Sunday, May 3, 2009 © Jessie
Where I am blush with Alain Ducasses’ apples
Alain Ducasse’s Apple Blush
(The one where Alain Ducasse brings on blush)
Alain Ducasse picks up the sprigs of fresh rosemary in both hands and takes a deep breath of the herb. He crushed
some of the tiny green sprigs gently between his fingers, releasing more of its sharp olive green
Even from across the wide metallic table top, I can inhale its
fragrance; feel his passion as a myriad metallic notes of the Mediterranean waft over to me, deepening the pleasure
of eating to come.
Then he reached for the apples, sunny yellow and streaked red
with a rosy blush. His hands felt them carefully and then he smelt those too, deeply. ‘Ah, les
Reinettes! You know somezing, Shessie he says looking into my eyes - and I am blushing now, ‘zeh ingredients
zemselves provide 80-100 per cent of ‘le saveur'; word that I now feel swells with more promise than just
‘Theze have good taste!’ he says, crunching on a block of crisp apple. ‘We can use theze - let's cook
’What we are going to do is take zess two apples,’ he says in
that soft French accented English, his deep voice tones idling past me. I sigh and wait to hear more
instruction. 'We will peel zem and cut each apple into 8.’
‘We will remove zeh seeds from zeh apple. Zen, we measure out 130 grams of white granulated sugar and put a little
in the pan to melt on a low heat. Watch it melt...not to touch it...until it is caramel coloured... like now.’ His
hands now come together at his mouth and open like a lotus flower and talks softly into my eyes and leaning forward
to me, he says, ‘Shessie, you can smell the caramel, heh?’
The caramel isn’t the only thing that’s melting. ‘Now Shessie, we will add all the remaining sugar, let it dissolve
and melt to a caramel colour too, on a nice rolling boil. There are his slow hands again.
I am a bit on a rolling boil myself as he continues. ‘Carefully, we will add zeh sliced apples. But be
careful,’ his eyes shine directly into mine, ‘the steam will rise!’ He simulates a sushing sound from his
lips and then saying carefully, ‘so, I ask you to take care not to burn yourself, heh?’
But I am burning, burning down the house. Then God saves me. Suddenly he gets on with the job in swift motions any
world class athlete would be proud of. "Then we will beat in 1 tablespoon of butter and add 4 -5 sprigs of zeh
crushed rosemary. We will take it off the heat to make an infusion and keep it warm’. I am taken off the
boil, just like the caramel.
Later, we are sampling it. The braised apples are warm and crisp when cooked; their sweet crunch embracing the most
jammiest caramel cream textures, swelling with its delicately scented notes of rosemary; an aroma that still rests
firmly on my mind. ‘Easy recipe, but zeh apples and rosemary have to be right. Smell zem!’
‘Right, will do’ I say.
I take another mouthful of the warm caramalised apples, melting
with vanilla bean ice cream
‘you can serve it with anything’ he offers
My Caramel and Apple blush
2 freshly scented cooking apples, preferably Reine des Reinettes
juice of 1 lemon
250 grams (2cups) of white granulated sugar
3 tablespoon of unsalted butter
6 – 7 sprigs of rosemary
½ cup (125ml) single pouring cream
Vanilla bean ice cream, enough scoops for 8 servings
Peel the apples, remove the seeds, cut each into 8 and drop the
pieces into a bowl. Pour the lemon juice over the apples to prevent them from discolouring.
Measure out 250 grams of white granulated sugar and put a little, about a couple of tablespoonfuls) in a non-stick
pan. Let the sugar dissolve on a law heat until it is caramel coloured. Do not stir the sugar, if you need to
distribute the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan, shake the pan a little.
Add all the remaining sugar, let it dissolve and melt to a caramel colour – without stirring – on a nice rolling
boil. Once again, if you need to distribute the sugar evenly, shake the pan. When the sugar is syrupy and a good
caramel colour, go to the next step.
Carefully, add the apple pieces by slipping them into the pan from the side. But be careful, the steam will rise so
take care not to burn yourself. Let them cook for one minute in the pan.
Lastly, beat in four tablespoon of butter, a little at a time, stirring after each addition to blend it in well.
The syrup will thicken and turn into a stiff-ish caramel sauce.
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