boozy baked apples

© Nick Loven

Once again we got to the end of a phenomenal Sunday roast to find that our omission of dessert-making was, in fact, a mistake. Having had a delicious pork belly (thanks Nick for patiently cooking while I went round the flat in a flurry of "making" - placing and stocking the bookcase I'd repainted, cutting and sanding a palette to repurpose it as a shoe-rack, and painting a lampshade to warm the corridor light) roast and a bottle of wine ( we attacked the kitchen for emergency dessert. With pork belly in our bellies, apples were calling, and so a bake with pre-made, frozen pastry dough came into rapid existence.

If, like me, you tend to make too much pastry dough and keep it in the freezer, you can get away with calling this an emergency dessert, but I appreciate that not everyone accidentally makes too much dough and has it handily waiting in the freezer, so for you more organised sorts, here's a baked apple dessert where the apples stay quite crisp, the pastry melts to a texturally pleasing doughy gloop, and slightly burned raisins top off a hearty, food-filled day.

© Nick Loven

Lydia's Boozy Baked Apples
4 eating apples - we used Gala
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp rum (dark rum would be best, but we only had white)
250g shortcrust pastry, bought or homemade, frozen. (if making, see below)

Pastry - will make 400g, you only need 250g, but really it's up to you if you want to use it all!
1 egg
7½ oz (200g, 1 1/3 cup) bread flour
3 oz (80g, just under ½cup ) confectioner's / icing sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
3 6/8 oz (100g, 1 stick) butter, chilled
1 1/8 oz (30g) ground almonds / almond flour

© Nick Loven

If you're making the pastry, sift the flour with the sugar and baking powder. Add the butter and blend in using an electric whisk / standing mixer on slow, or cut in with a knife or pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and continue mixing until the dough begins to come together, then add the ground almonds and mix until the dough comes together. Bring it together to a ball and wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and freeze. If you don't have time to freeze this you can just cut chunks off instead of grating it when it comes to topping your dessert.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas Mark 6).
Place the raisins in a small bowl and top with the rum.
Slice the apples finely and place in an ovenproof dish approx 20cm x 10cm.
Top with the cinnamon, cloves and sugar.
Grate the frozen pastry and place on top of the apples, and top with the rum-soaked raisins.
Drizzle any remaining rum over the top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the raisins are slightly singed and the pastry has melted a little.

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream. Boozy apply doughy nom nom.

© Nick Loven

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