8 apples
3 cups mixed dried fruit
2 tablespoons grated butter
1 teaspoon each powdered cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts (optional)
1½ cups water
mascarpone, to serve
90g cream cheese
300ml cream
100ml lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar

Any variety of apple will work but a Granny Smith is good because it remains firm while baking. The more fluffy apples will taste equally good but do not present so well. We used to make our own crème fraîche and mascarpone. Now it is commercially available but it’s fun to make your own and you can flavour it with citrus zest, rum or brandy.

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1.Heat the oven to 180°C.
2.Cut the apples across the base so they will sit squarely in the baking dish. Cut a thin slice from the top of each apple to make a lid.
3.Use a corer or melon baller to remove the core of each apple and create a cavity.
4.Sit the apples in a baking tray.
5.Mix the dried fruit, grated butter, spices, lemon zest and juice and the nuts.
6.Fill the apple cavities with this mix, and if you have any left just add it to the pan around the apples. If you choose, sit the apple lids on top.
7.Pour the water into the baking dish and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
8.Baste the apples once during the cooking.
9.Place the apples on a dessert plate, surrounded by any extra dried fruit you may have in the pan.
10.Add a blob of mascarpone before serving.
12.Mix the cream cheese with a little of the cream, the lemon juice and sugar until smooth.
13.Slowly beat in the rest of the cream until thick.
14.Store in the refrigerator.

Recipes & food styling Grant Allen & Giada Grilli / Photography Tony Nyberg / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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