Baking Apples the French Farmhouse Way

In my last In My Kitchen Post, I mentioned making baked apples. The recipe I now fall back on time and time again (during apple season, of course) comes from French Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis. Her recipe adds a a few tweaks on a basic recipe, plus I’ve tweaked it a little bit more by substituting or modifying amounts.

When I first tried Loomis’ method, it came as a big surprise. Previously when I made baked apples, they were simply apples cooked in a bain-marie in the oven, perhaps filled with a little cinnamon and sugar. It tasted of applesauce and the only difference was they were whole and not mash/purée. Rather ordinary, in my opinion, so I didn’t make them that often. The French Farmhouse Cookbook baked apples, however, elevates the ordinary to extraordinary. It must be the wine!

Baked Apples in Wine
The French Farmhouse Cookbook uses apricot jam, not plum (i.e. damson) as I do, and finishes the dish with Crème de cassis rather than Calvados.

  • 4 firm cooking apples (not too tart)
  • 4 teaspoons plum jam (approximate)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 20g butter
  • 250ml (or more) red wine
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 4 Tablespons Calvados or a good brandy

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C while you prepare the apples.

Core your apples, leaving a bit at the bottom. Peel the apples and place them in a small casserole, tightly packed so they stay upright. Insert 1 teaspoon of plum jam into each apple, filling it half way. Depending on the size of your apple core cavity, you may need less or more. Add a teaspoon of sugar on top and then a dot of butter.

Pour the wine around the apples; it should be about 1.5cm (1/2 inch) deep, so adjust amount for your casserole. Dust with cinnamon.

Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until the apples are cooked through, but still retain their shape. Take out of the oven and while still warm, pour a tablespoon of Calvados over each apple. Cover with clingfilm or foil so the apple steams a little as it cools.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with cream, pouring custard or ice cream. Or, equally, they are lovely on their own.


  1. This post reminded me how much I’d enjoyed Susan Herrmann Loomis’ ‘On Rue Tatin’, a wonderful book, with evocative descriptions of French small town life and food. So the right thing to do is to cook this baked apple dish, and soon. Thanks!


  2. Bake apples are a lovely dessert, but I’ve never tried them with a splash of Calvados. I like that touch. The plastic wrap idea is a good one too. I’m thinking this will go will with a nice brie and some Swedish pepparkaka (gingersnaps). We have apples everywhere just now, so we’ll be giving this a try come the weekend.


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