A Swedish friend called Bo Hermansson gave me this mouth-watering recipe for baked apples. The centre is filled with homemade marzipan and then the apples are rolled in cinnamon-flavoured sugar.
Serves 12, 1 per person
12 medium eating apples, e.g. Worcester Pearmain, Golden Delicious or Cox’s Orange Pippin
6oz (175g/scant 1 1/2 cups) ground almonds
6oz (175g/3/4 cup) sugar
2 1/2fl oz (62ml/generous 1/4 cup) water
1 egg white
natural almond extract to taste (beware, 1 drop only)
4oz (110g/1 stick) melted butter
8oz (225g/scant 1 cup) castor sugar mixed with 4 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon. (This is approximate: the amount of the mixture depends on the size of the apples.)
To Make the Marzipan.
Put the sugar and water into a deep saucepan. Stir over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring to the boil. Cover the pan for 2 minutes to steam any sugar from saucepan sides. Remove cover and boil rapidly just to thread stage -106-113°C (236°F).
Remove from the heat. Stir the syrup for a second or two until cloudy. Stir in the ground almonds. Set aside to cool briefly.
Lightly whisk the egg white, add the almond extract and stir into the almond mixture. Transfer the paste from the saucepan to Pyrex plate. Cool. The cool marzipan should feel like moulding clay.
Meanwhile, peel and core the apples. Stuff the cavities with the marzipan filling. Roll the apples first in melted butter and then in the castor sugar and cinnamon. Place in an ovenproof dish and bake in a moderate oven 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4, for 1 hour approx. The apple needs to be very soft.
Serve warm with a bowl of softly-whipped cream.
(Marzipan will keep for 2-3 months in a fridge).
Apples may take less/more time to cook depending on the variety and time of the year.