Baking fruit introduces a strengthening energy that is the perfect complement to the strong sweetness that is the nature of fruit. Eating a lot of raw fruit can leave us feeling tired, weak, and chilled. Fruit is mostly sugar and water. Cooking, especially baking, introduces the vitality of fire for strength and warmth, gentles the sugars, and creates a satisfying sweet dessert. In this dish, the nuts add lots of energy, providing a balancing counterpoint to the relaxed fruit. Now you know why fruit and nuts go so well together.
Makes 6 servings
6 large apples, (Delicious, Golden Delicious, or Rome)
1 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
About 6 tablespoons fruit-sweetened apricot preserves
6 whole pecans
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 teaspoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
Core apples, but do not peel. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each apple so it will sit flat. With a sharp paring knife, make a 1-inch-wide x 1-inch-deep hollow in the top of each apple. Arrange apples in a deep baking dish.
Coarsely mince pecan pieces, raisins, and coconut. Mix together in a medium bowl. Stir in rice syrup, lemon and orange zests, and ginger. Fill hollow of each apple abundantly with pecan mixture. Spoon a dollop of preserves over top of each apple, and press a whole pecan on top of preserves.
Combine apple juice and oil in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice. Spoon into the baking dish around apples. Cover loosely with foil.
Bake, basting every 10 minutes with the juice, about 35 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with any remaining juices spooned over top.