Cooking With British Bramley Apples (Plus Recipe)
The Best Cooking Apples
British Bramley apples are large, slightly squat apples with green skin and white, sharp-tasting flesh. They were originally cultivated in Nottinghamshire, England, in the early 1800s by a woman named Mary Ann Brailsford.
It is possible to eat a Bramley raw, but they are so tart that it really isn't advisable. The taste and texture change completely when they are cooked. They become a lot mellower and require very little sugar. You do have to keep an eye on them as they cook, as they can turn to a pulp very easily. This works well for applesauce, but it is a little too loose for a pie or crumble.
This variety of apples can be sweetened with sugar, honey, mixed spice, cinnamon or desiccated coconut. Or they may be eaten without any sweetening at all—it is a matter of individual taste—but most people will want to sweeten them a little.
If using for a pie or crumble, you can pre-cook the apple for around five minutes in a saucepan; ten minutes will give you applesauce. You can store applesauce in sterilised jars in the fridge for four weeks.
Available Year-Round, but Best in Winter
British Bramley apples are readily available year-round, but they are really at their best in the autumn and winter. When choosing your apples, always check the fruit carefully, avoid any apples with bruised skin, as the flesh inside will be brown. Some apples have light red flecks on the skin; this is a normal variation and doesn't mean the fruit is bruised. Hold each apple in the palm of your hand and check them for softness, you only want to pick the ones that feel nice and firm.
They can be stored for two to three weeks, maybe longer, if kept in a cool, dark place. Wrapping them individually in tissue paper extends this period of time further.
Bramley apples are available year-round and are always good, but they are at their very best in winter.
A Healthy Choice
Bramley apples not only taste good, but they are good for you, too. They are very high in dietary fibre; each large apple provides 6 grams of fibre. They also contain vitamins C and A, helpful for eye health and improving lung function and are high in antioxidants and flavonoids, particularly quercetin thought to contain anti-cancer properties. Maybe the old saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' has more than a few grains of truth in it.
High in fibre and vitamins C and A, Bramleys really are a healthy choice.
Baked Bramley Apple: Simple but Delicious
One of the easiest ways to cook these apples is to stuff it and bake it whole in the oven. Getting the core out cleanly is the hardest job—I'll admit I often made a mess of things using a sharp knife to do this—but now I have a metal apple corer and it has made life a lot easier for me.
This is a really tasty dish and children in particular love it. When my kids were young I often made pink custard to go with the baked Bramley apples. Simply stir in a few crushed strawberries or raspberries as you cook the custard and then strain it to remove pips before serving. Alternatively, you can use a few drops of red food colouring, or any colour you fancy. Making food fun is a great way to get children to eat more fruit.
Have you eaten cooked British Bramley apples?
How to Prepare the Apples Before Cooking
If you are making baked Bramley apple, then simply wash the skin in hand-hot water to remove any dirt. If the stalk is long and ragged then remove it. For use in all other dishes, the apples will need to be peeled and sliced. Bramleys turns brown very quickly once the peel is removed; tossing them in lemon juice will stop any discolouration.
- 4 British bramley apples, whole
- 2oz dessicated coconut
- 2oz mixed nuts, chopped
- 4oz mixed dried fruit, soaked in apple juice
- 4 tsp jam, any flavour
- 1tsp cinnamon
- honey, to taste
- Place the mixed dried fruit into a bowl with enough warm apple juice to cover them. Leave them to soak for around 10 minutes.
- Wash the apples using hand-hot water, then dry them using a clean cloth or kitchen paper.
- Using a sharp knife or an apple corer remove the core making sure you take out all of the pips.
- Score a line in the skin of the apple half way round to ensure it doesn't split in the oven.
- Combine all of the ingredients together. If the dried fruit hasn't absorbed most of the apple juice drain a little off, or the mixture might end up too runny.
- Place the apples in a baking dish, individual ones are good as you can take them straight to the table but you can make this in one large dish.
- Use the fruit and nut mixture to stuff the apples, pressing down firmly. Spoon any leftover mixture around the apples.
- Bake in a moderate oven 200c for around 30 minutes.
When the apples are cooked remove them from the oven and leave them to cool slightly. Never serve them straight from the oven as the mixture will be extremely hot! Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.
This is a vegetarian dish if you replace the honey with a little sugar to taste and serve with non-dairy ice cream then it becomes vegan. Enjoy.
Never serve baked Bramley apples straight from the oven. They are lava-hot and really retain the heat!
This is the corer I use. It has a good sturdy handle, is easy to clean and it is very easy to remove the core from the corer with a flick of a knife. You can also use it to remove the core from pears.
Make British Bramley Apples Your Go-To Cooking Apple
I hope you try British Bramley apples the next time you are making a cooked apple dish; they are simply the best cooking apple to use. Available year-round, healthy, tasty and versatile, they can't be beaten.
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