The Jewish New Year is celebrated tomorrow, and this brings back memories of traditional foods, even to an agnostic such as myself. One of the culinary traditions for this event, is to dip a slice of apple in honey, and eat it as a symbol for a sweet New Year. Plenty other sweet dishes are added to the table as well, in order to emphasize this hope for a sweet New Year.
The following dessert was inspired by this tradition.
On top of the traditional apple/honey combination, I chose to spice up the filling with cinnamon and vanilla, and added golden raisins, almond flour, and almond extract to it, for more layers of aroma, flavor and texture. I also used nutty brown butter to brush the dough, which enhanced the almond flavor and aroma in the filling. The outer crispy buttery filo worked beautifully with the soft, sweet and aromatic filling. Served with fresh sliced apples, and drizzled with more honey, these filo purses make a wonderful dessert, that can be served any time of the year. Try it and enjoy. Happy and sweet New Year to all!
* If using frozen filo dough, make sure to defrost it slowly in the fridge overnight. This keeps the sheets flexible.
* Filo dough comes in different thicknesses, which are marked by numbers. Here I’ve used #4, which stands for thin delicate sheets. If you’re still new to using filo, you may prefer using thicker dough (#7).
* For instructions on how to clarify brown butter, check under “How To” page, for photos of the process. Another option is to use light oil.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
½ lbs (225 grams) Filo sheets (see notes)
½ cup clarified brown butter (see notes)
For the filling:
2 Tbs butter, cut into cubes
4 cups medium cubed peeled semi- tart apples (from about 6 medium apples)
1/3 cup golden raisins
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/3 cup almond flour
2 drops of almond extract
¼ cup honey (preferably orange blossom)
1-2 Tbs fine bread crumbs
Honey (preferably orange blossom)
1. In a large pan, mix the butter, cut apples, raisins, sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook, mixing occasionally, until the apples soften and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the almond flour and almond extract, and mix gently. Cook for 1-s minutes, add the honey and mix gently. Depending on the amount of liquids, add 1-2 Tbs breadcrumbs, mix well and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the liquids thicken. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
3. Cut the dough in half, into rectangles, about 6.3” (16 cm) X 9” (23 cm). Place one dough sheet over lightly oiled work surface and brush it with the clarified butter. Repeat with three more layers.
4. Place the oiled dough over a muffin pan, and press it gently into one cup. Fill with generous amount of the filling, and fold the dough, from all sides towards the center, pressing it gently but tightly, to create a “purse”. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Once done, brush with a bit more clarified butter all over.
5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the dough is golden-brown. Keep in the pan for 5 minutes, before releasing gently to a serving dish.
6. Serve warm, or at room temperature, drizzled with honey, with sliced apples on the side.