Author Stuart Ovenden says “This dessert has real wow factor, it’s easy to make and can be prepped ahead. Simply warm the poached apples before serving and plate up with the candied hazelnuts and toffee sauce. For extra decadence, a spoonful of calvados cream is delicious."



  • 1 litre cider
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 6 eating apples


  • 1 egg white
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 25g butter, melted


  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 75g butter
  • a few drops vanilla extract


  • STEP 1

    Heat the cider, light brown sugar, spices and lemon zest in a pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the apples and add carefully to the hot cider. Bring the cider back to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes or until a sharp knife slips easily through the apple flesh. Take the pan off the heat and let the apples cool in the liquid.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. To make the candied hazelnuts, whisk the egg white for a minute or so until frothy, then gently fold in the granulated sugar, hazelnuts, most of the butter and a pinch of salt. Lightly grease a baking sheet with the left-over butter, then spread over the mixture. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden – a watchful eye is recommended, as it can burn pretty sharpish. Let it cool before breaking it up into little pieces.

  • STEP 3

    For the sauce, gently melt the cream, light brown sugar, butter and vanilla together in a pan. Bring to a bubble and keep stirring and simmering until the liquid is a thick, golden toffee colour. Serve warm with the poached apples and a sprinkle of candied nuts.

Recipe extracted from The Orchard Cook by Stuart Ovenden (£25, Clearview Books).


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