My Actifit Report Card: November 20 2021

This looks less dramatic than when it came out the oven, a molten, steaming mass of fluff and caramel. In the time it took to fetch the camera, it had subsided into polite reticence, collapsed at the memory of its own boldness.

I love baked apples, one of the great English winter dishes. The ritual of extracting the core, through a combination of sharp paring knives and narrow pointed teaspoons, creating a beautiful funnel to fill with brown sugar topped with a dot of butter. You can add any other flavourings that take your fancy - cloves studded around the crown and lost in the billowy cloud when the apples collapse, cinnamon, ginger, lemon zest and sultanas all have a home here in this warming dish for cosy evenings on wild damp English nights.

The original is best, though, and the combination of apple juice, sugar and butter lead to the most exquisite caramel sauce, sweet, brown and luscious against the pale tart flesh of the apples. The skin, burnished in the oven, adds extra texture and fibre.

The question then is what to have with it - gorgeous vanilla custard, clotted cream ice cream, clotted cream itself or single or soured cream? All would be delicious.

Core medium sized apples, one for each person, place in a lined dish, fill each apple core with brown sugar topped with a knob of butter and other flavourings as desired. Set in a medium oven - say 180 degrees - and check after twenty minutes, then every five or ten minutes if they need longer. Remove from the oven when the apples are soft - total volcanic collapse is not essential!

A variation is to fill the apples with mincemeat, I've never tried that but it could be good.
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