There are recipes that are the edible equivalent of a hand knitted reindeer jumper, gifted to you from your grandmother. That is, cosseting, nostalgic and a little bit too twee for smart public consumption. This is one of those recipes. If what you need is a coincidentally gluten free, not-too indulgent pudding for a school night (or Sunday lunch), then these Bakewell Baked Apples might be what you’re looking for. If so, skip post haste to the recipe at the bottom.
My Granny was always a fan of a baked apple. It whispered of prudent indulgence. Something a little sweet, but not too heavy. Hers were nursery-soft, stuffed with raisins and best served with a drizzle of cold cream or custard on the side – often after a lunch of Pritikin bread, cold boiled egg, English salad cream and sliced cucumbers while she toiled on the cryptic crossword with a snub nosed pencil.
These take inspiration from my current cravings for cakes, pies and tarts in all shapes and forms and the fact that this week our stowaway has unfurled to the dimension of an apple. Well, it may have unfurled to an apple, but to look at me it could be almost time for melons.
There is nothing that is subtle about my advancing size at the moment. My body it seems has the memory of an elephant. It’s taken one snifter of the hormones and influx of relaxin and vaulted back into the home straits of gestation. At 15 weeks I’m the size I was at 25 weeks with Will. I’ve resigned myself to yoga pants and wafty jumpers. I’ve already started resting my cup of tea on a bump first thing in the morning. Second time around it’s the express lane all the way. God help me once summer truly descends.
Mostly it’s nice. Instead of the awkward two months of ‘is she pregnant? Or has she just been eating a lot of pie?’ looks and whispers at the gym, the first question from well meaning acquaintances is ‘oh! When are you due?’. It’s just that none of them expect me to say ‘ not until after Christmas’.
And then there are the parts of my body that aren’t loving it so much. My lower back has already started up a vigorous protest, with one hip twisting and jutting like a jelly python entwined in the bottom of a lolly jar. So, while my body might be crowing for cake, modest indulgences are what’s best called for. Enter, these Bakewell Baked Apples. A traditional bakewell cake is an English classic, involving almonds, cherries and creamy fondant. Here the frangipane makes up the filling in the centre of the apple, sweetened only with a little slick of marmalade and garnished with a cheeky comb of cherry.
People often differ on the texture they prefer in their baked apple. Some like a little bit of resistance to the fork- if that’s you, pluck them out of the oven at 40 minutes. If like me you prefer them to sighed into surrender at the sight of a spoon, then an hour will be more your style.
These are lovely for dessert, but also would be festive as part of a relaxed breakfast or a brunch spread with some Greek yoghurt on the side.
And if like us, you find yourself with two left over, know they also make for a fine filling when sliced with some frozen raspberries for an adhoc pie the next night…
Bakewell Baked Apples
To serve; Greek yoghurt, creme fraiche, ice cream, or coconut custard (recipe here).
Here’s how we roll
1) Preheat the oven to 160C/320 F.
2) In a bowl stir to combine the softened butter, almond and marmalade.
4) Combine the cherries with the frangipane filling and stuff them inside the apples. Leave one cherry aside to place on the crest of each apple.
5) Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until the apples are soft. Serve warm with creme fraiche, ice cream, yoghurt or custard.
Previously in Poppyseed to Pumpkin
Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far. (Nb, you can also see the poppy seed to pumpkin process in the app, or ebook from my first pregnancy with Will, or read about it on the blog here.