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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine apricot nectar, dried apricots, and dried cherries or cranberries in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain fruit, reserving liquid.
3. Meanwhile, core apples almost through to bottom. Peel a strip about 1 inch wide around the middle of each. Use the tines of a fork to make a crisscross or wavy pattern in the peeled apple. Place apples in a 2-quart square baking dish.
4. Combine the drained fruit mixture, sugar, and nutmeg. Spoon into centers of apples. Combine reserved liquid, cardamom, and vanilla; pour over and around apples. Bake, covered, in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until apples are tender, basting occasionally with the cooking liquid. Before serving, spoon liquid over apples again. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.