Baked apples with caramel sauce
Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc.
This is one of my simplest desserts and it is truly delicious, provided you choose your apple variety carefully. You need a full-flavoured apple with a good texture, a variety that doesn’t collapse into a heap on baking. I have found some of the best baking apples to be Adams Pearmain, Annie Elizabeth, Cox’s Orange Pippin, D’Arcy Spice, Discovery and Golden Nobel, but if you are able to find some, the queen of Russets, Reine de Reinette, is the best overall for this dish. Please do not use imported Pink Lady apples.
Special equipment: Apple corer, 20cm oval baking dish.
|For the baked apples|
|60g||Unsalted butter, melted|
|For the caramel sauce|
|1/2 tsp||Arrowroot, mixed with a little cold water|
|1 tbsp||Calvados or cider (optional)|
|For the garnish (optional)|
You can par-cook the apples three-quarters of the way through and finish them in the oven when ready to serve.
To prepare the baked apples
Preheat the oven (without fan) to 170ºC/Gas 3. Wash the apples and pat dry. Using a small knife, trim a slice off the base of each apple so that it will sit upright. Now make a small incision through one side of each apple, slightly above and beyond the core. Push the apple corer up through the base of the apple as far as the incision and then twist it to release the core. (Alternatively, you could leave the apples whole.) Brush the apples with the melted butter and roll in the caster sugar to coat all over. Brush the baking dish liberally with butter and sprinkle with sugar, then stand the apples in the dish. Bake for 35–40 minutes until the apples are tender but still holding their shape (*1). Set to one side.
To prepare the garnish
(*2) If serving, toss the pistachios, almond flakes and bread cubes in the icing sugar and scatter on a small baking tray. Toast in the oven for 8–10 minutes until lightly caramelised.
To make the caramel sauce
While the apples are in the oven, put the water into a large saucepan, spoon the sugar evenly over and let it absorb the water for 1–2 minutes. Now bring to the boil and cook to a dark golden caramel (*3). Add the apple juice4 and bring back to the boil. Thicken with the arrowroot, then remove from the heat and stir in the Calvados or cider, if using.
Place a baked apple on each warmed plate and pour on the caramel sauce. Scatter the garnish, if using, around. This dish is delicious on its own, or you could serve it with custard or ice cream.
Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.
Photograph © David Griffin 2014.