Baked apples are an old fashioned dish. But when turned savory and used as a side provide a modern twist. The crisp apple flavor pairs well with shallots and garlic as a side and the dried fruits with pomegranate are a home-run for a simple dessert. Perhaps most importantly, the cook is not frenzied as these apples can be made several days ahead of serving and store in the refrigerator.


Baked Apples with Dates And Apricots
Serves 6

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
3 tablespoons best-quality honey
3/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Riesling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 large, firm apples, cored

1. Preheat oven to 148 C.

2. Pulse dates and apricots in a food processor 10 to 12 times, until fruits are chopped and clumping together. You don’t want them to form a smooth paste. Transfer fruit to a bowl and stir in pomegranate molasses, honey, 1/4 cup of the wine, and cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

3. Stuff mixture into cored apples. You should have enough stuffing to generously stuff apples and have some stuffing “pop” out of top of apples.

4. Place apples in a baking dish and pour remaining 1/2 cup wine around apples. Bake apples until they are soft and fairly wrinkly, 30 to 45 minutes. Occasionally, spoon some of the wine and juices onto the apples so they do not dry out.

5. Serve apples warm or at room temperature with some of the cooking juice spooned around the apples.


Baked Apples With Shallots And Herbs
Serves 6

6 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
3 tablespoons best-quality honey
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
6 large firm apples, cored

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1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and lightly coat bottom of pan with olive oil. Sauté shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary and continue to cook until garlic is tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 148 C

3. Pulse cherries and figs in a food processor 10 to 12 times, until fruits are chopped and clumping together. You don’t want them to form a smooth paste. Transfer fruit to a bowl and stir in shallot mixture, pomegranate molasses, honey and 1/4 cup of the wine.

4. Stuff mixture into cored apples. You should have enough stuffing to generously stuff apples and have some stuffing “pop” out of top of apples.

5. Place apples in a baking dish and pour remaining 1/2 cup wine around apples. Bake apples until they are soft and fairly wrinkly, 30 to 45 minutes. Occasionally, spoon some of the wine and juices onto the apples so they do not dry out.

6. Serve apples warm or at room temperature with some of the cooking juices spooned around them.

Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish.

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