, scoop out the core of the apple to remove all of the seeds and create a cavity for the azuki bean paste. Place the apples in the vinegar water as each is cored.
Place the apples in ramekins or steam-proof bowls with high sides. Fill the cored apples with the azuki bean paste, about 2 tablespoons for each apple. Replace the apple tops to cover.
Steam the apples in an aluminum or bamboo steamer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until slightly soft to the touch.
Serve warm or chilled.