Baked apples in pastry with Calvados and vanilla bean recipe

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  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 2 lb 4 oz (1 kg) cold Puff Pastry, 5 single turns
  • 2 finely grated oranges zest and juice of
  • 3½ fl oz (100 ml) Calvados
  • 6 small apples (reinette or red delicious)
  • 3½ oz (100 g) soft unsalted butter
  • 3½ oz (100 g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 3 vanilla beans
How to Make It
  1. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 2.5 mm (1/8 in) thick rectangle measuring about 40 x 70 cm (16 x 27½ in). Remember to keep moving the dough and dust with extra flour when necessary so that it doesn’t stick to your work surface. Using a 9 cm (3½ in) round cutter, stamp out six rounds for the bases, then use a 20 cm (8 in) round cutter to stamp out six rounds for the tops. Don’t be tempted to divide the pastry in half before you do this, because you will need more pastry for the tops than the bases. Dust each round with a little flour, then place on a tray lined with baking paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, put the orange zest, orange juice and 50 ml (13/4 fl oz) of Calvados in a large bowl and set aside. Peel the apples and core them with an apple corer or a sharp paring knife, then place in the bowl with the orange juice mixture. Turn the apples in the mixture to make sure they are coated in the liquid, to stop them oxidising. Set aside, turning the apples around in the bowl occasionally.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and the remaining Calvados until combined. If the mixture looks split, heat the bowl a little over a hot flame or run the outside of the bowl under very hot water, then beat again until well combined.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place one of the pastry bases (the smaller rounds) on the lined tray, leaving the rest in the fridge. Drain one apple and pat dry, then fill the hollowed-out core with a generous amount of Calvados butter. Place a teaspoon of the butter on top and sprinkle generously with sugar. Remove one of the pastry tops (the larger rounds) from the fridge and use a 1 cm (½ in) round pastry cutter or a paring knife to cut out a small hole in the middle. Place the pastry over the apple and fold the pastry around it, trying not to create too many overlaps of pastry towards the bottom. Using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut off the excess pastry around the bottom.
  5. To make an egg wash, lightly beat the eggs, egg yolk and salt in a small bowl. Brush a little egg wash over the pastry base, then sit the apple in the middle of the base. Press down firmly to join the top and base together, then brush all over with egg wash. Using the back of a paring knife, score a geometric design over the pastry, being careful not to cut all the way through. To finish, cut the vanilla beans in half and push a half through the hole in the top, to resemble an apple stem. Repeat the process with the remaining apples and pastry rounds.
  6. Place the douillons in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F) and bake for another 45 minutes, or until golden. If you find your pastry is browning too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Remove from the oven and serve hot with mascarpone or thick (double/heavy) cream.

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