Don’t forget the classic baked apple. Surprisingly healthy – and the nostalgia comes free. #weightloss #recipe
Just occasionally, when they look up between frantic 20 minute bouts of Fortnite, I get to see my children’s faces.
Last weekend, at one of those moments, I realised the pallor was getting a bit much. Admittedly, Hallowe’en is just around the corner and I’m always keen to save money on zombie make-up but I decided it was time to drag them outside and get a bit of colour in their cheeks.
There was whining and there was sulking but eventually we made it out of the door and off down the track.
I was already harbouring romantic ideas of hedgerow foraging and leaf-kicking – the sort of things we did when they were little. The whole ‘perfect family’ fantasy only got worse when we encountered a beautiful old apple tree. It was groaning with fruit, with russety windfalls thickly littering the ground – and my mind went straight to the retro delights of baked apples.
Anxious not to scrump from our local farmer, we got busy cramming our pockets full of windfalls and marched off happily home, with visions of apple scents filling the kitchen by teatime.
Sure enough, the kids didn’t take much persuading to scoot back to their screens, so I set about creating our free pud.
Sadly the maggots and mice had beaten us to it. Not to mention the bruising. There wasn’t a single decent one among the whole lot.
There was nothing for it. I snuck out to the shop and bought a load of cooking apples, shoved them guiltily into a bag and shuffled home.
It was worth it though. They fluffed up beautifully and tasted delicious baked with a (very) little brown sugar, raisins, mixed spice and orange zest, plus flaked almonds for crunch. At 186 calories each, they’re a filling pudding that’s just sweet enough.
If you’ve got access to an apple tree – with apples still on the branches – fulfill your dreams of countryside idylls to your heart’s content. For the rest of us, thank goodness for the Co-op.
Classic baked apple
Serves 1 • Ready in 45 mins
1 large Bramley (cooking) apple (54 cal)
1 tsp butter (37 cals)
1 tsp flaked (slivered) almonds (32 cals)
2 tsp soft dark brown sugar (36 cals)
½ tsp ground mixed spice
10g (¼oz) raisins (27 cals)
grated zest of ½ orange
• Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
• Use an apple corer to remove the core from the apple, then score round the middle of the apple with a sharp knife, cutting to a depth of about 5mm (¼in) all round. Place the apple in a small overproof serving dish.
• Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and use to stuff the filling into the centre, rubbing a little round the apple as well. If there is any filling left over, pile it on the top. Cook in the oven for 35–40 minutes until golden and soft.
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