I'm afraid of both the mandolins I own. I've nipped the tips of my fingers a few times in the past (even with the safety guard) and it's a painful and bloody experience where I end up wondering if my fingerprints will be permanently affected. So when I set out to make candied apple chips as the garnish for this post, I was extra careful. So careful, that I couldn't really get that perfect round apple slice. The safety guard really didn't help to hold the apple in place and I had to use my hands and went extra slow which then led to the mandolin slicing the apple at an angle. The mandolin is one of those tools I know I will always need to own to get that perfect thin slice but one that I know will demand a payment in kind. I should get a safety glove at some point. Anyway, fears and fingertips aside, this post is all about apples.
The weather here has been very hot of late. The roof heats up by mid-afternoon and our living room becomes one big oven as it gets hit by the sun's rays. Snoopy stays in the bedroom where it's cool and windy and only emerges every now and then to eat, a pat or to go out. Consequently, the floor in the bedroom is strewn with puppy toys and tennis balls that I must clean up. To keep him entertained and cool, I make frozen homemade stock cubes but for me, last week, I made myself this fruit and lemony sorbet. An apple sorbet infused with lemongrass and topped off with candied apple chips.
Except for the fear of slicing the apples, these candied chips are the easiest things to make and also the tastiest. The sweet crunch made me want to eat them all before I could use them to decorate the sorbet. Lemongrass gives a very gentle citrus note to the apple in both taste and fragrance. And on any sweltering hot day, I'd welcome this lemongrass infused apple sorbet because of the refreshing flavors to cool down with.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dessert;
- The chips: be extra careful with the mandolin. As soon as the apple is sliced, you must work quickly to prevent browning by covering the slices in the sugar syrup.
- Work quickly when transferring the apple chips to the marble surface as once they cool down they will crack on the silicone mat if you try to peel them off. The have to be transferred hot so they are still pliable at that stage.
- Use fresh lemongrass versus the dry kind, in my hands the flavor was very weak when I tested the dry variety.
- Apple Juice: If you have a juicer by all means make your own. I recommend Golden Crisp apples or a 50%-50% mix of golden apple and granny smith apples. Otherwise a good quality store bought apple juice (100% apple juice) will work as well.
Here are some other sorbet recipes that you might enjoy:
apple and lemongrass sorbet
yields: around 4 cups of sorbet
1 cup water
3/4 cup (5.29 ounces/150g)brown sugar
4 stalks fresh lemon grass, chopped
2 cups apple juice, fresh
2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
1 tablespoon honey
1. Place the water, sugar and lemon grass in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the contents to a boil on high-heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
2. Strain the lemongrass syrup into a large mixing bowl using a strainer and discard the stalks. Stir in the apple juice, lemon juice and honey. Place the syrup in a gallon ziplock bag and chill in an ice bath for about 30 minutes.
3. Prepare the sorbet using the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker. Transfer the sorbet when ready into a freezer-safe airtight container and allow to firm for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with the candied baked apple chips when serving.
candied baked apple chips
yields: around 20 -30 slices (exact numbers will vary depending on the size of the apple and thickness used)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 large granny smith apple
a pinch of cream of tartar
1. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep it simmering.
2. Using a mandolin, slice the apples into discs, as thin as possible. Place the apple slices in a small heat-proof pan or bowl. Quickly stir in the cream of tartar into the simmering hot sugar syrup and pour this liquid directly over the apples. Ensure that all the slices are submerged in the syrup. Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before baking or cover with a lid or clingfilm and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
3. Place two wire racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats (do not use parchment paper). Drain and reserve the liquid from the apple slices and place them in a single layer on the lined baking pans. Blot them with a parchment paper and place them in the oven for 2 hours. Working with one pan at a time, quickly peel the baked apple slices and transfer them onto a clean marble surface to cool. Transfer the cooled chips into an airtight container for storage. Use as needed.