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Apples comes in 2,500 variations. Apples are jammed with antioxidants and flavonoids, both considered important parts of a healthy diet. They also are an excellent source of pectin, a natural fiber. This time of year, apples often are best enjoyed unadorned, straight from the tree.
Honey baked apples can be a real treat, especially on Rosh Hashanah. Either way, try not to remove the skin, because that’s the best source of the apple’s pectin and other nutrients. In this recipe, apples are combined with nutritious nuts and the flavors of orange and cinnamon to create warm and comforting baked apples filled with dates and pecans. To toast the chopped pecans, which enhances their nuttiness, place them in a small, dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until they are lightly browned and fragrant, three to five minutes. 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.
In a small bowl, stir together pecans, dates, orange zest and juice, 1 ml ( 1/4 tsp) of the cinnamon and salt. Core apples, leaving 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) at the bottom, and peel top edges. Stuff apples with pecan filling, then brush tops with melted butter, if using. Arrange apples in an 2-l (8-inch) square baking dish. Add apple juice to bottom of dish, then cover it tightly with foil. Bake until apples are tender (but not mushy) when pierced with a fork, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer apples to serving plates. If desired, place plated apples in oven (with heat turned off) to keep warm. Transfer juices in baking dish to a small saucepan over medium. Simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add brown sugar and remaining 2 ml ( 1/2 tsp) of cinnamon. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. In a small glass, mix cornstarch and water. Add mixture to saucepan, then heat until thickened. Serve apples drizzled with thickened sauce.
Now, sing with me “Dip the Apple in the Honey, Make a Blessing Loud and Clear, Have a Happy Sweet New Year”.