Baked Apples in Cinnamon and Star Anise Syrup
It has been a while since I last posted a dessert recipe, a French one, to be even more specific.
Back in the time when I first started blogging, I posted a recipe of baked apples. Every now and then, I still make it as it’s really easy and great in flavours.
I was first introduced to this humble dessert by my mother-in-law. She lives in the region of Normandy (North-West of France). A region that is not only famous for its dairy products but also for its apple brandy – Calvados. So, really, it’s a region of apple and dairy products (especially cheese, butter, cream etc… a bit off topic, but I’d love to talk about cheeses from Normandy one day!)
When I had my first taste of baked apple, I never knew it would have such great impact upon me. A simple dessert like this reflects greatly on the quality of the produce. I began to understand the meaning of ‘terroir’. Terroir is a French word when translated to English, it simply means region. However, it has a deeper meaning than just the word region.
Terroir is used to describe the characteristics of climate, soil and physical features of an area. Each region in France is said to have unique soil, weather conditions and farming techniques that impact the quality of the crops grown in that particular region. So, why Normandy is specifically known for its apple and dairy products? It’s because of the uniqueness of the topography, geography and climate.
Though I can’t get some apples from the region of Normandy, I normally use Royal Gala, Cox or Braeburn. This time, I make this slightly different by making a cinnamon and star anise infused syrup to go with it. The only thing that would have make it even better is a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!
For the Baked Apples in Cinnamon and Star Anise Syrup:
1kg cooking apples
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp lime zest
1 lime juice
1. Pre-heat the oven at 180ºC. Meanwhile, remove the core of each apple, rinse and dry. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
2. To make the syrup, add the sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, lime zest, lime juice and 300ml of water into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the syrup starts to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. About 15 minutes into baking the apples, remove the baking dish from the oven and pour over half of the syrup. Return into the oven and bake until the end of the cooking time. Serve at room temperature and serve with extra syrup if liked.