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Jenny Bristow's apple-maple pandowdy

700g/1½lbs Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsps maple sugar or caster sugar

4 tbsps maple syrup Topping 110g/4oz plain flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsps baking powder

50g/2oz caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

75ml/3fl oz milk

1 tsp natural vanilla extract

1 dsp maple syrup

75g/3oz butter, softened

To serve 25g/1oz icing sugar

I've found great food inspiration in New England and the surrounding area of Virginia. The baking traditions link both sides of the Atlantic and I realised there is a fantastic culinary crossover. I found food to die for and I loved the way each area created its own dishes with a clever twist in the ingredients.

This is the time of year for good, heart-warming desserts, and apple pandowdy -- a favourite dessert in New England -- is made with our homegrown Bramley apples and crusted with maple syrup; the sponge has a flavour all of its own. Serve with maple-flavoured yoghurt or, for a touch of sheer indulgence, with warm creamy custard

1 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4. Butter an ovenproof dish, such as a deep pie dish. Place the apples in the dish and add the cinnamon and maple or caster sugar. Pour the maple syrup over the top, cover with foil and bake for 20--25 minutes, until the apples have softened slightly.

2Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder into a bowl, then add the sugar. In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add this to the flour mixture, stirring all the time, but being careful not to over beat.

3Add the maple syrup and keep stirring to form a batter-like mixture. Fold in the butter. Pour the batter over the apples, ensuring it covers them completely, and return the dish to the oven. Cook, uncovered, for 20--25 minutes, until the topping is golden and firm. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm, with whipped cream or yoghurt.

Irish Independent