This dessert would make a lovely addition to a Rosh Hashanah celebration, especially if drizzled with a touch of honey, which is traditionally served with apples to symbolize the hope for a sweet year to come. The honey could be added to the syrup (in place of or alongside the brown sugar), with which the apples are drizzled.
BAKED APPLES WITH DATES AND PECANS
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup pitted and finely diced Medjool dates
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 baking apples, such as Pink Lady, Pippin, or McIntosh
1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
2 cups unfiltered apple juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cool water
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the pecans, dates, orange zest and juice, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt.
3. Core the apples, leaving a half-inch at the bottom, and peel the top edges. Stuff the apples with the pecan filling, then brush the tops with the melted butter, if using.
4. Arrange the apples in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Add the apple juice to the bottom of the dish, then cover it tightly with foil. Bake until the apples are tender (but not mushy) when pierced with a fork, about 35 to 45 minutes.
5. Transfer the apples to serving plates.
6. Transfer the juices in the baking dish to a small saucepan over medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the brown sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.
7. In a small glass, mix the cornstarch and water. Add the mixture to the saucepan, then heat until thickened. Serve the apples drizzled with the thickened sauce. Makes 4 servings.