Tudor Roasted Apples

It's interesting that, when many of us think of Tudor and Medieval food, we think it's bland and unexciting. 

In fact, Tudors used a wide range of spices including ginger, caraway, aniseed and fennel to flavour their food, even using sweeter spices such as cinnamon and saffron to flavour meaty stews and pies. 

After a visit to Hampton Court Palace Kitchens last year, I became interested in recreating many of these Medieval and Tudor recipes, to taste them for myself. I consulted  the late-Elizabethan texts of The Gode Huswife (1596-7), and The Forme of Cury (1390). In the end though, I settled on inspiration from a fascinating and contemporary book: All The King's Cooks by Peter Brears. It details the way Henry's Hampton Court Kitchens worked and the kind of recipes served there. 

These roasted apples took 45 minutes to make from scratch and we ended up with burnished on the outside and meltingly soft in the centre apples. They're easy to make yourself - and don't be put off by the caraway comfits tumbled over at the end - they're not difficult to make and they finish the apples off beautifully. There are aniseed, sweet, fruity and treacly flavours all here, and they're totally delicious. 

Tudor Roasted Apples
Adapted from a recipe in the book All The King's Cooks by Peter Brears
Makes 4
4 Pink Lady eating apples
half teaspoon each of fennel seeds and caraway seeds
1 tablespoon coconut or light brown sugar (or use white sugar if you like, but the seeds will look white)
1-2 teaspoons water

Wash the apples and score the skin, horizontally. Place them into an oven-proof dish and bake at 200ÂșC for around 40 minutes, until softened. When done, take them out and leave to cool slightly. 

Add the sugar and water to a non-stick frying pan and tumble in the fennel and caraway seeds. Swirl them around until they are coated in the sugar-syrup mixture. Place the apples on a serving dish or plate and then sprinkle over the comfits. 

Serve warm. 

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