Apple halves are set in a vanilla-and-orange-infused caramel and then slowly roasted until soft. Serve them warm with our Apple-Cider Sabayon.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the cut apples, 1 tablespoon sugar, maple syrup, orange zest, lemon zest, lemon juice, bay leaves, vanilla bean, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and star anise in a medium mixing bowl. Toss the mixture well to combine.
Melt the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the sugar has caramelized, about 4 minutes. If the sugar starts to brown unevenly, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the butter, and cook until melted.
Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully place the apple halves, cut side down, into the skillet, and pour the rest of the ingredients from the mixing bowl over the apples. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the apples begin to caramelize and the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and, using a spatula or tongs, carefully turn the apples over. Bake 20 minutes more, until the apples are very tender. Serve immediately with the Apple-Cider Sabayon.
Crisp apples are best for this dish because they don't break down while cooking.