Fall is in full effect here in the UK and the people of England take their apples very seriously!
Last weekend, I went to the Fenton House where they have an operational garden on-sight. They had several apple-themed merchants on hand which was great - I've just recently moved to this part of the world so a lot of the apple varieties here are new to me and I was able to sample them, talk to the growers, try juices and ciders, and completely nerd out about all things apple.
Step 1: Select Your Apple, Gather Ingredients
For this recipe, I settled on a Bramley apple, which was noted as a good baking apple. It's massive (the apple on the left in this photo) and is a bit tart uncooked but after it baked it was flavorful and it blended with the other flavors nicely.
My baked apple also included brie and honey. A small wedge is all you need, but make sure you have some extra for snacking. (You'll thank me for this later - it takes 30 minutes to bake and you'll be salivating the entire half hour.)
Step 2: Cut Off a 'lid' and Make Some Room for Tasty Goodness
Carefully cut the 'lid' of the apple off by using a sharp knife at an angle - your best pumpkin lid technique will pay off beautifully here! After you've cut the whole way around, carefully take the knife around for a second pass, this time cutting in further towards the center until the lid pops off. With some stubborn apples, you might have to pry the lid off with your fingers.
The apple itself will be a key flavor in the final dish so you want to leave thick apple walls and plenty of apple in the bottom, but you can remove some parts of the fruit to make room for the brie.
Step 3: Fill 'er Up!
I'd actually recommend doing this a slightly different way after trying the results. I sliced the brie and layered it in but given the texture of the soft brie and the rind of the cheese, I'd recommend putting the wedge in without slicing it to allow the brie itself to be warm and gooey in the center. While it was still tasty, the rind throughout the soft, baked cheese ended up detracting from the dish in the end.
Pour on some honey and place the top back on to finish up this step!
Step 4: Add Bread for a Baking Base
This was a recommendation from the lovely woman at the farm stand when I told her I wanted to try this. She suggested putting a piece of bread (I used an english muffin) underneath the apple as it was baking so soak up any honey and apple juices that escaped in the oven. What a delicious idea! Not much to look at (although it's fun to see the circle indent in the english muffin where the apple pressed down) but boy was that tasty!
Step 5: Bake!
Bake your apple creation at 350 F for 25-30 minutes. Keep a close watch and you'll notice the apple browning, cheese bubbling, and maybe even some of the skin of the apple splitting. It's all good! They're just getting to know each other.
Step 6: Eat!
I popped the top off and scooped this out with a spoon once it had cooled. All the flavors were delicious together and I'd definitely make this again as a fall treat.