May 20th, 2020


Growing up in an apple-growing region I admit that I didn’t think of apples as a particularly special fruit. Not like feijoas or peaches for example, that have a short season and can’t be easily stored fresh. However, the more I cook predominantly with the seasons I have come to appreciate the fresh autumn apple. In particular the heritage apple varieties with their tart and diverse flavours, and excellent cooking qualities.

It is important to use cooking apples when baking whole apples. They are quite different to eating apples, being generally tarter, and when cooked the flesh will soften and melt. I used 6 small golden delicious apples gathered from my sister’s autumn garden. If you are using larger, store-bought apples such as Granny Smith, then 4 apples will be enough. And make the most of the oven heat and bake some jacket potatoes for dinner at the same time.

Baked Apples with Date Crumble

Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 4-6 cooking apples – see suggestions above
  • cup (50g) dried pitted dates, chopped
  • 50 g room temperature butter
  • ½ cup (50g) rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Preheat oven 180C.
  • Place the chopped dried dates into a sieve and slowly pour 1 cup boiling water over to soften. Sit over a bowl to drain.
  • Use an apple corer to remove the core from the apples, plus a little extra flesh to make a 1½ cm wide hole. Use a small knife to cut around the belly of each apple, so they can open up while cooking and to prevent the skin from bursting.
  • In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together the softened dates and butter. Add the rolled oats and cinnamon and keep mixing until combined. Use your hands to press the mixture firmly into the apple cavities, mounding extra mix onto the top of each apple.
  • Place the apples into a small baking dish so they are sitting upright together, and add the water. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the flesh is soft. Note: the cooking time will vary depending on the variety of apple used and size.
  • Serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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