Disclosure: I attended the class courtesy of Jazz Apples and also received apples to sample.
How do you like them apples? My general preference is for the sour Granny Smiths, but when I feel like a sweeter apple, my general red apple of choice is the pink lady. That is, until earlier this year when I first tried a Jazz apple. These apples are sweet and super crunchy – they’re really a very enjoyable apple.
The other week I attended a cooking class hosted by Fast Ed (of Better Homes and Gardens fame). We gathered together at Raw Materials in Footscray with competition winners. The day started with a cooking demonstration from Fast Ed, who showed us how to cook three dishes incorporating Jazz apples. He was very personable and interesting to watch and gave us lots of useful cooking tips. Unfortunately, because I was juggling the camera, phone and a glass of bubbles (What? It was after 11am…) I didn’t write any of them down to share. Whoops.
After the cooking demonstration, we were split into three groups: to cook lunch. My group – with Thanh, Sarah and Sandra – were fortunately allocated dessert. I say fortunately because this was the easiest course BY FAR. Dessert was a caramelised apple and citrus marscapone verrine with brown sugar crumbs, and we had to put together 16 portions.
Well, we got straight to work. Our first task was to make brown sugar crumbs, which Thanh took charge of. It was pretty simple – just a matter of rubbing butter into flour, sugar and spices, and then placing the mixture into the oven for twenty minutes.
Sarah got to work segmenting citrus for the citrus salad, one of the layers in our verrine. This was the worst job and she had to segment about 15 oranges and lemons. Which she did like a CHAMP. Go Sarah!
Meanwhile the rest of us peeled and chopped apples. So many apples. These were cooked in a wet caramel – just sugar and butter melted in a pan, to which we added the apple wedges after about ten minutes. We let them caramelise for another 10-15 minutes.
The final step was to whip the marscapone with cream, icing sugar, and citrus zest.
After some cooling time for the apples, it was time to build our dessert. It was very, very easy: just layers of brown sugar crumbs, the caramelised apple, citrus salad and mascarpone.
Our group finished early, so while the other two groups completed their cooking, we entertained ourselves by slicing up apples and using the wedges to mop up the remnants of caramel in our pan. Heh.
When everyone had finished cooking, it was time to sit down to lunch.
Our first course was a slow cooked ocean trout. This was rolled in avocado oil and then cooked in the oeven at 70°C for 40 minutes. The fish was incredibly good. It was served with an apple, Vietnamese mint, coriander and shallot salad that had been dressed with fish sauce and some shao xing wine, and the whole thing was topped with a wafer of crispy fish skin. It was great – the apple gave the whole thing some sweetness and crunch. And the crispy fish skin: AWESOME.
The second course was a veal escallope topped with mushroom sauce and served with a potato and apple galette. The potato and apple galette was pretty simple – just thinly sliced potato layered with apple and cheese. Then it was popped into a frying pan until cooked through.
And finally, the best dish (cos we made it): dessert. This was a great dessert – not too sweet and with layers of different textures. I would make it again, though I probably wouldn’t use oranges (just because I’m not that into them).
Lunch eaten, there was a quick photo opp with Fast Ed and we all headed home loaded down with apples. It was a fun day – thanks again to Jazz apples for making it possible.