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When I posted yesterday’s custard recipe, it included a photo taken with baked apples. I thought that today I’d post how to make the baked apples, because they are basically amazing. I’m actually not that much of a fruit fan in general, especially not something ‘boring’ like apples. However, every time I eat a baked apple, I am reminded again of how wonderful and exciting they are.

As a dessert, baked apples have everything going for them. They come out of the oven steaming hot, fluffy, skins split. They are fragrant with spice and slightly sticky with melted bush honey. They also only take a matter of minutes to prepare, are stunningly healthy, and use just three simple ingredients. In the winter cold, and in the middle of university exams, the ability to spend four minutes in the kitchen and forty minutes later have a hot dessert is deeply appealing.

Baked Apples (serves 2-4)

Four cooking apples

Four teaspoons of honey

Two cinnamon quills, broken in half

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Core the apples (this is most easily done with an apple corer, but is perfectly possible with a knife) and set in a small oven dish.

Drop a spoonful of honey and half a cinnamon quill into the hole of each apple. Bake for about 30-45 minutes; the time will vary hugely depending on the size of the apples. They are ready when the skins have split and the apple is soft and fluffy.

Serve with cream, icecream, custard (see my recipe for real custard), or yoghurt. There are numerous variations upon this recipe – you could add dates, whole cloves, walnuts or hunks of dark chocolate to the hole in the apple. Personally, I prefer mine simple. If you don’t have cinnamon quills, ground cinnamon (or a mixed spice) will also work. Using a cooking apple, as I have listed in the recipe, is important (though perhaps not strictly necessary) as they enhance the fluff and soft texture. There are many kinds of cooking apples; I used Granny Smith as they are readily available at our farmer’s market, but other varieties like Bramley (which I have never seen in a New Zealand market) would be very special.