By Mark Hix

These are a grown-up version of baked apples. The booze is cleverly contained in the tin foil, which also makes them easier to transport.

4 medium sized dessert apples, such as Cox's, Pink Lady or Braeburn

For the pastry

100ml water
600g lard
25g unsalted butter
250g plain flour
Pinch salt
1/2tbsp caster sugar
1 small egg, beaten

For the filling

30g walnuts, chopped
10 whole almonds, chopped
1tbsp ground almonds
6 dates chopped
1tbsp raisins
2tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp whisky
1tbsp rum
1tbsp medium sherry
A good pinch of mixed spice

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

First make the pastry: mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Heat the water, lard and butter in a saucepan to boiling point, then pour on to the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Leave the dough covered for about 15 minutes or so until it can be handled.

Divide the dough into 4 balls and roll each of them on a lightly floured table to about 14-16 cm in diameter and cut into circles.

Cut the top off the apple (the stalk end) and remove the core with an apple corer, or a small sharp knife, making a hole about 11/2cm wide - enough to pour some filling into. Mix all the ingredients for the filling together and stuff into the apples. If there is any left over just spoon it on top.

Put an apple in the centre of each piece of pastry and bring the pastry up the sides of the apple, gathering it up and pinching it together, leaving the top of the apple and filling exposed. Place them on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

Serve with thick custard or double cream.

Mark Hix is Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of the Year

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