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Nick Nairn's caramelised apples with real custard

Desserts don't get more delicious than these caramelised apples served with creamy custard, lightly flavoured with real vanilla

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Ingredients (Serves 6)
For the custard
  • 150ml/ 1/4 pt Freedom Food-labelled double cream
  • 150ml/ 1/4 pt Freedom Food-labelled full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 Freedom Food-labelled free range egg yolks
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar

For the caramelised apples
  • 275g/10oz caster sugar
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered

Method
Cook the cream and milk in a thick-bottomed pan over a medium heat until simmering. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add both to the pan. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and fluffy. Slowly add the hot cream to the mixture, stirring continually. Pour into a clean pan and cook, still stirring, over a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken. When it lightly coats the back of a spoon, sieve the mixture into a clean, cold bowl and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming.
While the custard is cooling, caramelise the apples. In a large frying pan, melt the sugar slowly over a medium heat. Stir as little as possible, only doing so to fold in any small patches of dark caramel that start to appear. After 6-8 minutes, when all the sugar has melted, leave to cook for another 1-2 minutes. The caramel is ready when large bubbles appear along with a dark, acrid smoke. Remove the pan from the heat.
Carefully add the apples to the caramel, ensuring all the pieces are well coated. Return the pan to a low heat until the apples are tender, but still holding their shape.
Divide the caramelised apples between bowls, and serve with plenty of custard.

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