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Recipe: Baked Apple With Salted Caramel Syrup

Last updated on: March 01, 2024 18:14 IST
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Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/

Before the sale of Indian sweets went upmarket in air-conditioned fancy shop premises and with more hygienic or chilled glass cases, unless you had it fresh from a halwai, it was a pretty messy business.

When you went into any average Indian sweet shop and admired the pretty barfis, pedhas, kalakands, rasgullas, chumchums, admiring it with you would be packs of very determined flies. They would be walking all over the sweets, nibbling away, having a sugar rush ball, even as you quickly reversed out of the dukaan.

For that reason, when I first visited India as an ABCD tyke back in the 1970s, my over-vigilant doctor father banned us from eating sweets anywhere. Sweets were a no go. He didn't consider them germ-free and they were not served hot or made in front of you.

But when we were staying for a few days at the posh India International Centre in New Delhi, he allowed me to have the hot freshly-baked apple that was on their menu. That was a big treat. I had it multiple times and eagerly anticipated its arrival at the end of our meals.

Photograph: Zelda Pande

A starchy uniform-clad bearer, with a towering turban, would come smartly marching over to the table, wielding a tray high above his shoulder on which sat the silver goblet of baked apple under a metal dome and gravy boat dish of hot syrup. It was always unfailingly scrumptious.

On subsequent trips to Delhi and elsewhere, I looked all over for a place serving baked apple. Maybe it was a specialty of the chef manning the India International kitchens, but it was not a dish I found on any menu, not even club menus where strange, old-fashioned items linger and persist for aeons like Welsh rarebit, Scotch eggs, Waldorf salad. Perhaps it belonged to another era.


I tried to figure out how it was made. Baking apples is a no-brainer. Stuff them and put them in the oven and they come out splendid. But I could not recall what the syrup was all about, until I recently realised it had to have been salted caramel.

I dabbled with apples and syrups and got something quite close to what I remembered from decades ago. Of course, I added a little rum to the dish, because any dessert is greatly enhanced by little thimbles of liquor. The caramel sauce is a modified version from the well-known cooking Web site Sally's Baking Recipes.

Photograph: Zelda Pande

Baked Apples With Salted Caramel Sauce

Serves: 4-5


For the baked apples

  • 4 firm, crunchy, tart apples (I used Washington and Red Delicious apples)
  • Handful or about 50 gm golden raisins, chopped
  • Handful or about 50 gm black raisins, chopped
  • Juice of ½ a neebu or lime
  • 1 tsp dalcheeni or cinnamon powder
  • 3-4 tbsp date gud or jaggery
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped nuts, like pecans, cashews, optional
  • 4 knobs or tsp butter
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • Glass baking bowl

For the caramel syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 80 gm unsalted butter
  • ½ cup fresh cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 8 tbsp rum

To serve

  • A few dollops vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional

Photograph: Zelda Pande


For the baked apples

  • In a bowl, for the stuffing, mix the raisins with the date gud, cinnamon, lemon juice and the nuts (nuts are strictly optional and I preferred not to use them).
    Keep aside.
  • Core the apples, to remove the seeds and hard centre, by twisting a knife or with a corer, but don't core it all the way through and leave the bottom skin intact so the stuffing does not fall out while baking.
    Stuff the apples with the raisin mixture so the stuffing is packed tight inside and add a knob of butter on top of each apple.
  • Heat an oven to 200 °C
    In a glass baking dish pour in the boiling water.
    Place the apples in the hot water.
    Bake the apples for about 40 minutes till cooked in the middle shelf of the oven -- poke a fork inside to see if cooked, but the apples should not become mush or extra soft.

For the caramel syrup

  • While the apples are baking, get started on the syrup and heat the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes.
    When the sugar granules have completely melted and browned a little, add in the butter, 1 tbsp at a time.
    Allow the butter to melt and add the cream.
    Then add the cream and bring to a bubbling boil.
  • Take off heat and add the salt and mix and cool a little.
    Add in the rum.

To serve

  • Place an apple each on a quarter plate or in a dessert bowl, and spoon some of the juices oozed while baking over it.
    Pour 4-5 tbsp of hot caramel syrup on top of the apple so it sluices down over the apple and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Zelda's Note: If you are not serving the dessert immediately, don't add the rum to the caramel syrup and add after you reheat the syrup, preferably in the microwave for a minute or 2.

Excess caramel syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for a month or two and used for future desserts, like atop ice cream or poured over sponge cake or to make trifle.

For a less sugary and fattening dessert, skip the date jaggery and the butter and use only the raisins and opt to dribble tiny quantities of caramel syrup or serve with a sugar-free bought caramel syrup or opt to make at home an allulose sweetened caramel syrup (external link). Allulose is available online.

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