Apricot Apples Baked with Rum

I have always loved both baked potatoes and baked apples, and every September we come back from our Arthur Ransome-like summer holidays in Devon laden with huge green apples from the orchard where we stay. For several weeks I try to think up ever-changing apple recipes so that they will get used up. It is not too difficult as apples are versatile and go so well with other fruits and flavourings; with crumbly rich pastry as a traditional apple pie, with flaky pastry in French apple tarts, highly spiced in an old English way, for creamy apple purée, moist apple cake, or just used up in a satisfying way with lemon juice to make pots of apple jelly. Here is a way of baking apples which I think makes them equally suitable for a family meal or a dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple per person
  • ¼–½ lb dried apricots – chopped fairly small (110–225 g)
  • 1 wineglass dark rum
  • juice of 1 orange
  • dark brown sugar
  • about 3–4 teaspoons powdered cardamom or mixed spice

Method

Make a shallow cut round the middle of each apple and core them. Put them in a shallow ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the cardamom or spice. Fill each one with chopped, dried apricots and press down firmly. Pour over the orange juice and rum. Sprinkle over plenty of brown sugar and top each apple with a knob of butter. Bake in the middle of the oven Gas 5 (375°F/190°C) for about 1–1¼ hours. Then drain the juice off into a saucepan, boil it fiercely until it thickens and pour it over the apples just before serving. It makes them look extra shiny and appetising. Serve with cream.

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