A baked apple is a simple thing but it conjures up vivid childhood memories of school dinner puddings! How did they get them so greasy?? I’m not intrepid, but when a private client asked me to cook baked apples for a Sunday lunch pudding a slightly shuddered. How could I make a cooked apple special??
I got my cook books out and as ever Bibendum came up trumps.
Here is my slightly altered version of Matthew Harris’s seriously good, sophisticated baked apple.
6 Braeburn apples
1 teaspoon of candied peel
1 tablespoon of chopped dates
1 tablespoon of golden sultanas
1 small braeburn apple, grated
1/2 tablespoon of chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 tablespoon of chopped, toasted hazelnuts
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
1 knob of stem ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of stem ginger syrup
1/2 a glass of Marsala
A handful of flaked almonds
Caramel Fudge Sauce
125g golden caster sugar
250ml double cream
20g unsalted butter
If you can, make the filling for the apples a day ahead of cooking. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have time, but it does mean that all the flavours infuse deliciously and become more intense.
To make the filling, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Core the apples, leaving them whole, with a one of those nifty gadgets that you push through the top of the core and it takes it all out in one swoop – a bit of muscle needed! Place the apples in a lightly buttered roasting dish and stuff as much of the filling as you can into each apple. Add a little extra small ball of stuffing on top of each apple, sprinkle with some flaked almonds and a small knob of butter.
When you are ready to bake, pop the roasting dish into the oven, set at 180c, for roughly 30 minutes or until the apples looked nicely softened and cooked, and the topping is sizzling.
While the apples are baking, make the caramel fudge sauce. This sauce is a heart stopper! You can make it in advance, it has a shelf life of about a week and is delicious served hot or cold. Beware, it is heart-attack stuff but worth it!
In a heavy-based pan add the sugar over a high-ish heat adn allow the sugar to turn into a caramel. Keep an eye on the sugar and stir to dissolve any lumps and not to let it burn. The darker you go, the more bitter and delicious the caramel becomes but it depends on your nerves as it can quickly change and burn. If you like an extra kick to your caramel add a pinch of flaked sea salt. Now that the caramel has developed, turn down the heat and add the cream and butter. Be careful as the cream will splatter when it hits the hot caramel. The sauce is ready whent the butter has melted completely and the caramel fudge has a wonderful lustre.
Serve an apple per serve, along with a good pouring of caramel fudge sauce and I like to add a dollop of clotted cream… I did warm you it’s a heart stopper!