Festive recipe: Bratapfel baked apples from head chef at Dubai's Ernst

This traditional German dessert is warm, hearty and rustic

Timo Glockner, head chef at Ernst, says baked apple symbolises Germany's love of desserts. Photo: 25hours Hotel
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The holiday season is here and with it comes the chance to make and feast on delicious and traditional treats that tantalise the taste buds and fill one with a sense of nostalgia.

In this series of seasonal dishes, we ask chefs from some of the UAE's top restaurants to share their favourite festive recipes.

Baked apples from Ernst

Timo Glockner, head chef at Ernst at the 25hours Hotel One Central in Dubai, is from a small town called Pirmasens in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. His focus is on serving traditional German dishes, which are usually simple. “I don’t like wasting too much time when it comes to cooking, on unnecessary garnishes and fancy visuals that ultimately end up on the side of the plate," he tells The National. "German cooking is all about going back to basics. However, Germans take their dessert very seriously.”

Of the bratapfel, or baked apple, recipe he shares with us, Glockner says: “This is a traditional German dessert served in the winter, with the aromas of apples, cinnamon, nuts and raisins associated with the festive season.

"It is commonly served with a warm vanilla sauce and resembles a Christmas pudding if you eat it all mixed up together. This is a recipe that every grandma used to serve back in the day, but it is a bit forgotten now, which is a shame for such a simple and delicious treat.”


Serves four

Cinnamon, in both powder and stick form, is an important ingredient in this recipe. Photo: Mae Mu / Unsplash


  • ½ lemon
  • 4 big red apples (each about 150g)
  • 30g chopped hazelnuts
  • 30g almond flakes
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 80g marzipan
  • 30g raisins
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Wash the lemon with hot water, grate the peel and then juice it.
  3. Wash the apples, cut a thin slice off the bottom, just enough so they can still stand.
  4. Cut a 1cm-thick slice off the top to serve as the “lid”.
  5. Cut out the inside of the apple using a melon baller or knife, keeping a 2cm-thick border of flesh around the hole, but don’t cut right through.
  6. Brush the insides with lemon juice.
  7. Roast the nuts in a small pan without any fat until golden brown. Add the butter.
  8. Break the marzipan into small pieces, then mix it in a bowl with the nuts, raisins, lemon peel and cinnamon powder.
  9. Place the apples on a baking tray, fill them with the mixture and press tight.
  10. Place a cinnamon stick inside each apple.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. After 12 minutes, add the “lids” back onto the apples and continue baking.
  13. Enjoy warm or add some vanilla sauce before serving.

Scroll through the gallery to see some foods traditionally enjoyed over the festive season

Updated: December 24, 2022, 4:08 AM