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

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

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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