Ingredients to serve 4

4 large Bramley Seedling apples
50g butter
50g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons golden sultanas
150ml water
150ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
icing sugar for dusting

I think my grandfather had either stewed or roast apple every night of his life, so this always reminds me of Grandpoppy. Mostly he just had them with softly whipped cream and soft brown sugar melting over the top, but if you want to jazz them up a bit, you can add a little cinnamon or liqueur to the cream. These are quite plain, but you can put a bunch of different stuffings inside: mincemeat after Christmas, or marzipan, or nuts.

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4.

First, core the apples and score the skin across the equator. Mix the butter with the sugar, lemon zest and sultanas. Spoon the butter mixture into the apples. Stand the apples in an ovenproof baking dish and pour in the water.

Roast for 45-60 minutes depending on size. The apples should be beginning to burst – this is vital, so hold your nerve – and they should look fat and squishy.

Meanwhile, whip the cream and add cinnamon to taste. Serve the apples straight from the oven with the cinnamon cream and dust with icing sugar.

If you want to vary your recipe, try stuffing the apples with mincemeat. We also like them peeled and then stuffed with marzipan, then rolled in melted butter and cinnamon sugar before roasting.

Or, you can roast the apples unadorned. Proceed as in the recipe above, but omit the fruit and zest. Serve with freshly whipped cream and soft brown sugar. Divine!

From 'Forgotten Skills of Cooking' by Darina Allen (Kyle Cathie, £30)

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