These vegan walnut stuffed poached apples (aka Tufahije) are a very uncomplicated and elegant dessert to make.
If you have a lot of apples and are a bit over the usual apple crumble scenario, this is the perfect recipe to try! Not only is it super easy to make, but it uses only six ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
How this Tufahije recipe came about and its origins
One day, I talked to my parents about what desserts they loved as kids, and my dad mentioned Tufahije; he’s from Serbia.
He told me how his mum and grandma used to make them when he was a child, which involved baking them.
The dish has a few different variations, and the one that I’m sharing with you is closer to the traditional Bosnian version to simplify it. I’ll be creating a baked apple recipe very soon, so keep an eye out for that one if you’d like to make a bake with apples instead.
Tufahije is mainly enjoyed in Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia. Some say that it was brought over to the Balkans by the Persians.
Much less sugar than the original dessert
A typical Tufahije recipe normally calls for a lot of sugar for the sugar syrup. I find that it’s a little excessive so I have chosen to only use 1 cup in this one.
Some will even make a caramel before adding the water, making it even sweeter.
With the apple being a tart-sweet variety, you really don’t need more than what the recipe calls for, but maybe my sweet tooth is starting to wear off a little as I get older. I find it just perfect!
I think that’s part of the fun, recreating old recipes and making them something that you can enjoy as a vegan. You’d typically find whipped cream in a traditional Tufahije recipe, as well as butter and sometimes even honey.
Depending on where you’re from, you’ll also have different varieties of apples that are used. Most Bosnian recipes will opt for Granny Smith apples because they say that a tart apple doesn’t fall apart when it’s being cooked.
I’ve experimented with a few different apples, and it really comes down to personal preference of how you like your desserts. Sweet with a tart note, or just sweet. If it’s the former, use a Granny Smith apple; if you’d like the latter, you can use Golden Delicious, Pink Lady or a Royal Gala.
Pink Lady, however, was my favourite as it has the perfect balance of both sweet and tart.
Which apples are best for poaching?
A few different apples are great for poaching, but I’ve noticed that this is quite a debatable topic.
From my own research and experience, these are the best varieties for poaching:
- Granny Smith
- Golden Delicious
- Lady Gala
- Pink Lady
- Royal Gala
You want the apples you use for poaching to be ripe but firm. What you’re not looking for is for the apple to fall apart as you take it out of the cooking syrup or to start to collapse when cooling.
Some tips for making these stuffed apples
As simple as this recipe is, there are a few areas where you could go wrong. So please take the time to read this section to help you get the best results.
- The lemon juice in the sugar syrup adds a nice acidic balance and it also helps the apples from turning brown once they’re peeled.
- Not a fan of sweet treats? Use a tarter apple for a less sweet dessert. You can also opt out of pouring the sugar syrup over the apples at the end if you want it less sweet.
- The reason we use apple peels in the sugar syrup is because they have high pectin levels, which will give the syrup a nice shine. You only need the peel of one apple for this.
- Use either a pairing knife, apple corer or lemon scoop to remove the core from the apples. I used a pairing knife as I don’t have the other two. It is a little fidly, but works perfectly well.
- These apples can be served warm or cold. Traditionally they’re served cold with whipped cream on top. If you’d like to serve them warm, just place a scoop of your favourite vegan ice cream on top or side, like coconut or vanilla. Skip the cooling stage in the recipe below.
- They will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Add the whipped cream just before serving.
- If you’re making this to serve to others, I’d recommend making it beforehand to experiment with cooking the apples. This is the only temprimental part of the recipe and you want to try it out with a couple of apples to make sure that the cooking time is right. It can be between 3-5 minutes (on each side) depending on the temperature of your sugar syrup and the apples that you’re using. You want them to be soft when you squeeze it a little but still firm enough to hold it’s shape.
I hope you give my take on a traditional Tufahije recipe a try! When apples are in abundance, it’s the perfect treat to share with family and friends.
Other apple and Balkan dessert recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Apple Crumble (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Kremšnita (Vanilla Custard & Cream Cake)
- Vegan Baklava
- Vegan Plum Dumplings (Posne Knedle sa Šljivama)
- Sweet Poppy Seed Pasta
- Easy Vegan Apple Burek (Posna Pita Sa Jabukama)
- 3-Ingredient Chestnut Puree With Whipped Coconut Cream (Kesten Pire)
- Vegan Cherry Strudel with Cream Cheese