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Attention all sugar heads!!!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've got a "mercenary" catering gig tomorrow night and I could use a little input on something from the dolce gallery...Of the few things I'm preparing, one item is a cheese board with three different French cheeses. As an accompaniment, I'm offering red wine and rosemary poached pears with the pear poaching liquid reduced to a syrup and apple pieces carmelized. My problem is the apples. When I torch them after sugaring them, they only stay crunchy for a really short time because I think the sugar is leaching the water out of the apple pieces. Any suggestions on how to keep the sugary crunch?
post #2 of 12
You could try baking them after coating with sugar. This will caramelize the sugar, and dry out the apple a bit too. Saves a lot of time with the torch as well.
post #3 of 12
You could dip them in caramalized sugar, just like for those fancy dessert garnishes. Use a dipping fork, knock off excess and put it on a sill pat to cool. They have a nice crunch and keep for around 3-4 hours or more depending on humidity and the moisture of the apples. Might be too sweet for a cheese board. Used to make them all the time for my kid brother.

Bo Friburg has a method for this in The Professional Pastry Chef if you have that book...
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Do youmean to say, dip the pieces individually into a reduced simple syrup and allow to harden by sitting at room temp? Not sure I follow you. I did try sugaring them the way you would salt eggplant to draw out water and then re-sugaring and torching...there's just too much d*mn water. What else can I do with yellow delicious apples for a cheese board that won't turn brown as they sit out?
post #5 of 12
Nah, take the syrup down to the caramel stage like you would make for a flan. Set the bottem of the pan into cold water for a second to stop from cooking. Then take your apple wedges, blot them dry with a towel, and dip them into the hot caramel. You can do this with a fork or you can skewer the apple segments on skewer. If you dip them with the skewer you can hang them over the edge of your table, and the excess caramel will drip down and form a long spike. You can use this a nice garnish to add height.
Here are a couple of pictures from Bo Fribergs website, that show the technique with hazelnuts and little cream puffs...

If the caramel isn't too hot, you should be able to get a fairly substantial layer of caramel that will resist the moisture from the apple. In the past, I have always used granny smith or golden delcious apples with great success. I think you could get even better results from IQF apple segments that have been thawed out, as they would have less moisture then fresh.

I bet you could poach the apple segments lightly in a heavy syrup to set the color and keep em dry. The only hitch would be keeping them intact in the caramel. If you use a fork, you should be ok.

As far as using raw apples, I think you are pretty much FUBAR, unless you keep replacing them. On a side note, the pastry girl at this spanish place I used to work at, did an apple tart that had Idziabel cheese on top. I think it was just pate brisee, apples, a little sugar, a little lemon, a little butter, and the cheese. I'm not sure that she used any spices in it. Gotta go look for my notes... Good luck with your platter travis!
post #6 of 12
When the caramel is hard, it looks pretty, but give it a test run before you mass produce them. It can sometimes virtually pull your teeth out!:eek:
post #7 of 12
True that..
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just ended up poaching the apples in a reisling with some additional sugar then reducing the poaching liquid to a syrup to serve with the cheese. It came out pretty nice. Thanks for your suggestions.
post #9 of 12
I know I'm way late on this, but for future TB you were on the right track with drawing out moisture but instead of sugar you can bath them in citrus.
lem. I've done this as a plate garnish. after the bath the slices dry in kitchen towels. We then torched them, but the key is to take them a little further like momo says. The apple must be completely covered. So basically you are carmelizing on one side but you get the snap and not the chew. We used this for an apple gelato and drizzled a tiny bit of balsamic on the apple.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, Panini, let me understand this. Are you saying to essentially "marinate" the apple in pure cittrus? I know citrus helps to prevent "browning", a bit of a natural preservative, but how will that help with moisture reduction? I did find that after I torched a few sugar-coated slices of apple and they turned soft, that later I re-coated with sugar and torched again, they held on to the hard, crunchy texture I was trying to achieve. Too much work, though. I would like to develop a recipe for the perfect brulee apple wedge. Can we work on this? Let's get all "Cook's Illustrated" on this! I don't have a lot of experience with sweet stuff, but I don't mind learning.
post #11 of 12
Have you ever tried oven dried brown sugar for a brulee topping? You then pulse it in a food processor, and end up wih larger granules than with white sugar. I think you'll achieve a thicker coating that may last longer on the apple. Worth a try. It also has a more complex flavor than regular sugar.
post #12 of 12
Not marinade the apples. The lemon juice will retard the oxidation but it also seems to help the towels pull moisture from the apple. The drying is in the towels, not in the juice. Just an American bath, not a Roman one. Let me check my notes when I get in tomarrow. I may have use sanding or coarse or a mix. I know that we had more then the usual amount of sugar and we took it past normal golden brown. I'll make a few. I know we torched them on a bed of sugar. I'll be back
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