Updated: Apr 3
In this difficult time, when there is a dictator killing thousands of Ukrainians along with Russian military, my heart and my mind are with my Ukrainian family. Every morning, since February 24th starts with a text, checking to see if they are alive.
I am constantly thinking and praying about my home country, feeling very hopeless, but trusting God. What else can I do?
There is one other thing that all of us can do: Donating money for food and medical necessities can be our way of being of assistance. Here is a link on how to do it with just a few clicks. This particular blog is to honor my Ukrainian roots and to continue to share my home country's recipes.
Warm, juicy and slightly sweet baked apples are filled with creamy farmers cheese, dry tart cherries, honey, and a crispy nut topping. These baked apples are extra nutritious and make a delicious breakfast, a beautiful addition to your afternoon cup of tea or a light and gluten free dessert with some additional honey drizzled on top.
If you are an apple fanatic like I am, here is another great recipe, easy and light, called Inna's Apple-Pecan Strudel: Easy Homemade Dough Without Yeast.
For the last few weeks, I've been cooking, for my family, Ukrainian dishes I grew up on and especially the ones that give me comfort.
Today I want to share with you another great recipe from my childhood. My mom is not a baker, so all the sweets she has ever made for me were super simple and hardly required any time or a written recipe.
What do I need to make this recipe?
Just like many other Ukrainian foods, this recipe is not an exception for it's made from ingredients that usually are on hand and can be made in just 20-30 minutes. It was my favorite after school treat from my grandmother who I visited sometimes after school. Super simple and easy recipe that includes common ingredients in Ukrainian kitchens: apples, tart cherries, farmers cheese, walnuts, cream Fraiche (or sour cream), cinnamon and honey, we didn’t make ours too sweet, but you can change this by simply adding more honey.
In addition to this apple dish, one of my grandmother's specialties was stuffed cabbage. Please check out her absolutely great old fashioned and healthy for your gut Fermented Stuffed Cabbage Leaf Rolls with Chicken and Quinoa.
Apples in Ukraine
I'm from central Ukraine, the region that is rich in soil with apple orchards everywhere. Ukraine's apples are exported throughout Europe also to Singapore, Spain, Malaysia, Qatar and the Netherlands.
What about Farmers cheese, called Tvorog?
The traditional way to make tvorog is simple: let fresh, unpasteurized milk sour overnight and then heat it until curds form. This yields a soft, slightly sweet cheese but this method is unpredictable, as the curdling time can vary from batch to batch and sometimes takes many hours depending on your room temperature and the wild yeast in the air. Personally I, as well as most Ukrainians, add a little bit of kefir to sour the milk and ensure the rapid formation of curds. Kefir lends a sour tang that I love and there can never be too many good bacteria for your gut, right?
Please, visit this page, to see this method in detail.
How to substitute Farmers cheese
You can easily find farmers cheese in just about every supermarket, however, if you can't it's easy to make your own. Here is the recipe on how to do it, and you can learn how to make a baked cheesecake by using this cheese.
You can also use cottage or ricotta cheese. For the last two options, I recommend draining the liquid a little bit by placing the cheese in cheesecloth and letting it drain for a few hours.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Yield: 12 portions
6 green apples
1 lb. Farmers cheese
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons cream Fraiche or sour cream
3-4 tablespoons honey
1 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven 350F.
2. Wash and paper dry the apples. Cut in half, scoop the middle of the half out with a melon scooper. Cut on the back of each half just a tiny bit, enough that apple halves will be stable on a baking sheet.
3. In a bowl, mix together cheese, honey, butter, egg yolks, dried cherries (chop them if you wish into smaller pieces), and cinnamon. Mix all together.
4. Fill the apples with the cheese mixture.
5. Chop the walnuts and generously sprinkle them on top of each apple half.
6. Place the baking sheet with apples into the oven for 25-30 minutes.
7. Remove, and drizzle with additional honey, if you desire.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature!
For an extra special treat pair these apples with homemade Classic French Vanilla Ice Cream.