Candied Apples, Ginger Custard, Milk Jam, Apple Sorbet, and Apple Chips Recipe

Degustation des Pommes:

Génoise aux Pommes, Candied Apples, Ginger Custard, Milk Jam, Apple Sorbet, and Apple Chips Recipe

The following is a guest post, recipe and photos by Brenda.

Making a multi-component dessert is a labour of love and and who better to do this for than mom? After all, moms selflessly love their children and often they show this by cooking delicious food for us day after day. Making a special dessert for mom is one way we can reciprocate, if even just a little bit.

Mijune had asked me to do a sous vide dessert post for Mother’s day and the Degustation des Pommes recipe from Thomas Keller’s Under Pressure seemed like the perfect fit. Apples and applesauce evoke strong childhood memories for many people, myself included. Thomas Keller is well known for dishes that tap into this. Indeed, one of the mottos of his latest Bouchon Bakery cookbook with Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel is “it’s all about memories”.

apples stacked plating 2Degustation des Pommes in Under Pressure

“Apples are available in so many varietes, and each has its own story. We especially like the ones used here, as well as Pink Lady, Braeburn, Reinette, Pink Pearl, and Gravenstein. Apple and ginger is a good combination because ginger cuts the sweetness of the apple.

The cake, a traditional génoise, is made with apples that are cooked sous vide and then pureed, adding both flavor and moisture. We freeze this cake, like most of our cakes, to make unmolding and cutting it easy. If you can’t get Fuji apples, use Golden Delicious in the cake too. The optional apple oil will increase the intensity of the flavor.”

– from Under Pressure by Thomas Keller

I was also drawn to the Degustation des Pommes recipe because of the striking presentation and the variety of preparations and techniques, several of which were new to me. The dish is a multi-component dessert which uses three varieties of apples and incorporates three sous vide preparations.

The cookbook describes how custards are ideal to do sous vide because of the convenience (i.e. no need to stand at the stove and stir), consistency, storage and shelf life. Custards will stay fresh for as long as 1 week if left in the bag and, if stored flat, it takes up less room. Sous vide/vacuum chamber applications for fruit include vacuum compression (i.e. watermelon or any melon, pineapple, stone fruits such as peaches and apricots) and gentle even cooking. Some fruits become more visually interesting when cooked sous vide, such as becoming translucent.

With six components to the dessert, including two sub-components, it required planning and preparation. The six components are:

  • Génoise aux Pommes (apple sponge cake)
  • Ginger Custard
  • Milk Jam
  • Apple Sorbet (with Sweet Base Syrup as a sub-component)
  • Candied Apples (with Sweet Base Syrup as a sub-component)
  • Apple Chips

The first thing I do tackling a long and challenging recipe is to read it through carefully from beginning to end. The first thing I noticed (after the number of components and steps) was the yield: 20 servings worth. This isn’t surprising given that Under Pressure is a professional level cookbook but like most professional cookbooks, the ingredients are specified by weight so it would be possible to scale the recipe down.

The next thing I did was to search the Internet to see if someone else had already made the dessert and posted feedback. Thankfully The Nomnivores Dilemma had tried the recipe and detailed their results. Their overall verdict was that the dish was too sweet but still a good learning exercise, and they would make some of the components again. Given that and my curiousity about the techniques in the recipe, I decided to forge ahead. Based on The Nomivores’ results, my own experiences with desserts, and some educated guesses, I was able to adjust some of the components to try and balance things out.

I started by halving the quantities of all of the component recipes, with the exception of the Génoise aux Pommes cake. The cake is baked in a 9”x13” quarter sheet pan which is already quite a small size, but in hindsight it could also have been halved and baked in an 8” square cake pan. (I really liked the cake though so I wasn’t disappointed to have extra left over.

Professional/advanced level cookbooks often have recipes that serve a large number of people, even if the recipe is scaled down. As a result, they generate a large amount of leftovers but often times you find creative ways to use them. I’ve listed some ideas under the Notes for Success section below.)

