Elizabeth David’s books should be compulsory reading for every person who enjoys cooking. They are reminders that food can be simple, and yet stunningly delicious. It is so important in today’s world of Ottolenghi-like complex recipes. Of course I love Ottolenghi dishes, but how good it is to be able to put a dish together quickly and simply, rather than spending an hour or so on just one dish.
This is from Liz’s book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine and it is a simple apple dessert. Cooked in a syrup, it is a rare use of sugar on this blog. Our desserts are rare. But at least once per year, we have to cook some apples.
Apples with Lemon and Cinnamon
Take two apples per person and core and peel them. Slice as you would for an apple flan.
Put the cores and peels into a saucepan with a heaped dessertspoon of sugar and a slice of lemon with peel, for each apple. Cover amply with water and cook to a syrup – about 7 minutes of rapid boiling.
Put the apple slices in a saute or frying pan, and strain over the prepared syrup. Cover the pan and cook over moderate heat until the apples are soft but not broken up. Add more sugar if needed.
Arrange the apples on a serving dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, and place a few lemon slices on top for decoration and scent. Eat hot or cold.
(Alternatively, place the slices in an ovenproof dish, cover with syrup, cover, and cook in a 165C oven for 35 minutes. They can be served in this dish. Don’t forget the cinnamon.)
recipe notes and alternatives
Rather than using cinnamon, cook the apples with a split vanilla pod.
Tuck some cloves around the apples.
I like to add a little lemongrass and a kaffir lime leaf to the syrup. Other options, if you are happy to relinquish the cinnamon powder, are black pepper, star anise, anise seeds, ginger, a cinnamon stick, etc – add to the syrup.