It’s London Fashion week and venues across the city are thronged by pale, waif-like figures swinging glossy carrier bags, faces shrouded behind dark glasses. This bi-annual event has this year coincided with the first signs of spring. After weeks of single figure temperatures and frosty mornings, a high of 11C seems almost balmy. Padded coats, swathes of scarves and knitted hats are being discarded, and many of us standard-sized human beings are becoming aware of the tightness of our jeans and the realisation that summer fashions are just around the corner. So what, you may ask has this got to do with baked apples?
Well, you could join the brigades of weekend joggers pounding around the parks to cope with the winter expansion, but you could also introduce lighter healthier meals to the menu, that won’t leave you feeling deprived. Having been stuffed with the seasonal delights of Christmas cakes and puddings, I find baked apples using the good old British Bramley, stuffed with the remnants of the mincemeat jar, are a satisfying way of weaning myself off their more calorific counterparts.
Stuffed Baked Apples – Preparation time 20mins
1 Bramley cooking apple per person, washed and cored – no need to peel
1 teaspoon mincemeat, marinated in a splash of rum/brandy
1 tablespoon runny honey
NB: If you have used up all the mincemeat over Christmas, then you can substitute a handful of dried fruit soaked in rum/brandy for 30mins, then mixed with either golden syrup or honey or even muscovado sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.
Soak the dried fruit if you need to. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375F (190C). Stand the apples upright on a small baking tray lined with greaseproof. Push as much mincemeat or dried fruit into the apples as possible. Drizzle a healthy slurp of honey over the apple and top with a knob of butter.
Place on a top shelf in the oven and bake for about 15 mins. The apples should still be intact but show a slight splitting of the skin.
If you aren’t working on decreasing your winter waistline, then you could serve with custard or vanilla ice cream.
“Bramleys are an essentially British invention named after the 19th century English butcher Matthew Bramley, in whose garden it first grew. I have never been able to replicate them in my travels outside of the UK. My grandmother referred to them as “Cookers” and used them from everything from apple pies, redolent with cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins to a tart apple sauce accompanying the Roast Pork and Crackling at Sunday lunch.” Judi