Pommes au Cognac

A sophisticated version of baked apples, Pommes au Cognac (pohm oh cawn-yac) is apples baked in brandy and vermouth.

Although we have served Pommes au Cognac hot, they may also be served cold, with chilled whipped cream or even vanilla ice-cream.

4 cooking apples

1 oz. plus

4 teaspoons butter

1 tablespoons castor sugar

4 fl. oz. dry white vermouth

4 fl. oz. water

1 fl. oz. Cognac slices white bread, crusts removed, and cut into circles about

½ inch thick and

3-inches in diameter

2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Wash the apples and, with an apple corer, remove the cores. Using a sharp knife, make shallow slits all round the apples, starting from the centre and extending halfway down the sides. This will prevent the skins from bursting.

Put

1 teaspoon of the butter in the centre of each apple and place them, up-right, in a medium-sized flameproof baking dish.

Sprinkle over the sugar and pour in the vermouth, water and 2 tablespoons of the Cognac.

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake the apples for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized frying-pan, melt the 1 ounce of butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the bread slices and fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until they are crisp and golden brown. Using a fish slice or spatula, remove the fried bread from the pan and set them aside to drain on kitchen paper towels. Arrange them on a serving dish.

When the apples have cooked, remove the baking dish from the oven and, with a slotted spoon, carefully place one apple on each slice of fried bread. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the baking dish over high heat, add the remaining Cognac and the red-currant jelly and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about half.

Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the sauce over the apples. Serve at once.

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