Recipe:Golden Apple Trifle
This recipe is a contemporary twist on a classic dish, good old British trifle. The recipe is quite long and is set out in stages but the results are well worth the extra effort with different layers of apple flavours and textures making up the completed dish; juicy pearls of apple jelly, caramelised apple balls, a rich creamy apple custard and topped with a cloud-like apple foam.
Apple purée:4 Granny Smith apples30g sugar50ml waterJuice of one lemon
Peel, core and dice the apples and place in a pan with the water, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over a medium heat until the apple is very soft. Remove from the heat, transfer to a jug blender and blend to a smooth purée.
Sponge fingers:100g plain flour3 medium eggs, separated100g caster sugar30ml CalvadosPinch salt Caster sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Grease a baking tray and dust lightly with caster sugar. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together until pale and thick. Sift the flour with the salt and lightly fold half of this into the egg and sugar mixture. In a clean, grease-free bowl whisk the egg whites to firm peaks and fold very lightly into the egg and sugar mixture along with the remaining flour. Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe approximately 18 fingers onto a baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes and leave to cool slightly before transferring the sponge fingers to a wire rack to cool completely. Apple caviar:300ml freshly pressed apple juice (use an apple that is not too acidic e.g. Braeburn or Cox)20g sugar4g sodium alginate2 drops of apple flavour drops500ml water5g calcium chlorideA syringe
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Mix together the sugar and sodium alginate. Pour the apple juice into the bowl of a mixer and, using the whisk attachment set on the lowest speed, very slowly add in the sugar and sodium alginate. Add the flavour drops and continue to whisk very slowly for 10 minutes. NB. try to avoid adding the sodium alginate mixture to the centre of the whisking bowl as it will adhere to the whisk. Allow the mixture to stand for a further 10 minutes and it should thicken to a smooth and lump-free syrupy texture.
To form the caviar pearls* place the water into a narrow container, beaker or measuring jug, add the calcium chloride and stir to dissolve. Draw the apple juice solution into a syringe and hold this approximately 6" above the calcium chloride solution. Push the syringe plunger to create a steady stream of drops and stir the water slightly to help form cylindrical balls. Leave for about 5 minutes to allow a skin to form then pour the caviar pearls into a shallow sieve and place in cold clean water to rinse. Remove from the water, drain and set aside.
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Caramelised apple balls:4 Granny Smith apples, peeled100g caster sugarSeeds from half a vanilla pod25g butter
Using a melon baller scoop 10 balls from each apple. Place the sugar into a large frying pan set over a high heat and once the sugar begins to caramelise add the butter to the pan. Allow to cook together to form a golden caramel sauce, add the vanilla seeds and the apple balls to the caramel and cook until the apple begins to soften. Remove the apple balls from the caramel and allow to cool.
Apple custard:250ml whipping cream250ml milk5 egg yolks100g sugar20g green apple compound
Place the milk and cream together in a small pan and bring to the boil. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and slowly add to the boiled cream mixture. Cook the custard, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 82C or coats the back of a spoon then pass through a fine sieve. Allow the custard to cool and stir in the apple compound.
Apple foam:250ml apple juice2.5g Hy-foamer2.5g Xanthan gum
Mix all the ingredients together and whisk until the mixture is fully aerated and forms a thick foam. NB. the chemical ingredients here help to create the foam and hold it without falling for up to 24 hours.To assemble the trifle:Place a tablespoon of apple purée into the bottom of a cocktail glass, break the sponge fingers into pieces and arrange on top of the purée. Pour 5ml of Calvados into each glass over the sponge, add a layer of apple caviar pearls and top with the caramelised apple balls. Next spoon in a layer of apple custard, cover with the apple foam and top with a sprinkle of crackle crystals.
* the 'caviar pearls' are formed by a process called 'spherification'. This is basically a gelling reaction that occurs between two (both naturally occurring and flavourless) chemicals; calcium chloride (a common salt) and sodium alginate (the sodium salt of alginic acid - extracted from seaweed). A flavoured liquid is combined with a small amount of sodium alginate which then forms a thickened syrup-like mixture. This can then be dripped in single drops into a water 'bath' (water that has had calcium chloride dissolved into it) and the reaction between the two chemicals causes a thin, viscous, jelly-like membrane to form around the droplets. The spheres resemble small pearls or caviar (depending on the size of the droplets and the quantities of the chemical used) and burst on your tongue when they are eaten.