What are tufahije?
Tufahija (plural tufahije) is a dessert from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tufahije consist of apples stuffed with walnuts and cooked in a syrup. This delicious autumnal dessert is also very popular in neighboring Balkan countries like Serbia and Macedonia.
Tufahije are usually presented in a glass cup or plate and are served with a cup of Turkish coffee. They are almost always served cold. This dessert can also be prepared the day before, and it will actually be even better.
What is the origin of tufahije?
Tufahije are said to be of Ottoman origin. During the conquest of the region, the Ottoman invaders brought with them many recipes for pastries and desserts. Even today, the association of walnuts and apples is very popular in Turkish pastries.
The word tufahija itself comes from the Arabic word tuffaha which means apple. Before being Ottoman, this recipe may have been Persian. Here too, it was with the conquests that this dessert would have spread to Turkey before reaching Bosnia.
How are tufahije prepared?
To prepare tufahije, firm but ripe apples must be peeled, cored and seeded. In Bosnia, tart apples are generally used for this recipe. Granny Smith or apples with similar tartness will work.
However it is important not to pierce the apples so that the stuffing with walnuts does not spill from the bottom. You can use a grapefruit spoon or apple corer to core the apple, just make sure to stop halfway. The apples should look like small cups.
You must first prepare a vanilla sugar syrup in which you add lemon juice and apple peels. Lemon juice will prevent apples from turning dark by oxidizing. The peels has a high pectin content, which will give the syrup a very shiny and slightly sticky appearance. Thus, the syrup will perfectly cover the apples giving them a very pleasant visual appearance.
The apples are poached in this boiling syrup for a few minutes. The cooking time depends on the size and variety of the apples. The apples are then cooled on a platter and the walnut stuffing is prepared. To do this, hot milk is poured on walnuts, then sugar is added to melted butter and the whole mixture is combined. Just fill the hollowed apples with this stuffing, pour the filtered syrup over and reserve everything in the refrigerator.
After a few hours, the stuffing is covered with whipped cream. Whole or crushed walnut kernels are sometimes added on top to decorate. Bosnian tufahije are then ready to be tasted.
What are the variants of tufahije?
In some families, walnuts are replaced by crushed almonds. In Iran, this dessert is still served nowadays but the whipped cream is often garnished with sour cherries, a variety of cherries very popular in the country.
In the Balkans, apricot jam is sometimes added to the cream. In Bosnia, there is also a version topped with a cherry. In this version, it is rather kirsch with morello cherries, that are naturally sweeter than Iranian cherries. In Bulgaria, there is a fairly similar recipe called pecheni yabalki.
Another version of the tufahije is prepared with ground coffee, beaten egg whites and sour cream, it is this mixture that will come to fill the apples.
Stuffed apples are very popular around the world. Either hot or cold, savory or sweet versions.
In France, apples are stuffed with mushrooms or pieces of black pudding. There are also apples stuffed with rice pudding or a mixture of dried fruits including dried figs, apricots, nuts and almonds.
- 6 apples (very firm)
- 2 cups water
- 3½ cups sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon , freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot milk
- 5 oz. walnuts , ground
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 6 whole walnut kernels
- Peel the apples, keeping them whole.
- Reserve the peels of 2 apples.
- With the help of an apple-corer or a peeler, core the apple, not entirely, so as to prepare a small cup for the filling.
- Be sure to remove all the seeds without drilling on the other side.
- Cooking of the apples and syrup
- In a pot, pour the water, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and apple peels.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir regularly.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the apples.
Boil the apples for 5 to 7 minutes (maximum) on both sides. The cooking time will depend on the type of apples and the pot.
- Make sure to not overcook or the apples will not stay firm.
- Remove from heat.
- Using a skimmer, gently remove the apples from the pot and place them on a tray to allow them to cool.
- Reserve the syrup.
- In large bowl, cover the walnuts with warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Melt the butter over medium heat, add the sugar and mix well.
- Add this preparation to the walnut mixture and mix well for 2 minutes.
- Fill each apple with about 3 teaspoons of filling.
- Pour the syrup over and reserve in the refrigerator.
- Beat the whipped cream until it gets stiff.
- Decorate the top of the stuffed apples with whipped cream.
- Gently put a walnut kernel on it without pressing on the cream.
- Serve immediately.