7.3 Eunice’s Baked Apples
My mother, bless her soul, was an excellent traditional cook. Her food wasn’t adventurous or experimental, but this was probably because my father was the fussiest eater who ever drew breath. Whatever she cooked, she cooked very well — I can’t remember any kitchen catastrophes as a child: no burnt pans, no underdone chicken, no inedible meals. Whenever she made a dish, it was just as good as the last time. She didn’t use scales or measuring jugs and yet achieved a consistency of flavour and quality that I find very difficult to emulate.
This dessert has become one of her daughter-in-law Eunice’s signature dishes, to the point of becoming a family joke. When Eunice’s daughter Karen was courting Neil, her husband-to-be, baked apples were always on the menu because Eunice thought they were his favourite. He always politely accepted and ate all that was given to him. It wasn’t until they had been married for several years that he revealed that he hated the dish.
This is a simple recipe; easy-going, not time-critical and, when served with custard or ice cream, enjoyed by all. Except Neil.
- 6 Bramley apples, washed and left unpeeled
- 8 tablespoons of sultanas
- 9 tablespoons of raspberry jam, not the seedless variety
- 150 ml water
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
- Cut the top off each apple to use as a lid, and use an apple corer to remove the core.
- Put the apples into a baking dish that holds them snugly.
- Fill the well in each apple with a tablespoon of sultanas, packing them in using your fingers.
- Top the sultanas with a tablespoon of the raspberry jam and replace the lid on each apple.
- Add the water, additional three tablespoons of jam and two tablespoons of sultanas to the bottom of the baking dish.
- Bake the apples in your preheated oven for 50 minutes. The apples should not have collapsed but be soft in texture and a little sharp in taste.
- Remove the lids and carefully lift each apple onto a plate or into bowl. Spoon over some of the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and then (if you are serving me) drown each apple in custard. You can also serve them with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
These baked apples are as delicious cold as they are hot. Serve them topped with natural Greek yoghurt and just the lightest dusting of ground cinnamon and demerara sugar.
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