The cookbook specifies components which can be made ahead and stored until it’s time to serve. I broke the recipe down into manageable chunks which could be tackled during the week in the evenings after work. The preparation order was as follows, where Day 4 was also the day the dish was served:

  • Day 1: Make the Milk Jam, Sweet Base Syrup, Poaching Liquid
  • Day 2: Sous vide Fuji apple for Génoise aux Pommes, make the Ginger Custard
  • Day 3: Make the Candied Apples, Apple Chips, and the Apple Sorbet mixture
  • Day 4: Make the Génoise aux Pommes, churned the Apple Sorbet, plate & serve

The Milk Jam, Sweet Base Syrup and Poaching Liquid were all straightforward recipes. The Milk Jam is a reduction of whole milk with sugar and vanilla, and finished with glucose. The Sweet Base Syrup and Poaching Liquid were essentially sugar syrups, except that the Poaching Liquid also included wine.

I initially made the Milk Jam as specified and it turned out pretty much like a caramel but with a stronger milk flavour. It was quite sweet so I added enough salt so that it tasted like a salted caramel. (Interestingly the cookbook only specifies salt for the Ginger Custard. This seemed unusual to me as I usually see salt included in dessert recipes, even if it’s only a small amount. Salt balances out sweet so I ended up adding salt to some of the other components, even though the book doesn’t call for it.)

Since the Sweet Base Syrup was a sub-component for the Apple Sorbet, I made it as is and left it alone.

For the Poaching Liquid, I followed a technique that I first learned when making poached pears for a Thomas Haas Pear Almond Tart. (Thomas Haas is arguably Vancouver’s best pastry chef, and his desserts and chocolates rank as among my favourites. His pear tart recipe calls for a poaching liquid whereby the sugar is caramelized via the dry method before the liquids are added. The caramelization step adds dark toffee flavours and a light bitterness which balances out the intense sweetness of the sugar.

David Lebovitz has a great post on his blog which outlines the technique for how to make a dry caramel.) Once the dry caramel turned an amber colour, I added the liquids immediately to stop the cooking. The resulting Poaching Liquid tasted delicious, with a complex flavour that reminded me of maple syrup.

The Génoise aux Pommes is a two step process. First a Fuji apple is peeled, cored, sliced, tossed with a bit of sugar and citric acid, vacuum sealed and cooked sous vide until soft, and finally blended into a smooth puree. Secondly, the apple puree is used as one of the ingredients in the génoise cake.

The Fuji apple was my favourite of the three sous vide preparations and I may never make applesauce another way. When I cut the sous vide bag open, I was hit with the most intensely warm and comforting apple sauce aroma. The cooked apple was blended into a puree and it was difficult to stop at just a small taste – I could have eaten the entire bowl.

The génoise cake recipe itself was very straightforward but the amount of sugar in the recipe seemed unusually high; there was more sugar by weight than flour and eggs combined. Given that the apple puree was already sweet and also going into the cake, I checked génoise cake recipes in several other cookbooks and none of them had so much sugar. I decided to reduce the sugar by ⅓, added some salt, and proceeded with the rest of the steps as specified. The cake turned out soft, moist, and tasted sweetly of apples (but not too sweet). This ended up being one of my favourite components in the dish.

The Nomnivores had discovered that the Ginger Custard wouldn’t set if it was made as the cookbook instructed. The cookbook calls for sheet gelatin to set the custard into a scoopable consistency but sheet gelatin comes in different strengths (i.e. gold strength will set a larger amount of liquid than silver). I had gold gelatin on hand but I also decided to increase the quantity to three times more than what the cookbook specifies.

The custard was made by infusing milk and cream with fresh and ground ginger, and then adding the strained liquid to egg yolks and sugar that had been whipped to the ribbon stage. The mixture is strained into a bag and then cooked sous vide. Softened gelatin is added, the mixture is cooled in an ice bath, and softly whipped cream is folded in.

Lastly the custard is chilled in the refrigerator to set the gelatin. I liked the flavour of the custard and the ginger complemented the rest of the apple components nicely. The spiciness also helped to cut through the sweetness. The texture of the custard was soft and scoopable, but not as quite firm as the picture in the book showed. I think the gelatin could have been increased a bit further to four times what the cookbook specifies.

