Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Instead of Halloween, I associate toffee apples with Bonfire/Firework/Guy Fawkes Night, on the 5th November.
I remember the first time I ate one, as a little girl of five. I had just started school and they were hosting a bonfire party in a field nearby. Though my memory is a little fuzzy, I remember the darkness, the sparking catherine wheel, the heat of the fire and the incredible sweetness of a toffee apple. I rarely ate sweets as a child - the apple is one of the few instances I can remember.
Usually you combine caramel flavours with mellow cooked apple - tarte tatin, for instance. Yet when you combine it with a fresh autumn apple, full of juice and zing, something special happens. You get an interplay between sour and sweet, chewy and crisp, juice and stickiness.
I find balance in taste so fascinating - all the different ways of combining the types of flavour and texture we can detect, all the subtle touches that can take something from nice to divine.
(adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)
8-9 small apples (5-6 big)
bamboo kebab sticks or lollipop sticks
60g dark brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
60g unsalted butter
75ml double cream
45g golden syrup
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Cover a baking tray with foil and butter with a bit of butter (or oil). Cut up the bamboo sticks and push them into the apples, making sure you don't pierce the bottom of the apple. Sit near the stove.
Place all the remaining ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set over a medium-high heat and stir together. Keep heating until you reach 235F, stirring as you go. When it gets to the right temperature take the pan off the heat. Stir occasionally as it cools. When it hits 180F, dip the first apple, holding it by the stick and swirling it around. Let excess caramel drip off and then place onto the baking sheet.
Let the apples cool on the side then keep uncovered in the fridge.
(For 8-9 small apples)