My grandparents had apple trees in the garden, crocuses that would grow up below them in early spring, and a tortoise in a pen who lived there in summer. At the bottom of the garden they had a vegetable garden filled with potatoes, beans, herbs, fruit, salad, cabbages and probably more and it was bordered by roses. When I stayed with them I always helped to collect vegetables from the garden. Mint for mint sauce, raspberries for pudding, apples for baking and when I went home my grampy would cut a rose for me to take with me.
I remember there being so many windfall apples, and apart from making apple sauce, my nanny would make baked apples… She used golden syrup and condensed milk back then and stuffed them with nuts and raisins… My recipe is a little bit different, but most definitely dedicated to her and inspired by those baked apples I enjoyed as a child!
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 medium cooking apples
4 medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
4 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp butter
A sprinkling of ground cinnamon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Core both apples, score gently around the middle and place on a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray.
2. Pit and chop the dates, add to a bowl and cover with the ground almonds. Use your fingers to rub the ground almonds through the dates so they’re no longer sticky and clumped together.
3. Mix through the sunflower seeds.
4. Stuff both the apples with equal portions of the date mixture. Pour 2 tsps of maple syrup over both apples and dollop 1 tsp of butter on top of each apple, sprinkle with ground cinnamon before placing in the oven.
5. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, basting the apples with any run off of butter and maple syrup after around 10 minutes, until both apples are tender all the way through. (use a skewer or sharp knife to test).
6. Serve with a side of natural greek yoghurt and pour any liquid from the baking parchment back over the apples and yoghurt.