RECIPE: Apples with pecans, and a chocolate butterscotch sauce
The combination of apple and toffee has always been delicious, whether in the form of a toffee apple or a caramel and apple tart. Often, however, the apple is overlooked as people favour the intense sweetness of toffee, only eating the apple to assuage their guilt. This recipe, however, places the spotlight on the apple, harnessing its naturally sweet freshness and soft baked texture to create a wonderful dessert that not only looks professional but (reassuringly) is very easy to make.
4 eating apples
50g pecan nuts
50g dark chocolate
35g soft light brown sugar
35g dark muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons cream (single or double)
½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f and line a baking sheet large enough for the apples with greaseproof paper. Chop the chocolate and pecan nuts into chunks. To save time, as the nuts are quite soft, they can be snapped easily with your hands rather than using a knife.
With a sharp knife, remove the centre of the apple but without cutting all the way through it (like making a little well in the centre). This hole will be stuffed with the sauce, nuts and chocolate so make it as big or small as you like, depending on your sweet tooth.
Place the apples on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the apple skins are shrivelling and the fruit is softening but not completely cooked through.
Whilst the apples are in the oven, make the butterscotch sauce. Stir together the flour, sugars and salt until it resembles sand before adding the eggs and cream and whisking until smooth.
Remove the apples from the oven and half fill the hollow with the chopped chocolate and nut mixture. Fill in the other half of the core with the butterscotch sauce, you can slightly overfill them in order to create a little trickle of sauce down the apple that will crisp nicely in the oven. If the nuts and chocolate are not bobbing to the surface of the sauce, stir the mixture gently with the handle of a spoon.
Place the apples in the oven again (same temperature) for roughly 5 minutes until the sauce is caramelising and beginning to crisp (keep an eye on them as sugar burs very quickly). These are best served warm but not immediately out of the oven as the sauce will become very hot. For added indulgence, serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.