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Regional Jewish Foods: Spain

Black Apples with Almonds & Raisins

Originating in Spain, this is a traditional food of Rosh HaShanah:

6 large apples, for baking
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter*, melted and cooled
85 gr. blanched almonds, lightly toasted and ground
3 Tbsp. raisins
3 Tbsp. light rum
3 egg yolks
lemon juice as required

In a small saucepan, mix together the rum and raisins with 5 Tbsp. of water. Heat gently until warm. Remove from the heat and let stand.

Peel and core the apples, leaving a base of about 1/2" (1 cm.) at the bottom and a hollowed cylinder of 1 1/2" (4 cm.) in diameter. Rub the apples with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks, 6 Tbsp. of the sugar, the almonds and the butter. Drain the raisins - reserving the liquid - and add them to the egg mixture.

Fill each apple with about 2 Tbsp. of the filling. Place them in a shallow ovenproof pan and pour in the liquid reserved from the raisins. Pour in another 1/2 cup of water and the remaining sugar. Bake in a medium oven, basting occasionally and adding more water if the pan dries out. Cover and bake about 15 minutes longer until the apples are tender. Serve hot or warm.

* If serving the apples with a meat-based meal, substitute parve margarine for the butter.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry and Rogov's Ramblings. Reprinted with permission.

Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.