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Monday 8 February 2010

Sluttishly Easy: Bramley Apple Brûlée

Apparently, this week is Bramley Apple Week. Which means, in celebration of the humble but delicious, versatile and budget-friendly Bramley, we'll be bringing you a selection of easy recipes for apple-based treats. Don't fret, we'll be featuring both sweet and savoury dishes. But as it's Monday (I don't know about you ravishing readers, but by Monday I'm usually in desperate need of a sugar rush to power me through the start of the week), we thought we'd start with this simple recipe for Bramley Apple Crème Brûlée:

To make 4, what you'll need is:
4 bramley apples
4 egg yolks
70g sugar
400ml single cream
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground cloves

Bits and bobs:
Ramekins, to serve in (teacups will do if you're stuck, but they need to be oven-proof so don't use your best china if you're unsure!)
A blender, electric whisk, or strong arms
Roasting dish
Kitchen blowtorch (you can use a normal grill if you haven't got one, but I like them because they make me feel powerful. Like a superhero, or one of Charlie's Angels. Ahem...)

What you'll need to do is:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 170C. Arrange your apples in a roasting dish and add 1cm of water. Bake for 45 minutes until they're wrinkled and squishy-looking, then put aside to cool. (This is the part of this recipe that takes the most time, but there's not much you can do whilst the apples are baking, so get a cuppa and chillax for this bit. And don't forget that if you're making these for a dinner party, you can do steps 1-3 in advance to save time and stress on the day. But if you're doing it all one go, leave the oven on after removing the apples.)

2. Whilst the apples are cooling, splodge your single cream into a saucepan and 'scald' - which just means bring it almost (but not quite!) to the boil.

3. Scoop the flesh out of your apples and splat them into the blender (or large mixing bowl, if you're using a handheld electric whisk). Add the scalded cream, spices, egg yolks and half of the sugar, then blend until smooth. Decant the blended mixture into the ramekins.

4. Put your ramekins into a roasting pan and add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of them. Bake for half an hour until set.

5. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar onto the surface of the mixture. If you're fancy enough to own a blowtorch, then use it to get that crunchy caramelised topping, or otherwise just stick 'em under a very hot grill for a minute or so. Channel Amelie and get cracking!

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