A cider-and-apple-glazed pork crown roast.

A cider-and-apple-glazed pork crown roast. Credit: Marge Perry

This is what one might call a statement roast. Bring it out to the holiday table to oohs and ahhhs — it tells the world that this is a glorious meal on a special day.

A crown roast is more than a stunning centerpiece: beyond it’s good looks, the spice rubbed crust and the warm sweet glaze ensure every bite is delicious. And let’s not leave out the appeal of chunky apples tossed with savory sage and cinnamon, roasted with the meat in a partnership of shared flavors.

Chances are you will need to order your crown roast in advance, which you can do at many grocery stores as well as specialty markets and butchers. A typical crown roast of pork is made up of two 8-rib racks, (which will likely weigh between 8 and 9 pounds) but can be as small as 13 ribs. The butcher will tie them to form the crown. Figure on 1 ½ ribs per person.

The glaze may be made days ahead; the roast may be covered in the spice rub one day ahead. The apples may be sliced and tossed with the seasoning once the roast is in the oven. Speaking of which: the aroma of the roast cooking is the perfect holiday perfume for your home.

Cider-Maple Glazed Crown Roast of Pork

1 16-rib crown roast of pork

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick

5 Golden Delicious apples, 2 1/2 pounds, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Rub the pork all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Combine the rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the cider, maple syrup and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it is thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast for 30 minutes; brush with half the cider mixture. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast another 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, apples, brown sugar, sage, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl.

6. Remove the pork from the oven, brush with the remaining cider mixture and fill the center with the apples. Arrange the remaining apple wedges around the roast on the baking sheet. Return the pork to the oven and roast 30 minutes longer. Brush the apples and pork with any pan juices. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the roast (not touching a bone) registers 145°F, about 20-25 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 10-15 minutes.

7. To serve, remove the string from around the roast and transfer the apples to a serving platter. Cut the roast between the bones into chops and spoon any pan juices over pork.