Remove the core from each apple without cutting all the way through, forming a hollow 2/3 inch to 1 inch in diameter. Remove the peel from the upper quarter of each apple. (If you are preparing the apples in advance, brush them with lemon juice to prevent discoloring.)
Place the apples in a baking dish. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Remove the small seeds with the back of a knife and rub the exposed flesh of the apples with the seeds. Dust the flesh with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Cut the half beans in two and place one in each apple. (The beans will perfume the apples nicely as they cook.) Fill the apples with the lingonberries. There will not be room for all the berries, so scatter the rest of them around the apples in the dish. Top off the berries with the rest of the sugar (if you are using preserves, no more sugar is needed).
Bake on the lowest oven rack for 45 minutes, or until tender, spooning the cooking juices over the apples once or twice. Serve warm, with whipped cream, if desired. Remove the vanilla bean before eating.