Fall brings apples: hot mulled apple cider, apple dumplings from market stands in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, cinnamon-scented applesauce.
But my heart is set on plump apples, stuffed with sticky-sweet caramel-like dates, crispy walnuts, cinnamon and spicy black cardamom, then baked until tender, and topped with cream.
This extremely simple recipe can be pulled together in five minutes, but it will perfume your house with the smell of fall for hours to come.
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men . . .
Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
Song of Solomon 2:3-5
Apples and Raisins: Nourishing Foods for Ancient Lovers
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read accounts of food in ancient texts, particularly in the Old and New Testament. The descriptions of the foods are like a long thread that ties me to the people who walked my land and my faith before me.
After digging out the soft cores of apples, I reached into the cupboard for some dried fruits to stuff into the apples, and those words from the book Song of Solomon whispered in my ear: strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. This passage is from the sensual Song of Solomon, a beautiful song-like book that portrays the passionate desire between two ancient lovers. Some translations of this text use the phrase "raisin cakes" instead of raisins, because that was the common use for raisins. Raisin and dates were pressed into cakes, mixed together with walnuts or almonds, honey, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, and these cakes were a staple in their diet, as they are a quick source of long-lasting energy, portable, and shelf-stable. These stuffed apples echo the flavors of that world.
Ancient Lovers Aside, I'll Take a Baked Apple Any Time of the Day
This is a simple, nourishing dessert, a perfect way to end a fall meal, as a mid-day snack or a even a simple breakfast. I like to top these apples with a little cultured cream, but they would also be delicious with whipped cream, or ice cream. Softly cooked fruit stews, served with cream makes for a very traditional and nourishing snack, especially for anyone who is (like me) following Ramiel Nagel's tooth healing protocol, laid out in his book, Cure Tooth Decay.
Baked Apples with Spiced Date-Nut FillingScale up for additional apples.
1 apple, washed and cored, with skin removed from around opening
1 dried large Mejdool date, or two smaller dates, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp. walnuts
Generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Scant sprinkle of ground black cardamom
Dash of sea salt
vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix together filling of dates, walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Stuff into cored apples. Place into a baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how soft you like your apples.
Serve warm or cold, or room temperature with any toppings you desire, but these are also sweet and satisfying as they are.
*Honeyed Date Nut Muffins with Orange Cinnamon Honey Butter
*How to Make Cultured Cream
Shared on: Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesdays, Thank Your Body Thursday, Homeacre Hop, Tasty Traditions, Unprocessed Fridays, Fight Back Friday, Fat Tuesday