Sunday, April 18, 2010
How to make Chinese Toffee Apples.
I love to visit the city's monthly farmers' market mainly to buy the heritage fruits and vegetables. Quite often I can find plums, peaches, pears, apples, tomatoes and potatoes of every variety, few of which are grown today. It is often said that apples or tomatoes do not taste as good as they used to. Any gardener worth its salt will testfy old-fashioned heritage varieties normally taste much better because they were not bred simply for yield and are more suited to the local environment. Their growing season is longer and they keep better.
According to John, a heritage apple grower and a regular stall holder at the market lamented, "there were about 2000 apple cultivars known in Australia soon after European settlement, only 600 can be found today". It is sad to think of what has been lost. To many of us, we know only three or four types mainly because supermarkets dictate that we only have four or five commercial varieties available to us. Just for the simple reason that it is much easier for them to handle logistically. Another reason that these great varieties of apples are being lost is because it has not been fashionable to grow them in home gardens anymore.
Apple season runs from January to June and ripen over a long period of time and are usually classified as early, mid-early, mid and late varieties, with the best time being March/April when many different varieties are ripe. There are different apples for different purposes, whether they are for eating, cooking or cider, and even dual-purpose varieties. I have found not all apples are good eating, Apples range from tart to super sweet.Some of the tatter apples such as Granny Smith and Bramley are better for cooking while others like Jonatthan and Somerset Red are ideal for cider and my old favourite Red Delicious is perfect for picking straight from the fruit bowl as a healthy snack. Now, here is a not so healthy snack recipe but will send your dentist laughing all the way to his bank. I have manage to keep this old favourite Chinese Toffee Apples recipe which I have learned from a friend who had a Chinese restaurant in Fortitute Valley in Brisbane many years ago.
Chinese Apple Tofee Recipe.
2 cooking green apples (Granny Smith)
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp oil
2 cup of oil for frying the apples.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Peel, cut, quarter and core apples. Cut each quater in half across to form cubes. Shift flour into mixing bowl, add 1tbsp oil and water slowly to make a light battter. Put apple cubes into batter. Heat 2 cups of in a wok until hot and deep fry apples until light golden brown. Drain batttered apple cubes on paper towel. Empty oil in the wok to leave 1 tablespoon of oil behind. Add sugar and water and bring to boil.. Increase heat and keep stirring rapidly for 5 minutes or until the sugar mixture goes foamy and white. Stir rapidly for another 5 minute or until the hot toffee turns light golden in colour. Remove from heat and add sesame seeds and apples, toss the apples around and turn out onto a lightly oil plate. Quickly drop the toffee-coated apples individually into a big bowl of water with plenty of ice cubes. This will immediately crytallized the toffee and turn them into an old favourite Chinese dessert.