Apple Dolma

It’s autumn in North America which means the new crop of
apple varieties are readily available in the markets.

One of The Armenian Kitchen’s readers/contributors,
Lindsay Peckham, asked me to recommend an apple that would best suit the apple
recipe she wished to make from the AGBU’s cookbook, ‘Treasured Armenian
The Peckham’s Apple Dolma

Since apple preferences are such a personal thing, and
apple characteristics and uses vary, I suggested she check out the useful
information from The Farmers’ Almanac website.
Lindsay did just that, and decided Granny Smith apples
would be perfect. There were some issues with the clarity of the recipe, however. For
instance, the first ingredient listed in the recipe read: “enough apples”. How many does that mean??

I reminded Lindsay that the older generation had no written
recipes, and if they did, the instructions left a lot to one’s imagination. 

Once Lindsay decided on the Granny Smith apple, she made
the dolma with her husband’s help.

Here’s Lindsay’s report on their apple dolma experience:

“My husband Jay and I made the apple dolma. I
found the inside mixture very easy to make, but coring the apples was difficult
to say the least. The first two we did we went right through the bottom. And of
course once they were cored we had to cut around even wider to make room for
the filling. The texture of the apple does not make this an easy feat. Even
though two had holes in the bottom we still filled them with the mixture
because we didn’t want to waste the apples. Surprisingly, they turned out fine
and none of the filling came out. We used Granny Smith apples. We paired the
dolma with some rotisserie chicken we bought at the store and voila! A
wonderful Fall meal!

While I followed the ‘Treasured Armenian Cookbook’
recipe, I was a little disappointed in the vagueness of the recipe. For
example, they don’t say approx. how many apples to use, instead they just say
“enough apples”. Also, they never say whether to peel the apples or
not. My assumption was to peel them, but I was so caught up in coring them and
thinking about the next step that I totally forgot to peel them until it was
too late! The recipe also called for 1 cup of sugar and I had loads of sugar
left over. I’m not sure if I didn’t use enough, but it seemed like if I had
used the whole cup it would have been way too much.

Comedy of errors aside, I would absolutely make them
again, however, it would be difficult to have to make a lot! We made 5 which
was probably too many for the first time making it.”

I’m glad Lindsay didn’t peel the apples since the skin
helps the apples to hold their shape during baking. Her selection of the Granny
Smith apples was an excellent choice because the tartness of the apple balanced
the sweetness of the sugar in the recipe.

Bravo to Lindsay and Jay! We thank you for sharing your culinary
experiment with us all.

Here is the recipe the Peckhams prepared:
from”Treasured Armenian Recipes”, Detroit chapter of the
Armenian General Benevolent Union, Inc.
(NOTE: The cookbook recommends this to be served with pork, ham, or
Enough apples
½ cup rice
½ cup raisins
1 quart boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
Step #1

1.  Slice off the
tops of the apples and save. Core the apples removing a sufficient amount of
the apples to allow for filling with mixture as described below. Use
approximately ¼ cup sugar by sprinkling it in the apples that have the center

Step #2

2. Add rice to boiling water and cook ten minutes. Add
raisins and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and strain the water from the
mixture; pour cold water over mixture and strain again. Add ¼ cup sugar and
butter to above mixture.

Step #3

3. Fill the apples with rice and raisin mixture; add ¼
tsp. cinnamon to the top of each apple. Cover with apple top that was removed;
sprinkle a little sugar on each apple and arrange in baking dish. Put 2 cups of
boiling water in bottom of baking dish to which the remaining sugar has been

4. Cover baking dish and bake in 350°F oven until apples
are soft, about 30 minutes. Baste apples with liquid from the bottom of the
dish from time to time. When apples are almost cooked, remove cover, and bake
another 10 minutes.
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  1. Ara September 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Sonia Uvezian's cookbook has a variant that uses apples and quinces. Also, the filling is made with meat. It also turns out that, once you get the hang of the filling, you can use it to stuff pretty much any fruit: apricots (large ones), peaches, even honeydew and cantaloupe.

    1. Sonia October 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      there is a similar recipe in Armenian traditional cuisine called GRILLED APPLE, used to prepare at the holiday of Vartevar. it’s a habbit not to eat apple until that holiday, as it is forbidden to eat grapes before Astvatsasin. instead of rice, you stuff the apple with raisin, nut, honey & butter, then bake it in the oven.


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