The Candied Apples are made by sealing small balls of Golden Delicious apple with the caramelized Poaching Liquid and cooking them sous vide at a lower heat for three hours. The cookbook specifies using a #18 parisienne scooper which is a melon baller that is 18mm or 11/16” in diameter. However, the picture in the book shows apples that are closer to 1” in diameter. I didn’t notice the sizing discrepancy until afterwards, but it only affected the cosmetic presentation; the apples themselves were deliciously candied.

Part of what drew me to the recipe was the Apple Chips. I had made a Modernist version of Apple Chips six months ago which involved infusing apple slices with starch before deep frying them. I was curious to know how Under Pressure’s method of candying and baking the slices would compare. The technique was very straightforward: use a mandolin thinly slice a Granny Smith apple, simmer the slices in a dense sugar syrup, and bake the chips on a silicone baking mat in a warm oven.

The chips were still not crispy after the specified baking time so I turned the oven off and let the chips cool overnight in the oven. This ended up working perfectly; the chips were perfectly flat and shatteringly crisp by morning. The only delicate part was removing the chips but this was quite easily done by lifting the mat up and peeling the mat away from the chips. (The chips are rigid but the mat is soft.)

I’d always wondered how restaurants made apple sorbet that was green in colour, and now I know: it’s spinach. I love pressed apple juice, but the colour ends up a light brown due to oxidation. Citric acid or lemon juice can mitigate this somewhat but not completely.

The Apple Sorbet recipe in the book is made by juicing Granny Smith apples with spinach leaves and citric acid, combining the juice with the Sweet Base Syrup, chilling the mixture, and then churning in an ice cream machine. I don’t own a juicer so I used a VitaMix to blend the apples, spinach and citric acid with the Sweet Base Syrup and extra water, then strained and chilled the mixture before churning. I used twice the amount of spinach as the recipe called for to ensure that the sorbet would be green instead of brownish. The sorbet was refreshingly crisp, sweet-tart, and tasted of pure green apple.

With so many components to play with, it was fun to experiment with different platings (see the end of the post for examples). The appearance may not be as polished as the book’s but the flavours are all about comfort, childhood memories and a feeling of warmth.

My favourite components were the Génoise aux Pommes cake, the Apple Sorbet, and the Candied Apples. I would make the Milk Jam again but decrease the sugar further. I liked using the sous vide technique for the custard but would add a little more gelatin or perhaps leave it liquid as a pouring custard. The Apple Chips made a great garnish and I plan on using the same technique again for pear chips.

This was a great learning recipe and while I’m glad I made the whole thing, I can easily see the possibility of picking and choosing some of the components and still getting a great dessert.

Note: The recipes in this post can be scaled down even further and halved again to make ~6 servings. Hover, the labour and the number of dishes to wash remains the same…!

Génoise aux Pommes, Candied Apples, Ginger Custard, Milk Jam, Apple Sorbet, and Apple Chips

– adapted from Under Pressure by Thomas Keller

Makes 10-12 servings.

Ingredients

Génoise aux Pommes (makes a quarter sheet pan-sized cake)

  • 1 whole Fuji apple (~250g)
  • 200g sugar, divided into 20g and 180g
  • ⅛ tsp citric acid (or ¼ tsp lemon juice)
  • 125g eggs (3-4 large)
  • 115g cake or pastry flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 drops apple oil (optional)

Ginger Custard (halved from original recipe, makes ~3 cups)

  • 325g 40% heavy cream, divided into 250g and 75g
  • 250g whole milk
  • 50g peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 5g powdered ground ginger
  • 125g egg yolks (~5 large)
  • 63g granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ sheets gold strength gelatin (3g)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Milk Jam (halved from original recipe, makes ~1 cup)

  • 250g whole milk
  • 200g sugar (or 100g for a less sugary jam)
  • ½ vanilla bean, split
  • 50g liquid glucose or corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt

Sweet Base Syrup (makes 400g)

  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 2g sorbet stabilizer (optional)
  • 210g water
  • 43g sugar atomized glucose (or corn syrup)

Apple Sorbet (makes ~800g)

  • 4 Granny Smith apples (about 1kg), stems removed, each cut into 8 wedges and juiced (with the skin on)
  • 16 spinach leaves
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid or 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 400g Sweet Base Syrup

Poaching Liquid (halved from original recipe)

  • 250g (1 cup) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 250g (1 cup) water
  • 250g granulated sugar

Candied Apples (halved from original recipe)

  • 5 Golden Delicious apples
  • 750g Poaching liquid

Apple Chips (halved from original recipe)

  • 500g water
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Additional Garnishes (optional)

  • Chervil leaves, or small basil leaves, or small tarragon leaves

Notes for success

  • All of the components can be made ahead of time but the Apple Chips should ideally be made the day before serving. I recommend baking the chips the night before and leaving them to finish drying in the oven overnight. The chips won’t spoil but they will start to lose their crispness after a day. The Génoise cake, Ginger Custard, and Candied Apples will keep for at least several days or longer. The Milk Jam and Apple Sorbet will keep for weeks in the refrigerator and freezer respectively.
  • Have the Sweet Base Syrup ready before making the Apple Sorbet. Have the Poaching Liquid ready before making the Caramelized Apples.

Génoise aux Pommes

  • The cake is quite soft and sticky so placing it in the freezer allows it to firm up for easier cutting.

Ginger Custard

  • When sealing the warm custard mixture in the chamber vacuum sealer, watch very carefully and seal the bag as soon as the liquid starts to boil. The warm custard will cause the bag to steam up so it may be difficult to see. If the bag starts to puff up and swell then that’s a good sign that it should be sealed immediately – I just managed to catch mine in time and only had a small amount of custard come out of the bag. With a VacMaster VP112, I recommend removing all of the plates in the chamber and setting the timer to 15 or 20 seconds. Hot liquids will boil more quickly in a vacuum chamber than cold liquids so it may be safer and potentially less messy to allow the custard to cool down before sealing.
  • If the gelatin and soft whipped cream were omitted, the cooked custard would make a nice pourable sauce.

Milk Jam

  • There is a large amount of sugar in the jam so the mixture should be checked frequently as it cooks to ensure that the milk solids do not burn.
  • The milk jam will crystallize and solidify once cool but microwaving it at lower heat to warm it will cause it to smooth back out.
  • The next time I make the jam, I will try it with half the amount of sugar.

Apple Sorbet

  • The apples and spinach should ideally be processed in a juicer but a high powered blender (such as VitaMix) can also be used.
  • The sorbet mixture may look very green due to the spinach but the colour will lighten after it is churned.
  • The sorbet may need to sit out at room temperature for a while before serving if it is too firm to scoop directly from the freezer.

Candied Apples

  • If making the Poaching Liquid with dry caramel option, be sure to use a deep pot. Have the wine and water measured out and ready before starting the dry caramel.
  • Caramel can overcook very quickly so you want to be able to add the liquid as soon as the caramel reaches the desired colour.
  • Pour the liquid carefully into the caramel as the caramel is extremely hot and will splutter once liquid is added.
  • Regardless of whether the apple balls are 11/16” or 1” in diameter or something close to that, the balls will cook correctly regardless. Allocate 5-8 apple balls per serving, depending on size.
  • When scooping the apples balls, start the next one closest to the part of the apple that has already been scooped out. By placing the edge of the scoop closer to the structurally weaker part of the apple and scooping towards solid apple, you will get more whole unbroken apple balls out of each apple.

Apple Chips

  • 1 Granny smith apple yields approximately 6 apple slices with a ‘star’ in the center.
  • The chips may still be soft and pliable after baking for 1-1 ½ hours (like fruit leather). If so, turn the oven off and let the chips cool overnight; they will be hard and crispy by the morning.
  • After the apple chips have baked and cooled, peel the silicone mat away from apple chips. Don’t try to lift the chips directly off the mat; they are quite fragile will easily break.
  • The chips are best used the day they are finished as they will start to soften due to the high sugar content but they can be stored for a few days in an airtight container. The chips should be stored in single layers, separating each layer with parchment paper.

Leftovers

  • The sweet syrups left over from the Candied Apples and Apple Chips components can be saved and used for poaching other fruits, used as a base for fruit sorbets, as flavoured simple syrup for cocktails, or reduced to caramel consistency for a sauce. The syrups will also freeze well.
  • The Apple Sorbet generates apple pulp which can be combined with the leftover syrups and then strained for an extra apple-y syrup. This can be used in a multitude of ways. For example, cocktails (with rum, cognac, or brandy), apple sodas, stirred into yogurt or oatmeal, cooked with pork, meat sauces (i.e. bbq), applesauce, apple pie, iced tea, etc.
  • Génoise aux Pommes pieces can be soaked in sherry or brandy, layered with Ginger Custard and Candied Apples, and topped with whipped cream and Milk Jam for a makeshift apple trifle.

Method

For the Génoise aux Pommes – 85C (185F); 30 to 40 minutes

apples stacked plating 3Génoise mise en place

  1. Peel and core the apple and cut into 8 wedges. Toss the apple with 20g of the granulated sugar and a pinch of citric acid.

apples stacked plating 1 fuji pre-sous videFuji apple pre-sous vide

  1. Place the apples in a sous vide bag, arrange in a single layer, and vacuum pack on high.

apples stacked plating 1 fuji post-sous videFuji apple post-sous vide

  1. Sous vide at 85C (185F) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the apple is mushy.

apples stacked plating 1 fuji pureePureed Fuji apple

  1. While the apple is still hot, transfer it to a high powered blender (such as a VitaMix) or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Allow the puree to cool. Note: A 250g whole apple yields ~200g of apple puree.

  2. Heat the oven to 325F while the cake batter is prepared.

  3. Line a quarter sheet pan (9”x13”) with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray or lightly grease with butter.

  4. Combine the eggs, salt, and the remaining 180g sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the mixture on medium-high speed to the ribbon stage, about 10 minutes. The mixture will be be pale yellow, thick, and have at least doubled in volume.

  5. Using a spatula, fold in the cake flour, followed by the apple puree and apple oil (if using). Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

  6. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool to room temperature in the pan. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour to firm it up before cutting.

  7. When it is near time to serve, remove the pan from the freezer. Use a thin spatula to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Lift the cake out of the pan using the silicone baking mat, invert it onto a piece of parchment paper, and peel off the silicone mat. Use a 2” round cookie cutter to cut the cake, cutting one piece per serving.

  8. Store the cake rounds in an airtight container until ready to use. The cake rounds can be stacked if the layers are kept separate with additional parchment paper.

For the Ginger Custard – 85C to 82C (185F to 179.6F); 20 minutes

apples stacked plating 1 ginger custard miseGinger Custard mise en place

  1. Heat 250g of the cream and all of the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering.

  2. Stir in the ginger slices and powdered ginger and remove from the heat. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes.

  3. Strain the mixture into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with a pourable spout. Discard the fresh ginger.

  4. Combine the yolks, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the mixture on medium high speed to the ribbon stage, about 10 minutes.

  5. Turn the mixer speed to low and pour the cream/milk mixture down the side of the mixing bowl. Whisk the custard mixture for ~1 minute until thoroughly combined.

  6. Strain the custard mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh conical strainer into a sous vide bag. Vacuum pack the bag on medium pressure, watching carefully – when bubbles appear, seal the bag immediately.

apples stacked plating 1 custard pre-sous videGinger Custard pre-sous vide

  1. Place the bag into a water bath that has already been heated to 85C (185F). Reduce the sous vide temperature setting to 82C (179.6F) and cook the custard for 20 minutes.

  2. The custard may look a bit broken when it comes out of the water. Lay the bag flag on a work surface and move the edges up and down so that the mixture recombines. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

  3. Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water to soften.

  4. Prepare an ice bath in a medium sized bowl.

  5. Squeeze the gelatin sheets to remove excess water. Pour the custard into a bowl and stir in the soften gelatin to dissolve. Strain the custard through a chinois or fine mesh conical strainer into a small bowl set over the ice bath. Cool the custard to 25C (77F).

apples stacked plating 1 gelatin, whipped cream, custard baseSoftened gelatin, whipped cream, sous vide ginger custard

  1. Whip the remaining 75g of cream to soft peaks. Using a spatula, stir one third of the whipped cream into the custard, then fold in the remaining cream.

  2. Refrigerate the custard for several hours until set, or preferably overnight.

For the Milk Jam

apples stacked plating 1 milk jam miseMilk Jam mise en place

  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan, then add the pod. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat immediately. (Some milk solids will have separated from the liquid and formed a scum on the surface.)

  2. Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan and discard. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into another pan. Simmer the strained mixture over the lowest heat setting to reduce the milk for 2 to 2 ½ hours. As the water in the milk evaporates, the milk will begin to caramelize – be careful, it can burn very easily. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure that it is not burning. Scrape down the sides as the liquid level decreases. Additional milk solids may separate out as the mixture cooks down.

apples stacked plating 1 glucose & milk reductionGlucose, whole milk & sugar reduction

  1. When the consistency is thickened almost to the consistency of sweetened condensed milk, add the liquid glucose (or corn syrup) and stir to dissolve. Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh conical strainer.

  2. Stir in the ¼ tsp salt, taste, and add additional salt if preferred.

  3. Refrigerate the milk jam until ready to use. It can be used directly from the refrigerator, but if it becomes too thick, let it stand at room temperature or put in the microwave briefly before serving.

For the Sweet Base Syrup

  1. Combine 2g of the sugar with the stabilizer, if stabilizer is available.

apples stacked plating 1 sweet base syrup miseSweet base syrup mise en place

  1. Bring the water and the remaining 123g sugar to a boil in a deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Add the glucose (or corn syrup) and return to a boil.

  3. If stabilizer is available, add the combined sugar and stabilizer, being very careful, because the syrup can boil over. Bring the mixture back to a boil, and boil for 30 seconds.

  4. Let the syrup cool, and store in the refrigerator until it is ready to be added to the Apple Sorbet.

For the Apple Sorbet

apples stacked plating 1 sorbet miseApple Sorbet mise en place

  1. Have the Sweet Base Syrup already made and refrigerator-cold.

  2. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and remove the cores. (Leave the peel on; it will give color to the sorbet.)

apples stacked plating 1 blended sorbet baseApple Sorbet mixture, blended

  1. Place 2 wedges of apple in a juicer, then a spinach leaf to add color. Continue to alternate between the apple wedges and spinach. Once half the apples have been added, stir a pinch of citric acid into the juice to retain the color. Continue alternating, adding another pinch of citric acid at the end. Stir in the Sweet Base Syrup and refrigerate until cold. – or – Place half the apple wedges, half the spinach and half of the citric acid into a high powered blender (such as a Vitamix).

  2. Add the Sweet Base Syrup plus one cup of water. Blend the mixture at the lowest speed for several minutes until the mixture only contains small apple pieces. Add the rest of the apple wedges, spinach and citric acid and blend the mixture at the lowest speed until it is uniformly in small pieces. Slowly increase the speed to medium and blend for several minutes until the mixture is very smooth.

  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, preferably into a large liquid measuring cup or medium sized bowl. Push the mixture through the strainer to extract as much of the solids as possible.

  4. Measure the sorbet mixture to ensure that your ice cream maker is able to handle the volume. Refrigerate until cold.

  5. Freeze the sorbet mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

  6. Keep frozen until ready to use.

For the Poaching Liquid

apples stacked plating 1 poaching liquid misePoaching Liquid mise en place

  1. Combine the wine, water, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. (Original method.) – or Make a dry caramel with the sugar in a tall heavy duty pot, following the method outlined by David Lebovitz. Have the wine and water measured out and ready before starting the dry caramel. Once the caramel is ready, carefully add the water by pouring down the side of the pot – the caramel will spit furiously. Add the wine all at once.

  2. The cold water and wine will make the caramel harden but continue heating the mixture and stir until the caramel has completely dissolved. The colour of the liquid will look very dark in the pot but a small amount placed in a spoon should have the colour of maple syrup. Taste the syrup; it should taste caramelized and sweet with a slight toffee bitterness and the flavour of the wine should be detectable.

apples stacked plating 1 poaching liquid colourPoaching Liquid made with dry caramel

  1. Let the poaching liquid cool. Store it in the refrigerator if not using immediately.

For the Candied Apples – 75C (167F); 3 hours

  1. Have the Poaching Liquid already made and refrigerator-cold.

apples stacked plating 1 apple ball scoopsScooping apples

  1. Peel the apples and scoop out balls with a melon scooper. You will need 7 to 8 apple balls per serving.

  2. Place the apple balls in a sous vide bag and add the Poaching Liquid. Fold the bag over the apples to keep the balls submerged in the syrup, to prevent discolouring. Vacuum-pack on medium in a chamber vacuum sealer until the syrup bubbles, then seal. Fold over the end and tape it if needed to keep the apples submerged in the liquid.

  3. Sous vide at 75C (167F) for 3 hours. The apples should be candied throughout, without any areas in the center that look raw or undercooked. Refrigerate the apples in the bag until close to serving time.

For the Apple Chips

apples stacked plating 1 apple chips miseApple Chips mise en place

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting.

  2. Slice the apples into very thin rounds (1mm, 1/32”) with a mandolin. You will need 1 apple chip per serving, but it’s also handy to have extras as backups.

  3. Using a round cutter that is just smaller than the apple slices, cut out rounds, discarding the skin. Remove any seeds.

apples stacked plating 1 apple chips poachingApple Chips before cooking

  1. Add the chips to the syrup. Cut out a circle of parchment that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the pot. (Take a large piece of parchment paper and fold it multiple times as if you were making a snowflake. Hold the folded paper horizontally over the pot so that the tip is directly above the center and cut the edge so that it is just inside the edge of the pot. Unfold the paper and check that it fits inside.) Place the parchment circle on top of the chips to keep them submerged in the liquid. Cook the chips at the lowest heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until they are softened and start to become translucent.

  2. When the chips are nearly done, heat the oven (preferably convection) to 200F.

  3. Carefully drain the chips (or remove them with a skimmer) and place on a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat. (The sugar syrup can be reserved for another use.)

  4. Bake the chips until they are translucent and crisp, about 1-1 ½ hours. If the chips are still pliable after 1 ½ hours, turn the oven off and leave the chips there for several hours or overnight.

  5. The chips should be hard and crisp when they are thoroughly cooled. Lift one edge of the silicone mat up and very gently and slowly peel the mat away from the closest chip until most of the chip has separated and can be easily pulled off. Repeat until all of the chips are removed.

  6. Store the chips in an airtight container until ready to use, separating layers of chips with a parchment sheet so that they do not touch and stick together. The chips are best made the day of or day before serving, after that they will start to lose their crispness.

To Serve:

  1. Drain the Candied Apple balls well. (The sous vide liquid can be kept to candy or poach other fruits.)

  2. If necessary, warm the Milk Jam briefly in the microwave until it is of spreadable consistency.

  3. If necessary, bring the Apple Sorbet out of the freezer to allow it to thaw to scoopable consistency.

apples stacked plating 1 plating miseApple Chips, Milk Jam, Ginger Custard, Candied Apples, Génoise aux Pommes, Apple Sorbet

  1. Have the Génoise aux Pommes, Milk Jam, Apple Sorbet, Candied Apples, and Apple Chips ready.

  2. Plate the dish according to the cookbook or to your own style. For the cookbook’s plating:

  • Arrange 7 or 8 Candied Apple balls in a circle on each plate.
  • Place a spoonful of ginger custard and a sweep of milk jam in front of them, and garnish the custard with a chervil leaf, basil leaf or tarragon leaf (if available).
  • Top the apple balls with a cake round, then top each cake round with a scoop of apple sorbet.
  • Garnish each plate with an apple chip against the sorbet.

apples stacked plating 1

apples stacked plating 1 alternate plating 1

apples stacked plating 1alternate 2 plating

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