Toffee apples

Makes 6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Earlier this year, on National Apple Day, 21 October, we made toffee apples at Petersham from some lovely heritage apples grown at Brogdale. I was pleased as punch with how they looked small and charmingly shaped and sure that we would have had none left at the end of the day. Sadly I was wrong. Just as I watched children's eyes light up as they saw them, I also watched their parents steer them away, discouraging them from eating something they saw as indulgent and sugar-coated. Sugar-coated they are but once one small shard of sugar is bitten through, inside is a beautiful English apple. Old-fashioned in the extreme, devoid of any colourings or flavourings, toffee apples are a treat for any time of year.

250g/8oz golden caster sugar
125ml/4fl oz water
6 organic English apples
1tbsp vegetable oil
6 sturdy sticks

Place the sugar and water in a pan over a low heat and allow the sugar to dissolve. Once it has dissolved, turn the heat up and cook, without stirring, until a golden caramel has formed this will take eight to 10 minutes. The caramel will brown around the edges of the pan first; when it does so, swirl the pan once or twice to mix it into the centre. While the sugar is cooking, pierce the base of each apple with a wooden stick by at least an inch. When the sugar is an even colour, remove from the stove, and dip in the apples one at a time to coat evenly. Sit to harden on a baking tray, greased with the oil. Once cool, remove from the tray and serve.'