A sweet and spicy dessert for when the weather gets colder
80g mixed dried fruit
50ml brandy, cider brandy or best still calvados
80g salted butter, softened
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
A pinch of ground cinnamon
25g pecans, broken or chopped into pieces the size of dried fruit
4 large eating apples (braeburn or pink lady are great)
1 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour over the brandy. Leave to macerate for at least 1 hour or better still, leave covered overnight.
Beat the softened butter with the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon, then stir in the soaked dried fruit and finally the pecans. Cut a thin sliver off the base of each apple to help them stand straight, then core them. Make a small incision around the circumference of each apple to stop them bursting.
Stuff the cavities with the spiced fruit butter, then arrange the apples in an ovenproof dish, topping with any extra butter. Drizzle over the honey. Cover with greaseproof paper and foil, then place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 mins. Remove the foil and parchment carefully and baste the apples with the buttery juices. Return to the oven and cook for 15 mins, or until soft but not collapsing. Serve the apples with the juices spooned over them, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and maybe an extra shot of calvados for absolute decadent pleasure.
Recipe: Hayden Groves