As we enjoyed the last few days of our Germany adventure in November we stayed in Mannheim, at the Mercure Hotel. It was a great choice for dinner that first night we arrived, too. I ordered roast duck, with the traditional accompaniment of potatoes but no red cabbage, instead there was a marzipan apple. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir, can’t recall which German label, to pair with it. As this was probably the eighth dinner of duck, I quit taking photos of my meals. Alas, I wish I would have taken that one for posterity as it has been one for the memory books.
Dinner was fabulous, wine paired well and tasted great. But I was hooked on the marzipan apple at first bite. The server conveyed my request for the recipe to the kitchen and I had it (in beautiful German hand writing) before we were halfway through our meal.
Back home I translated the few German words I wasn’t sure about (good thing since what I thought was a large measure is really a small one) and prepared to make them to go with our Christmas dinner of pork loin. I was sure I had everything I needed once I picked up the marzipan and the orange. But it took a little doing to find the raisins, exactly the amount I needed, I just knew I had. When I did ‘find’ them they resembled petrified berries (school didn’t give me much time to bake) all the better as they were more concentrated! A week before Christmas I mixed all of the ingredients, except the marzipan, and put it in the fridge in hopes the pebbly raisins would soften and contribute to the sauce. It was a successful risk, and oh, so yummy tasting already.
Although the recipe indicated only ten minutes cooking time it didn’t get as soft as my first experience in that time, so I played with it until I got it right. Yup, I have eaten a lot of marzipan apples just to bring you this incredible recipe. Which, by the way, when I looked to see what was commonly out there that might be similar didn’t find THIS recipe. Most have a sweet sauce on top that didn’t enthuse me at all. My choice is a tart apple, like a Granny Smith, to balance the citrus and nut sweetness. A sweeter apple would be fine, but not too sweet (in my opinion) as the filling would be over powered. Of course, the existing public recipes add a sweet sauce, so maybe I am just not fond of the super sweet. If you give it a try with a sweet apple, let me know how it goes. OK?
1 orange, zest and juice
1 vanilla pod, slice and scrape seeds (you can use a teaspoon of real vanilla extract to replace)
1/4 cup, shy (30 grams) chopped raisins (can use other dried fruit chopped small – i.e. cranberries, cherries, or other berries)
2 tablespoons Rum
1 pinch cinnamon
200 gram package Marzipan (top shelf in the baking isle of the grocery store)
10 apples, my choice are Granny Smith
Mix together the orange through the cinnamon and let sit for an hour, up to a week.
Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees when ready to bake your apples. Knead in the marzipan for a wet paste consistency.
Slice apples in half either direction, scoop out the core and score around the edges of the apple, including the skin, to allow it to settle into the muffin cup as it cooks. Not slicing it is fine, but it helps when eating the finished apple too. Reduce heat to 225 F degrees as you put the apples into the oven for one hour. Beginning with a hot oven and cooking at a low temp seems to give the best texture to the apples. (With softer apples, you will have to watch as the apples will cook faster.) Serve warm. This worked very well with the Pinot Noir I had with my dinner, but would have done quite well with an off-dry Riesling as well.
I would think, for you ice cream fans, a vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt would be well paired. Consider it a gluten free apple pie if you don’t do gluten? I have kept the filling in the fridge for up to a month with no problem. It just seems to get better with time actually. So surprise your honey on Valentine’s Day with this healthy dessert splurge and store the rest of the filling for another time.
Fuit, nuts, and spices, some of my favorite foods, it isn’t a surprise I am smitten with this recipe. It goes with us to dinner with friends, family gatherings and I make it for myself when I am home alone rather than cook a full meal as both halves are filling. As Spring gets going I will probably give up my habit until next Autumn when we have fresh local apples again. Hope you enjoy it as much as me! Cheers!