When I was younger, one of my favourite things to eat were my mum’s baked apples. Warm, sweet and aromatic, they made a perfect and simple dessert or even an afternoon snack occasionally. So, when we had family over for dinner recently, I ended up making a slightly more ‘adult’ version of the simple “baked apple” based on a recipe I found in a BBC Good Food magazine. The sweet aromas of the apples baking in my oven took me right back to my mum’s kitchen as a little girl, and brought on some tasty memories. I have simplified the original recipe a little bit, but if you do want the full version, check the link at the end of the post.
Baked Apples with Calvados Caramel Sauce
Serves 4 |Prep 15 minutes | Cook 40 minutes
A Little Effort | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free
- 4 Russet apples, or other yellow apples;
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 50g toasted whole blanched almonds (or other nuts), to serve
For the sauce:
- 50g caster sugar
- 20g unsalted butter
- 40g Braeburn apple, peeled, cut into 5mm dice
- 80ml apple juice
- ½ tsp arrowroot, diluted in a little water
- 1 tsp Calvados (optional)
For the apples. Heat oven to 180C/140C fan/gas 4. (When cooked with the fan, it’s better to use a lower equivalent heat as the apple skins can burst before the apples are cooked if the heat is too intense.) Trim the bases off any apples that do not sit flat, without removing too much. Insert a small knife about a quarter way down the apple through to the core. Insert the corer at the base of the apple and slide up to the incision, twist the corer, then remove the core, keeping the apple’s stalk intact.
Brush a shallow ovenproof dish with some of the melted butter, then sprinkle over some of the sugar. Brush each apple with the remaining butter, then roll them in the remaining caster sugar. Place the apples in the dish and bake for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the sugar in a small heavy-based pan over a medium heat until it reaches a dark golden caramel. Stir in the butter and the diced apple. Cook for 30 secs without moving the pan (use a spoon to cover the diced apples in the caramel mixture). Pour in the apple juice and bring to the boil. Stir in the diluted arrowroot, a little at a time, until it has thickened slightly, then remove from the heat and add the Calvados, if you are using.
When ready to serve, mix the almonds or other nuts in the caramel sauce. Place each apple on a plate and pour over the caramel sauce. Serve.
Original recipe from BBC Good Food, issue October 2010, available online here.