A simple, elegant holiday dessert for one and all

Poached Apples; photo by K. Madey

Another delicious holiday recipe from guest blogger Kelly Madey,

My mother-in-law has been on a perpetual diet since 1974;
As you would expect, she looks fantastic,
And I have no problem in making her an occasional dessert
That suits her low carb, low fat lifestyle.

But the holidays present a bigger challenge
With the added stress of a lactose intolerant uncle,
A vegetarian sister,
And a nephew who doesn’t like cake (hard to believe that we are related).

It seemed like an impossible task to create a yuletide dessert
That would appeal to one and all, and I was half tempted to serve a basket of fruit,
And a bowl of nuts and wish them on their merry way.

But a funny thing happened on a recent visit to Organnons Natural Market in Wrightstown,

Gold Rush apples; photo by K. Madey

I found inspiration in the ugliest of fruit. These are Goldrush apples, organically grown at County Line Orchard in Kempton, PA.

The apples are sweet yet tart, and very sturdy. They would make the perfect holiday dessert poached in red wine with a few spices.

As I was leaving the market, I popped next door to OwowCow Creamery. A scoop of ice cream could elevate this simple dessert to holiday-worthy status. I chose the Sweet Honey Cream, but not before trying a variety of amazing ice cream featuring locally sourced organic ingredients.

Sweet Honey Ice Cream; photo by K. Madey

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it can be made up to 3 days ahead, allowing you plenty of time to enjoy your guests.

Diego Red Wine; photo by K. Madey

The apples are peeled and simmered in a bottle of red wine. This is Diego Red from Buckingham Valley Vineyards. Owned by the Forest family, wine from this vineyard is not only great to drink, it also happens to be natural and vegan friendly.

“Our wine is about as natural as possible. No animal products or eggs are used in our winemaking.” says Jerry Forest.

A little holiday spice in the form of cinnamon, orange, and sugar are added to the poaching liquid.

Cook the apples until tender, which could take between 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. Let the apples cool, then store them in the poaching liquid and chill overnight or up to 3 days. The apples will take on a deeper wine stained hue the longer the sit in the poaching liquid.

Before serving dessert, cook the wine until it is reduced to 2 cups. The wine turns into a delicious and fragrant syrup. Add vanilla and let the syrup stand until slightly thickened.

Spices; photo by K. Madey

Serve the apples drizzled with warm or room temperature syrup and an optional scoop of ice cream.

And just like that, a holiday dessert crisis has been diverted. Have a low fat, low carb, gluten free, lactose free, vegetarian holiday if you must! And me? I will be settling down to a long winter’s nap.

Happy Holidays!

Apples Poached in Wine with Cinnamon and Orange


6 medium-sized apples (choose firmer apples that will stand up to cooking)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 bottle of red wine (approximately 3 cups or 750 ml)
3 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
Peel and juice of one orange
2 teaspoons vanilla
Ice cream


  1. Peel the apples, leaving the stem intact and place in a bowl of water with the juice of half a lemon so they will not discolor.
  2. Bring the wine, water, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel and juice to a boil in a medium saucepan large enough to hold the liquid and apples. Cook 5-7 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the apples to the poaching liquid. Use a plate, or bowl placed on top of the apples to keep them submerged in the liquid. Cook until the apples are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Let the apples and wine cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.
  5. Remove the apples from the poaching liquid and let stand at room temperature to take the chill off.
  6. Strain the liquid and bring to a boil in a medium skillet until reduced to 2 cups. The liquid will begin to thicken slightly as it cools.

You can warm up the apples by placing them in the hot syrup. Serve the apples warm or at room temperature. Place in bowls with a generous amount of syrup and an optional scoop of ice cream.

Serves 6

Poached Apples; photo by K. Madey

Organnons Natural Market is family-owned and located in Wrightstown, PA. They offer a variety of organic, non-GMO produce, groceries, and other items that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Buckingham Valley Vineyard, also family-owned, is located in Buckingham, PA. They offer a variety of natural wine available at their vineyard. I picked up my bottle at None Such Farm Market.

oWowcow Creamery has locations in Ottsville, PA, at Carousel Village in Wrightstown, PA and in Lambertville, NJ. Their delicious ice cream is all natural and made with local organic ingredients.

Kelly Madey makes amazing baked goods. Check out her website One Sweet Baker and find her selling her delicious pastries at area farmers markets.

Photo credit for all pictures in this post: Kelly Madey.

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