Prep 45 mins
Cook 30 mins
- 1⁄3 cup pitted dates, firmly packed
- 1⁄4 cup light honey
- 1⁄4 cup pecans, cut into small pieces
- 1 large lemon, rind of
- 1⁄4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 large baking apples (preferably Rome Beauty)
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick)
- 2⁄3 cup maple syrup
- 1⁄3 cup boiling water
- Position oven rack 1/3 up from bottom of oven; preheat to 400°.
- Have ready a shallow baking dish that measures 11x8 inches.
- With scissors, cut the dates into small pieces ( ¼ to ½ inch).
- In a bowl, combine the dates, honey, pecans, and lemon rind; set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the crumbs with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside.
- Wash the apples; with a vegetable peeler, peel the top third of each apple.
- With an apple corer, remove the cores from the stem end to about ¾ of the way down; do not cut through the bottoms.
- With a pastry brush, brush the peeled part of the apples with the melted butter and, after you brush each one, roll it in the crumbs to coat the buttered part (you will have some leftover butter and crumbs; reserve them).
- Place the apples in the baking dish; using a small spoon, fill the apples with the date mixture.
- Using your fingertips, press it firmly down into the holes in the apples; then mound some of the mixture on top of the apples.
- All the remaining crumb mixture should be sprinkled over the apples and/or placed in the baking dish.
- Pour the reserved butter into the dish over the crumbs.
- Pour the maple syrup and boiling water in the baking dish around the apples over the crumbs and butter.
- Bake for about 30 minutes; baste several times with the maple syrup mixture, or spoon it slowly over the apples.
- Test the apples with a cake tester and bake only until they are just barely tender.
- By the time the apples are done, the sauce should be thick and darkly caramelized.
- Set aside and serve warm or at room temperature or refrigerated.