To make this recipe, you need the right kind of apple; not just full in flavour, but it also needs a good texture; otherwise, it might just collapse on baking. My personal favourite for this is the Reine de Reinettes. It’s French (of course!) but has been widely grown in Britain since Victorian times. However, you probably won’t find it in a supermarket, so Cox’s Orange Pippin, Adams Pearmain, Annie Elizabeth, D’Arcy Spice, Discovery and Golden Nobel are all good substitutes here. But, whatever you do, please do not use imported Pink Lady apples.
For the baked apples
apples, such as Reine de Reinette, Cox’s Orange Pippin or Discovery
unsalted butter, melted
For the caramel sauce
arrowroot, mixed with a little cold water
Calvados or cider (optional)
For the garnish (optional)
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. Set to one side.
For the garnish, 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.
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.
Add the apple juice and bring it 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.
This recipe is adapted from the book Kitchen Secrets
Raymond’s love of delicious food is lifelong. Years of experience have given him a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create fantastic dishes that work time after time. With a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities - and useful tips throughout - this book brings Gallic passion and precision into the home kitchen.