Sultana and hazelnut baked apple with Calvados sauce

4 - medium-sized British eating apples
30g - caster sugar
50ml - water
40g - sultanas
40g - raisins
25g - chopped hazelnuts
30g - unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp - Chinese five spice powder
15g - Demerara sugar
For the Calvados sauce:
20ml - water
100g - caster sugar
150ml - pressed apple juice
1 tsp - arrowroot powder
30g - unsalted butter
1 tbs - Calvados
To Serve - good vanilla ice cream
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring the caster sugar and water to a boil. Add the raisins and sultanas and continue to cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a dry frying pan, toast the hazelnuts until lightly browned. Watch closely, as they burn easily. Once toasted, tip the nuts into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Cut a two centimetre slice from the top of each apple, keeping the stalk intact, and reserve this ‘lid’. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core from each apple, making sure not to cut through the bottom of the fruit. Stand the apples in a baking dish just large enough to hold them all snugly.
  5. Drain the sultanas and raisins from their soaking liquid and add them to the hazelnuts. Add the butter, Chinese five spice powder and Demerara sugar. Stir to combine thoroughly. Spoon this mixture into the apple cavities, packing in quite firmly. Replace the apple ‘lids’. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  6. While the apples are baking, make the Calvados sauce. In a small saucepan, make a caramel by bringing the water and sugar to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook to a dark amber colour. Do not stir this mixture, merely swirl the pan carefully incorporate any undissolved sugar, and be careful the caramel does not burn. When the right shade has been reached, remove from the heat and plunge the bottom of the saucepan into a sink of cold water to arrest the cooking process. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot powder with a little of the apple juice, then add this mixture back to the rest of the juice. Whisk to combine, then whisk this mixture into the caramel. Add the butter. Place the saucepan back on the heat and continue to cook, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the Calvados.
  7. To serve, place an apple in a shallow dessert bowl, pour a little Calvados sauce around the apple and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Equipment required
  • No equipment required