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A crown roast of pork makes a festive holiday centerpiece for a large crowd. Surrounded by sweet baked apples, it is a simple dish to prepare but the results are impressive. Serve with a white Gewurztraminer or Riesling wine.
1 crown roast of pork, 16 chops, 6 lbs.salt and freshly ground pepper6 apples1/4 cup honey3 tablespoons butter1/2 cup Late Harvest white wine or Sauternes1/2 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 teaspoon cloves1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
Set the pork in a roasting pan fit with a rack. Season with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325ºF and continue to cook the pork, basting frequently with the pan juices, an additional 45 minutes.
In the meantime, remove the peel from the top third of the apple. Core the apples. In a small pan, bring the honey, butter, wine, cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Place the apples in a 2-quart baking dish and pour the syrup over them. Cover with foil and place in the oven with the pork. Cook the apples until tender, 20 to 25 minutes, checking periodically during the baking time. Continue to roast the pork until a thermometer inserted into the center of the loin registers 150ºF and the meat is pale pink when cut in the thickest part, 30 minutes. Remove from the pork and the apples from the oven. (Check periodically and cover the rib ends of the pork with foil if they brown before the meat is done.)
Remove the roast from the oven, cover with a large piece of foil and let it sit 10 minutes before carving.
To serve, cut the meat between the rib bones and place on a serving plate with baked apples. Drizzle the juices from the pan that held the apples over the apples and pork and serve immediately.
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