For the comforting flavours of apple pie - but without the stratospheric calorie count - try this healthy dessert. You can usually find pink peppercorns with the other spices in major supermarkets, but if you can't get hold of them, simply grind a little black pepper over the cooked apples for a similar hit of warmth.
Preparation: 45 minutes
- 4 Pink Lady apples, unpeeled
- 100g currants
- 50g dried cranberries
- 1 tbsp pink peppercorns
- 30g soft brown sugar
- 50g mixed candied peel
- 50ml Cointreau liqueur (or orange juice)
- 100ml white wine (or apple juice or water)
- Yoghurt, cream or ice cream to serve
1 Heat the oven to 190C. Pour boiling water over the currants, cranberries and pink peppercorns to just cover, and soak for 10 minutes.
2 Mix together the brown sugar, candied peel and Cointreau (or orange juice). Drain the currants, cranberries and peppercorns and add to the sugar mixture, stirring well.
3 Core the apples and use a sharp knife to make an incision around the middle of each apple to stop the skins bursting.
4 Place in an ovenproof dish, and fill each apple until it's overflowing with the fruit mixture. Add the white wine, apple juice or water to the dish and bake for 35 minutes or until tender (test by piercing with a thin skewer).
5 Drizzle with the sweet juices left in the dish and serve with a dollop of yoghurt, cream or ice cream.
Apples: French researchers discovered that the antioxidants found in apples help to strengthen bones. A Yale University study also found that just the smell of spiced apples can have health benefits, helping to lower blood pressure because of its calming effects.
Currants: They are a great source of sustained energy: the high potassium content helps regulate blood sugar levels while the fibre helps to keep you feeling full.
Peppercorns: They improve digestion by stimulating the pancreas to produce more digestive enzymes. They also contain compounds that neutralise free radicals - helping to protect against cancer and signs of ageing, says the Journal of Food and Science Nutrition.
Many thanks to pinkladyapples.co.uk for providing this recipe, which was printed in the June 2011 edition of Runner's World magazine.