People tend to think of cooked apples as mostly an element of desserts, such as apple pie, apple cobbler or stewed apples. In these applications, the spices included with apples tend to be those common to accentuating sweet flavors. However, apples also work well in savory dishes such as baked pork with apples, and savory herbs and spices flavor these types of dishes.
The most common spice that goes with apples is cinnamon, giving them a spicy edge. Cinnamon can flavor dishes such as applesauce, apple pie, apple dumplings and other sweet apple recipes.
Cloves are used in making mulled apple cider. They also can be used in small quantities to flavor other sweet apple dishes. Cloves also are typically used to add zest to baked apples.
Although nutmeg is more commonly used in creamy applications such as custards or ice cream, it is also a good flavor for sweet apple recipes. For example, apple spice cake typically contains nutmeg.
With its distinctive and slightly sweet flavor, mint pairs well with apples in dishes containing other fruits, such as fruit salad or fruit compote. The coolness of the mint offsets the sugar found in the apples and other fruits.
Savory dishes such as apple and chicken sausage benefit from the addition of sage, a Mediterranean herb with a slightly bitter flavor reminiscent of musty mint.
The sweet licorice flavor of anise mixes well with stewed apples or apple cakes. You also can use anise in apple pies, although cooks should be careful not to overwhelm the other spices in the pie.
Crushed rosemary leaves pair extremely well with meat-based dishes, especially those with lamb or pork. Apples can be used as an additional flavoring with baked lamb and pork, and the sweetness of the apples contrasts nicely with the rosemary.