Quick, delicious, seasonal - this is the perfect Wine Harvest dessert. The recipe was given to me by Marie-Therese Meurgey who was Deputy-Mayor of Beaune for many years, and is a great source of local knowledge. At the moment, apples are literally falling off the trees in Burgundian orchards; this is an excellent way for hard-pressed cooks to use them, and at the same time use up day-old bread or cake - waste not, want not!
It's a homely dish, but that is what works best during the harvest. Pickers often return year after year to the same estates where they eat these kinds of family meals - it makes for a certain kind of relaxed but convivial ambiance.
For each person you need 1 dessert apple and 1 slice of white bread, or sponge cake, or brioche.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C.
Core the apples but leave them whole. Peel them if you feel the need. If so, you might want to baste with melted butter to prevent them from drying out in the oven.
Butter a gratin dish. Spread the slices of bread or cake with butter and put them in the dish. (Marie-Therese says it's even better if you fry the slices in a little butter first).
Arrange the apples, one on top of each slice and bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven.