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Baked Apples, Custard and Caramel

Baked apples filled with dried fruit and oats, on custard with caramel

This traditional pudding is simple to make using affordable kitchen and pantry staples – apples (baked), custard (powder) and caramel (sugar). I suspect I am not alone in thinking, until I took a real interest in food, that custard traditionally came from a box. In actual fact – and not to labour the point, even though a traditional custard is made with eggs, custard powder (from a box) is in fact egg free. Custard powder was invented by an English chemist inspired by his wife’s allergy to eggs. It was an instant hit and became a common pantry staple in many countries. Simply follow the packet instructions and switch the milk to the same measure of your favourite dairy alternative.

For the baked apple, choose one you like to eat. It needs to be tasty raw with a crisp texture. As I often forage for apples, so don’t always know the variety, it’s best to take a bite before using. Warm baked apples can be filled with a variety of combinations, use which ever dried fruits, nuts or seeds are staples in your pantry. Serve in a bowl of vanilla custard with a swirl of calvados caramel for an extra special pudding.

See my notes below if allergies need to be considered.

The recipe lists ingredients for a single serve, multiply to easily prepare for 2 or even 20.

Baked Apples

Ingredients

  • a medium sized apple per person
  • 1 tbsp each rolled oats and dried fruit
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp plant-based butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed/pumpkin pie spice
  • optional – 1 tsp chopped nuts

Method

Preheat oven 160ºC

Prepare your filling – chop any large pieces of dried fruit or nuts and take care to remove pips from dates if using them.

In a mixing bowl, rub the plant-based butter into the oats and brown sugar, add the ingredients and combine.

Wash and core the apples. Pack the cored apples with the mixture making a small mound on top.

Choose a baking dish to suit the number of serves. Arrange the filled apples so there is space between each one and pour in enough water to just cover the base.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft but not falling apart.


Caramel 

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp plant-based cream
  • 1/2 tsp arrowroot/tapioca starch
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp calvados – optional

Measure and place in a small pot with water, over a low heat stir until the sugar is dissolved. If using a white sugar, Increase to a medium heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the sugar is a caramel colour. Stirthe arrowroot into the plant-based cream and pour into the caramel while stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat add a pinch of salt and calvados, a splash of whisky, rum or brandy would work too.

to Serve

Make custard using your favourite plant-based milk following packet instructions.

Ladle custard into a shallow bowl, place a baked apple in the centre and drizzle with caramel.

More Apple Recipes

When apples are plentiful I use them in these quick and easy muffins, this beautiful apple cake served with a crown of berries or an elegant apple tart. Remember apples can be used in savoury dishes too and add fresh sweet flavour to a red cabbage, fennel and apple slaw. If you’re a custard fan, a walnut crusted rhubarb tart might be for you.

Allergy friendly alternatives – Whether someone has a tree-nut, soy allergy or Cealiac Disease, this recipe is easy to tweak to suit most people. Choose a plant-based milk that suits dietary needs. Nuts are an optional ingredient but pumpkin and sunflower seeds would add a nice texture too.   Use gluten-free oats or an alternative flaked grain, like quinoa flakes, for a Cealiac friendly pudding. Take care to read the ingredients label (soy) of your choice of plant-based butter or swap for an olive or nut oil if suitable.

  1. Sue Wilkinson says:

    Your wonderful suggestions for allergy alternatives always impress me.
    It was interesting to read about the beginning of custard powder.

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