I have a love/hate relationship with New Jersey. No left turns, crummy cities and not being able to pump your own gas are all off-set, by beautiful farm land, dense forestry and a picturesque shoreline. I always dreaded going to Jersey for work. It’s just kind of a crummy drive. Oh, that reminds me, let’s add the NJ Turnpike to the “hate” column. I digress. I started to fall in love with New Jersey when I visited the small community of Farmingdale. It’s about 45 minutes east of Trenton and 2 hours south of NYC. It’s got a sleepy main street and I had a customer there.
One day, I was there for lunch and decided to take a little jaunt down Main Street. I happened upon a place called Harvest. To put it kindly, eating on the road typically BLOWS. Harvest does NOT. It’s low-key, locally sourced, seasonal cuisine. I never had a bad meal there (I ate there often), but my absolute favorite dish is the Mascarpone Apples. It is perfect in its simplicity. Literally, it’s apples, mascarpone, honey and cinnamon. I knew I could easily make this dish at home and I did. I made my version of mascarpone apples for every party, shower, and sit-down dinner I hosted. I experimented with apples, presentation and toppings. It’s so versatile; slices make great hors d’oeuvres, baked apples make beautiful personal desserts. My kids love them and any foodie will appreciate the simplicity and richness of this dish.
- 4 Apples (I use Gala or Granny Smith)
- 1/2 lemon (for baked apples, only)
- Honey, to taste
- Sugar, 1 Tbsp
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Mascarpone Mixture
- Mascarpone, 8 oz.
- Sugar, 1 Tbsp
- Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp
If you’re making baked apples, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and slice apples in half, vertically. Remove any seeds. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle sugar over the top of them. You’ll also sprinkle cinnamon (to taste). Take the ½ lemon and squeeze gently over the apples. You don’t want to get all of the juice out, just a little for each apple. Place the dish in the oven for about 25 minutes and once the apples are done, let them sit for 10 minutes.
If you just want slices, get to slicing your apples horizontally, making 1/4″ slices (should be about 5-6 slices/apple) and lay on a flat serving tray. Don’t forget to get rid of the seeds!
Either way, you’re going to need to make the mascarpone mixture, simply put the mascarpone in a small bowl and whip in sugar and vanilla until it’s fluffy. You can add more sugar for a sweeter mixture. Don’t forget to taste test after each addition (YUM!). Add a dollop of mascarpone mixture to each of your baked apples/slices and then sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Finally, drizzle with honey and serve! To spruce it up, you could add toasted coconut, walnuts or crumbled graham crackers.
Can you smell that?! It smells even better than you’re imagining…get to baking!