Apples are the basis for many great desserts, from the classic French tart tatin to the humble crumble. I wanted to make something with apples this weekend, but I also wanted to try something a bit different. The answer came whilst I was flipping through my recent copy of the Good Food magazine and came across this recipe, which I used as the basis for this dessert.
Baking apples really seems to transform their texture, making them softer but somehow retaining their slight graininess. The custard added creaminess (although we still found we had to serve the apples with cream as the custard-to-topping ratio wasn't perfect) and the crunchy oats on top where for me the best thing about the whole pudding. It's like an apple crumble, but cooked differently.
The oat topping is basically a granola - you don't have to make it, but you might as well. The quantities I've listed make more than you'll use for this dessert, but that's probably a good thing - it's addictive. The custard, again, you could make yourself, although I didn't.
Baked Apples with Custard and Crunchy Oat Topping
For the oat topping
55g olive oil
30g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 apples (use a fairly sweet eating variety, and make sure they aren't too large. In fact, I would say the smaller the better)
zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp brown sugar
100g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Measure all the topping ingredients into a large bowl. (I prefer to weigh ingredients when possible, rather then measure them out in jugs etc - it creates less washing up!)
Mix them together until well combined - often using your hands is the easiest way to go with this.
Spread the mixture out onto two baking trays and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes. You'll need to turn the mixture with a fish slice or something similar a couple of times just so that it doesn't burn.
The granola topping can be made several days in advance and kept in an air tight container.
For the apples, preheat the the oven to 180°C.
Half the apples through the middle and remove the core using an apple core remover or a sharp knife. Place them cut side up in a baking dish and scatter over the orange zest and juice and the sugar. Dot with the butter and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Take the baking dish out of the oven and remove the apples. Pour the custard into the dish, put the apples back on top and them sprinkle over half the granola topping and the flaked almonds. Cover the dish with foil and return to oven for a further 10 minutes, until the apples are soft and the custard is heated.
Serve with double cream.