Baked apples can sometimes sound a bit ridiculous.
I mean, ridiculous based purely on the notion of ‘Why bake apples when you can just bake a cake?’ and the answer to this question is: because they’re lovely. Yes. It’s really as simple as that.
There’s something French about baked apples. Don’t ask me why because I may sound culturally ignorant, but I remember when I went to Paris as a teenager on a shopping weekend with my mother and we were in a bakery and I saw the baker bringing a tray of roasted apples out of the oven to add to some kind of pastry and I remember coming across all Amelie. That’s literally my only French reference to baked apples. But still.
Don’t bother peeling the apples. I’ve ready thousands of recipes where apples are peeled prior to baking but that’s a gargantuan waste of time. Just think this is also a gluten free desert! I wouldn’t worry too much either about my addition of smoked sea salt to this recipe. I have a few variations of sea salt in my pantry and as a Maldon addict, when I saw that they had smoked sea salt flakes, I was snake charmed into buying. You can use regular salt (and take smoked out of the title, what a liberty).
Preheat the oven to 180C and put a sheet of foil in a roasting dish. Slice two apples in half and place them, skin down, on the foil. Dollop a little butter over each apple half before scattering over some dried mix fruit, some flaked almonds and some cinnamon. Place in the oven for 35 minutes while you crack on with your sauce.
Drop 70g of butter and pour 100g of soft brown sugar into a saucepan. Stir this now before putting on the heat and allow to sit for about 6 minutes – but do not stir. It will be nail-bitingly tempting, but don’t. You can give it a light shake if you have to cave in, but ultimately do not stir it. Eventually the sugar will begin to go a beautiful bronze colour and start to liquefy around the edges.
Take off the heat and carefully pour in 120ml of double cream. It may cough and sputter a little so please do be careful here. Now whisk this gently to combine the ingredients to create a honey coloured syrupy caramel sauce. Now sprinkle in a generous portion of smoked sea salt to give it that saccharine salty spike.
After your apples have had 40 minutes, remove and slather.