Nothing says “it’s fall” quite like the smell of baked apples wafting from the oven!Victoria Drey
I do not exaggerate when stating that apples are by far the leading fruits in Slavic culture. As a symbol of health, love and fertility, the apple was of great importance on the dining table during important ritual events and ceremonies such as engagement, a church wedding and almost all holidays.
Literally dozens of ways to cook and use apples have been known since the days of Ancient Rus; for example, drying, sousing, fermenting and many more. This might be because the apple crop in Russia has always been plentiful and people could not eat it all. So, they were forced to find ways for creative cooking. What about baked apples – another popular way of preserving fruit in Russian cuisine. Initially they were used as a garnish for meat courses, such as roast goose stuffed with apples, but then they were recognized as a separate dish with a signature flavor and numerous benefits because they are dietary, hypoallergenic and nutritious.
The easiest way to bake apples is simply cutting them in halves or quarters, and then bake in the oven or microwave for 10-15 minutes. By adding some sort of filling you transform it from just a quick snack to a full breakfast or a healthy and low-calorie dessert. The stuffing for the apples may be different: the most classic is a mixture of tvorog (Russian type of cottage cheese or curd) with honey, nuts and raisins. It is also great to add some sour types of berries like cowberry, oatmeal and dried fruits.
Another nice thing about this recipe is that it is not seasonal at all: you can easily find the ingredients all year round. But I especially love using fresh fall apples as they have the richest and naturally full flavor and texture.
1. Firstly, you need to cut out holes in the apples. Using a sharp small knife, core each apple making a well in the center and leaving the bottom intact – make sure to scoop out all the seeds. For this recipe I prefer the more sourish kind of apples as they give a richer sweet and sour taste after baking.
2. Now move to the filling: mix tvorog or curd with honey and berries – feel free to use frozen ones.
3. Finely chop a handful of nuts with a knife.
4. Add nuts into the filling and stir the mixture.
5. Stuff each apple with the filling to the brim, then dust the tops with cinnamon.
6. Place the apples onto a baking dish covered with a sheet of foil or baking paper, and bake at 190°C for around 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the apples.
7. The apples are ready when juicy and soft on the sides. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute and serve warm.
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