Along the lines of Julie and Julia, here is our pathetic attempt at a Heston dish, this time dessert. Against our best attempts at sabotaging what looked like a great and easy dish to recreate, it was still okay. Pretty good in fact. It was complex but we soldiered on and got there, in the end.
ARLETTE WITH PRESSED APPLE TERRINE
The recipe in the book is for 8-10 serves, but we cut that in half, mostly, so we had plenty for 6 serves anyway. We figured it was the sort of dessert that was best served fresh. The damn recipe takes a couple of days – so add a big dash of patience and you’ve got it, Gungadin.
For the apples and poaching syrup
280 gr. Unrefined castor sugar
125 gr. Unsalted butter, cubed
250 gr. Apple juice
5 gr. Pectin Powder
6 Granny Smith apples (he said Braeburn, but we had Grannies)
Melt 230 gr sugar on medium – high heat, shaking pan. When half is melted, stir with a dry spatula and let darken. Add the butter, mixing well. Add the apple juice, a little at a time, and bring to a simmer. Mix the pectin with a little sugar (50 gr)
In a small bowl with a fork, add to saucepan, bring to boil and take off the heat.
A note here – Jane didn’t have pectin, so just did without. Not sure that it made that much difference, except we really didn’t end up with the apple gel, which probably explains a little of our disappointment, but the dessert was still fine.
For the apples: heat oven to 90 deg. C, and slice the apples to a 2mm thickness, vertically. Layer them overlapping on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, brush the top with the poaching syrup, reserve remaining syrup.
Place a layer of baking paper on top of the apples, another baking sheet, and weight it down with something heavy. Jane wrapped a brick in foil and used that. Pretty much did the job! Bake in oven for 12 hours. I did say these recipes were complex!
When the time is up, remove the weight and top cover, increase oven to 120deg. C and bake for another 90 minutes. Remove and cool, then cut into 3cm x 8cm rectangles, and keep in fridge.
For the Arlette, which is thin puff pastry sheets like a mille feuille but without the thousand leaves, heat oven to 200 deg. C, roll out about 150 gr. Of good butter puff pastry (Careme if you’re feeling lavish – we used Pampas, and it really wasn’t the same. You can almost taste the margarine)… Dust with Icing sugar and roll till really thin, weight between two sheets of baking paper and trays, this was a two brick job, and bake for around 15 minutes until golden brown. Repeat – you need 24 slices, which you cut the same as the apples, 3×8 mm, quickly while it’s hot or it’ll crack and split. Sigh…
Cool the pastry. While it’s cooling, whip 100 gr. Of whipping cream with 3 drops of rosewater, adding about 25 gr. Of icing sugar until stiff. Put in a piping bag.
There’s supposed to be vanilla salt, and crystallised fennel seeds, but by that time, we really couldn’t be bothered, so added some toasted hazelnuts which we thought were a much better idea.
Then? Just assemble! Put a layer of pastry, then apples, then pastry, then cream in dots (rosettes for you purists), then pastry again, apples, then pastry, a dot of cream and the nuts or crystallised fennel if you must. We just couldn’t.
Serve! It was lovely, but again, so not worth the two days mucking about. I can really see why people beat a path to his door, because who’s got the time or the equipment to go those extra marathon miles? Not us, Julia, not us. Patience? Phht. But you know what? It was a bit of fun. And our guests of course thought it was marvelous, but no one put their hand up to continue the party…
Have you tried any of Heston’s recipes? I know some of you have his books. It just might be time to take them off the shelf, give them a dust, and a little explore. Maybe when you’re next on holidays, and need a project. Mine will be visiting the restaurant!