Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Toffee Apples

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.

Toffee Apples
(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)


  1. Love the monochrome pics. I find chopsticks work well too (all I can get here). If the apples have been waxed the coating can slide off so I tend to give them a scrub first.

  2. I made toffee apples for halloween. They were good, but the toffee was very hard. I see your recipe has cream in. Does that make the toffee softer?

    Gorgeous blog by the way. I enjoyed reading about your apple and quince pie, something of a fixture this time of the year in my house.

  3. Sally - Chopsticks are a great idea too. I hadn't thought about the waxy coating you sometimes get - great tip, thank you. I guess mine were fine because they were from the market.

    Sue - It is softer, yes. That's why I chose this recipe - though the hard ones look pretty, they're not as nice to eat. It does set fairly solid - just like a wrapped toffee, really. Glad you like the blog :)

  4. I didn't have time before Halloween to make these, so I'm glad to find this recipe now. You're description of your first experience with them is enchanting!

  5. Your photos are divine! I'm looking to buy a new camera for food photography - what model/make is yours?

  6. Hey Emma,
    Your apples look delectable! I totally agree... I do love the surprising contrast of the crisp apple and the decadent toffee.
    So cool that you used a Tartine recipe... if you ever come to San Francisco you must go - I think you would be totally inspired.

  7. Sue - Do give them a go, it'd be a shame to let autumn pass without them!

    Angela Cee - Aw, thanks. I shoot with a sony alpha 580 and a macro 2.8/50 lens :)

    Erin - Exactly - shame that half the time it's the toffee that's too crunchy and the apple that's mushy! I got their book recently - it's so gorgeous. It's definitely on my to-see list!

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