Ingredients

50 g (2 oz) butter, at room temperature
50 g (2 oz) light muscovado sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
grated rind of ½ small orange
1 tablespoon finely chopped glacé or drained stem ginger
50 g (2 oz) ready-chopped pitted dates
4 large Braeburn or other firm dessert apples
150 ml (4 pint) cloudy apple juice
hot custard or cream to serve

Instructions

1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Mix together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and orange rind until smooth, then stir in the chopped ginger and dates.
2.Trim a thin slice off the bottom of the apples, if needed, so that they will stand up without rolling over, then cut a thick slice off the top of each and reserve for later.
3.Using a small knife, cut away the apple core to leave a cavity for the stuffing.
4.Divide the date mixture into 4 and press a portion into each apple cavity, spreading it over the top cut edge of the apple if it won't all fit in.
5.Replace the apple lids and the apples into the slow cooker pot. Pour the apple juice into the base of the pot, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the apples are tender.
6.Lift the apples carefully out of the slow cooker and serve in shallow dishes with the sauce spooned over and a drizzle of hot custard or cream.
7.FOR BAKED APPLES WITH GINGERED CHERRIES follow the recipe as above, but omit the cinnamon, replace the orange rind with lemon rind and replace the dates with 50 g (2 oz) chopped glacé cherries.

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