In this issue, Julie and Jimmy MacMillan explore apple and apple products.
One of the ingredients most ubiquitous in the American pastry scene is the apple. We favor the apple for the array of products, common and rare, derived from the fruit. We use many of these derivatives in the professional sweet kitchen as clever replacements for other ingredients, such as apple juice instead of water and applesauce as a substitute for oil. And certainly apple chips and apple jelly are commonplace accompaniments to desserts. In this installment of Material Handling, we’ll reveal our best source for fresh apples in the region, check out a couple of useful by-products, and share recipes that utilize both.
We have been purchasing apples and cider from Peter Klein’s Seedling Farms Orchards for about ten years (http://seedlingfruit.com/about.html). Seedling only sells locally grown, hand-picked fruit. “We really believe that TASTE is paramount,” Peter told us. “We are far more interested in taste than growing fruit that travels well and keeps. So, we tend to let fruit hang on trees longer than most so the fruit can really develop the sugars and the depth of flavor that makes for a great eating experience.”
Our favorites are the Japanese Mutsu, a variety of Crispin, and the Senshu, which is a Fuji variety. Peter makes single-apple cider from the Mutsu and other apples every fall, including Jonagold and Golden Delicious. End-of-the-summer-crop Jersey Mac apples are crisp with a perfectly balanced flavor, and make a beautiful foam in our apple huckleberry dessert (see recipe included below). The Apple Confit Tart recipe is built around Seedling’s earthy Mutsu cider and poached Senshu apples.
In the unique category is Apple ‘Honee’ from Bee Free Honee (http://beefreehonee.com/). Katie Sanchez created the ingredient after a failed attempt at apple jelly. Katie canned the result and the natural pectin set-up with a syrup-like texture. The product is delicious, with the viscosity of honey and a clean apple note well suited for dessert recipes. Additionally, Apple Honee is vegan, sustainable and a good option for guests with honey allergies.
Most pastry chefs know the value of an acid used to balance a recipe and provide the diner with a palate longing for another sweet bite. Eden Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (http://www.edenfoods.com) is naturally fermented with a ‘mother’ of vinegar, a natural bacteria culture similar to sourdough ‘starter’. Their vinegar is distilled, not denatured like commercial cider vinegars. Eden Organic Apple Cider is aged in wood with a mellow, delicious flavor and is used in our pickling preparation of Apple Pie Gelato.
New and exciting from our friend Philip Abbot at Terra Spice is Apple Cider Vinegar Powder (https://www.terraspice.com/terraspice/products/about_us/). Those of you who follow this column know that any ingredient that we can add without water gives us great versatility in dessert recipes. We use it in our hibiscus poach and huckleberry broth, which are good for multiple applications.
The bottom line is pastry chefs should reach for locally sourced apples that mature at the orchard and craft their recipes with tasty apple products that remain focused on the apple. Keep that in mind when planning apple desserts this fall!
Find 'Material Handling: Apple and Apple Products' recipes in the DessertProfessional.com Recipe section or click the links below.
JMPurePastry is a Chicago-based pastry solutions group specializing in high quality, well designed media products for the restaurant, baking and hospitality industry. The duo is also responsible for the multiple Emmy® Award-winning Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition video series. For more information, visit: www.JMPurePastry.com.