Weather the winter months cooking up a seasonal storm in the kitchen with these cacao and apple recipes
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, we’ll take a whole crate of them! We adore using fresh seasonal apples in our winter-time baking… And we sure get through them. From apple pies and crumbles to classic chocolate-covered slices and stewed apple compote, this quintessential British fruit offers endless culinary possibilities. Add a little chocolate to the mix, and you’ve got some very special apple recipes.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how to create some of our favourite cacao and apple-based delights…
When are apples in season in the UK?
There are an estimated 30,000 apple varieties in the world, and a good number of them can be found in UK orchards. Apple season in the UK spans late August to December, with different varieties becoming ready to harvest at different times. For example, the Discovery variety is one of the earliest, and you can pick them in late August. Spartans tend to be ready to pick from October to November, and Crispin apples are frequently picked as late as December.
If you live in the countryside or near an orchard, you might even be able to pick up some fresh apples from your neighbours or local honesty boxes. This is a great way to get your hands on the freshest (and often the cheapest) in-season apples around. You can be sure that these apples have an extremely low carbon footprint, too!
Why eat locally grown, seasonal apples?
If you can get your hands on organic apples, even better. They may be smaller than your perfect supermarket apples, unconventionally shaped, or have a few blemishes but you’ll appreciate the difference once you catch a whiff of their sweet, fresh, fragrant aroma.
Growers can harvest local apples when they’re ripe. Imported apples, on the other hand, are often harvested long before their prime to account for long shipping times. The longer fresh produce sits around, the more its quality deteriorates, losing vitamins and minerals. A local apple picked at the right time will bring much more to the table in terms of nutrition, flavour, and texture. Plus, if your apples aren’t travelling long distances, they don’t need to be waxed or undergo post-harvest chemical treatment to preserve them.
Seasonal chocolate and apple recipes
Apple and chocolate is a classic culinary pairing. Here are some of our favourite cacao-based recipes to help you make the most of this versatile fruit. Whether you’ll be enrobing fresh apple slices with chocolate, baking an apple and chocolate crumble, or creating an apple compote with chocolate drizzling, you’re certainly in for a treat.
Sweet and simple: classic chocolate-dipped apples
This is as simple as apple recipes go, but it’s one we had to include. Perfect for little hands or midday snacking, chocolate-dipped apple slices are a delicious and healthy way to make the most of apple season. Keeping the apples raw locks in all the natural vitamins and minerals. The chocolate just adds that little extra something — a touch of rich, bitter indulgence. Crisp, juicy, refreshing whilst being undeniably decadent and flavoursome.
We think the secret to creating the most irresistible chocolate-dipped apples lies in your choice of chocolate. Favouring high-cacao chocolate over sweeter, high-sugar ones, we always opt for dark chocolate when making our chocolate dipped apples. Our 70% and 85% dark batons are particularly good for melting, as is our 90% dark slab if you’re looking for the boldest, darkest experience.
To make your chocolate-dipped apples, simply cut your apples into slices. Melt your chocolate before dipping in each apple slice. You’ll want to dip each piece so that it is just over half covered in chocolate — you can pick up the apple by its chocolate-free end for ease of eating. Delish!
If you want to experiment with flavours, why not try dipping with some of our fruity chocolates? Our 70% Dark Chocolate Orange Slab contains the perfect dose of citrus tang from ripe Valencian oranges. Meanwhile, our Raspberry White Chocolate is ideal for those who prefer to pair their apple with lighter, creamy chocolate.
Moreish dessert: apple and dark chocolate crumble
If you’re hoping to use up quite a few apples, our apple and dark chocolate crumble will help you out. Perfect as a ‘special treat’ dessert or a dinner party offering, this crumble makes apple the star of the show while lifting it to a whole new level.
- 300g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 150g sugar
- 200g butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 500g apples (chopped into chunks)
- 40g sugar
- 1tbsp plain flour
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of ginger
- 4 single 70% Dark Chocolate Batons
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/ Gas mark 4.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, and butter to a large bowl. Mix together by rubbing the sugar and salt into the butter. Stop when the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Add the apples to another large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Chop the chocolate batons into small pieces (approx 1cm) and add to the apple mixture.
- Butter an ovenproof dish. Add the apple mixture, then sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the crumble is a light golden brown.
- Serve with ice cream, custard, or an extra drizzling of melted chocolate!
Seasonal and sophisticated: apple compote with chocolate drizzling
Our last recipe may seem the ‘fanciest’ of them all, but it’s actually incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. You can also tailor your compote to taste by adding more or less sweetener, chocolate, apple, or spice.
- 3 – 5 local, seasonal apples
- Honey, maple syrup, or a few tbsp brown sugar
- Splash of water
- Your choice of warming spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
- 6 single 85% Dark Chocolate Batons
- Add the apples to a saucepan and simmer on a low heat. You’ll want to add a splash of water to make sure the apples don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Keep on the heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples reach a soft compote consistency. Keep on the heat if you prefer a thicker, smoother texture. If your compote looks too thick, add a little more water to loosen the mixture.
- While your compote is simmering, melt your chocolate batons (see our best ways to melt chocolate).
- Take your compote off the heat. While it is still warm, add your sweetener. The compote will already be quite sweet due to the apples (depending on the variety), so sample your mixture to judge the right amount of sweetener. You can also add a pinch of spices to the mix.
- Dish your compote mixture into small dishes (you should get two to three portions from this recipe depending on your serving size). Drizzle as much chocolate as you like over your compotes! If you don’t want to use pure melted chocolate as your drizzle, you can try making your own chocolate sauce — this will turn your compote into even more of an indulgent treat!
That’s a few seasonal apple recipes to be getting on with — good luck with your creations!