As I’m sure most of you know, one of the traditions of Rosh Hashana is to eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize the sweetness of the new year. I personally like to make apple based desserts to incorporate this tradition further into the meal. While my Apple honey up-side down cake is pretty darn tasty, I though I would do something that really allows the apples center stage. I’ve also been on a fig binge. They are in the peak of their season right now and I’ve been finding all sorts of varieties, from California green to the black missions. Now, as if in an effort to slowly torture me, there is a fig tree right at my front door, and while it looks amazing, the fruit is all but inedible to anyone but the squirrels, so unfortunately I have to get mine from the store like everyone else. As Gordon pointed out in his last post, the fig is one of the Seven Species of Israel, and it is the first literal plant named in the Torah, when Adam and Eve used the leaves of a fig tree to cover their suddenly noticed nakedness. This sound very uncomfortable to me, as those leaves are prickly, but I’ll take the fruit anytime.
recipe after the break
Thanks to Gordon I now have online access to the Cooks Illustrated archives and adapted a recipes I found there. The Cooks Illustrated recipe calls for dried figs and maple syrup but I replaced those with fresh figs and honey for the holiday. I choose mission figs because I though the dark color provided a nice contract to the apples but any variety will do. The recipe calls for 7 apples; 6 are left whole and 1 is diced and added to the filling. Serve the apples with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Honey Baked Apples with Figs and Macadamia Nuts
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
- 7 large (about 6 ounces each) Granny Smith apples
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup figs , diced
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup water or apple juice
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cut 1 apple into 1/4-inch dice. Combine 5 tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, figs, macadamia nuts, oats, cinnamon, diced apple, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
- Shave thin slice off bottom (blossom end) of remaining 6 apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off stem end of apples and reserve. Peel apples and use melon baller or small measuring spoon to remove 1½-inch diameter core, being careful not to cut through bottom of apple.
- Melt remaining tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick ovensafe skillet over medium heat. Once foaming subsides, add apples, stem-side down, and cook until cut surface is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip apples, reduce heat to low, and spoon filling inside, mounding excess filling over cavities; top with reserved apple caps. Add honey and 1/3 cup water or juice to skillet. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake until skewer inserted into apples meets little resistance, 35 to 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with honey mixture in skillet.
- Pour sauce over apples and serve plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.