Having been both quite busy over the past few weeks, we did not get to meet for another cooking session but there was still a lovely theme to work with: apples.
Between processing and editing photos for a few clients, and working on my little photography business, I found a bit of time to come up with recipes using apples. The first I share here is for baked apples.
My mother makes some pretty good apple desserts (and a super delicious apple tart!). I particularly love her baked apples. When I came back from Australia, she gave me as a Christmas gift a lovely notebook with her own recipes beautifully calligraphed in purple ink. Only one quarter of the notebook was filled so I could add my own creations in it. When I looked for the baked apples recipe, I figured out my mother must have been daydreaming the day she wrote it (aren't we all food lovers and dreamers!) because she gave me a random list of ingredients but nothing else (all the other recipes are so detailed compared to this one).
So I just added some other flavours I wanted in my baked apples and came up with the rest of the recipe.
The following recipe is also quite delicious the next day for a healthy breakfast, but skip the butter and meringue (unless you are the kind of person who eats indulgent desserts for breakfast, then we should probably be friends!).
Ingredients (serves 4)
20g chopped roasted hazelnuts
20g chopped almonds
2 tablespoons honey
25g softened unsalted butter
(cold water and caster sugar for the baking tray)
For the meringue
1 free range egg white
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Sprinkle some caster sugar on a baking tray and add 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Using an apple corer or a sharp knife, delicately remove the core from the apples. Cut the opening a little bit wider at the top to make it easier to hold the meringue later. Place the apples on the baking tray.
2. Mix the nuts, honey and softened butter together well in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in 4 and put it in the middle of each apple (there should be some showing at the top depending on the size of the apples).
Put the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
3. While the apples are baking, make the fluffy little meringue.
Put the egg white and icing sugar in a baking bowl and beat the ingredients together with a whisk (electrical or manual) until it reaches stiff peaks.
When the apples are baked, divide the meringue mixture between each apple by scooping it on the top. Put the tray back in the oven and bake for another 3 or 4 minutes (the meringue should be golden on top).
I usually serve the baked apples on their own after they have cooled down for 5 to 10 minutes. The combination of the honey, the juice from the baked apples and the water and sugar on the tray create a delicious little caramel sauce. I like to scrape it with a wooden spoon and add it on the meringue tops for some extra indulgence.
If you remove the meringue and butter, this is also a great idea for breakfast.
* I made this recipe using apples from the Royal Gala variety. I left them unpeeled but if you are using apples with a thin layer of wax on, remove the skin.
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