2. Core the apples with an apple corer or vegetable peeler. Stand the apples on a work surface and make 4 evenly spaced vertical cuts from the top of each apple to halfway from the bottom. (These cuts make more room for filling, but keep the apples intact.) Stand the apples in a pie plate.
3. In a small mixing bowl, toss the dates, raisins, pine nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Add half of the softened butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the dried fruit mixture. Pack the mixture into the center of each apple.
4. Divide the remaining butter among the apples, placing a piece of butter on top of each apple. Pour the cider and vanilla extract into the pie plate. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the foil, baste the apples with the cooking liquid and continue to bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the apples are soft but not falling apart. Serve the apples with a few spoonfuls of the warm cooking liquid.