Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jazz Apple Masterclass with Fast Ed


I was recently invited to attend a Jazz Apple Masterclass hosted by Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens.  Myself, Sandra and Thanh were lucky enough to be picked up by a private car and chauffeured to the event, held at Raw Materials in Footscray. I must say, it felt a bit special!

Once we got to the street, it took us a little while to identify the venue, as lots of the buildings on the street look quite similar.  But then we spotted this parked car, and knew we'd found the right spot.

The Jazz Apple Car
Jazz Apple car!  No, we didn't get driven in the Jazz Apple car - but how cool would that have been!  I also wonder why they didn't use a Honda Jazz... (get it?)

Thanks to our really efficient driver, we arrived a bit earlier than the other attendees, who included fellow food-blogger Agnes, and a group of competition winners, so we had a bit of time to hang out and try the apples.
Apple Scooter
Jazz Apples are a relatively new species, a cross between Galas and Braeburns, specifically bred and created to maximise the most popular characteristics of eating apples: crunch, sweetness, a thin skin.  I'd seen them in supermarkets before, but didn't give much thought to where they came from - who knew so much effort and planning would go into producing a new apple variety!
Apples
Once everyone arrived, we were ushered into the demonstration kitchen for drinks and to watch Fast Ed make his apple dishes. A glass of champagne? Before midday?  Don't mind if I do! (Well I wasn't driving! And it would have been rude to say no to champagne, right?)

Drinks
Fast Ed demonstrated the three courses of apple dishes that we'd be cooking and eating that day.

I must be honest - I don't actually watch Better Homes and Gardens, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Fast Ed, but he was awesome!  He was super friendly, chatting and interacting with the audience, and he shared heaps of great cooking tips and info.
Fast Ed tossing his caramelised apples
If the kitchen looks familiar, it's because that's where they film Good Chef Bad Chef! (Otherwise known in my house as "Good Chef, Angry Nutritionist", hehehe!)

Soon though, we had to don our own aprons and get cooking ourselves!
Apple apron!

We were split into groups and assigned a different course to cook for all sixteen attendees - by a stroke of luck, us bloggers were all on the dessert team!  Woohoo!  We were making a spicy caramelised apple verrine with brown sugar crumbs and citrus mascarpone.

Different cooking stations

You can tell this is the food bloggers' station - SLRs, champagne, iPhone...

Here we are, busy preparing.
Busy cooking
The dessert was made up of caramelised apples, a citrus-scented mascarpone cream, segmented lemons and oranges, and a spicy crumble mixture, all layered up in a glass.

Thanh made the spiced crumble...

Agnes peeled and chopped the apples...

And I somehow got stuck segmenting the lemons and oranges! Phew, it was a difficult job and it took aaaages!

Crumble mixture ready for baking
From here we all pitched in (Sandra included) to cook the apple slices and assemble the desserts.
Apple slices and butter and sugar... Soooo much butter

Boiling caramel - watch out!

And done!
You can see I'm still segmenting citrus in the background there!  But how good do those apples look! I love caramelized apples! I think these would be great with ice-cream, pancakes, waffles, whipped cream... any dessert really.

With all the elements prepared, we just had to layer them up in the glasses.

And done!

Our course happened to be the easiest one too, so we were done quite quickly, and we managed to have a sticky beak at the other teams.

Mmm... cheese!
Emmental Cheese
I especially liked the look of these crispy potato and apple galettes, layered with grated Emmental cheese.
Potato and apple galettes with Emmental cheese

And then it was time to eat our three-course lunch.  I think these apple centrepieces were quite cute!

First course was slow-cooked ocean trout with fish crackling and spiced apple salad.

The slow-cooking process resulted in meltingly tender flesh.  The overall dish was lightened by the refreshing, crunchy apple salad and the crunchy piece of fish crackling.  I don't know if fish crackling will overtake pork crackling for my affections, but it provided a welcome textural element to the dish.

The main course was veal escalopes with forest mushrooms, potato and apple galettes.

I love the combo of veal and mushrooms, so the flavours in this dish worked well for me.  (Especially the potato-apple galette - yum!)  However, I'm not really into heavy sauces, so I found the amount of cream sauce a little overwhelming.  If I were to make this at home, I think I'd pass the sauce around separately so that people could add as much or as little as they like.

And the final, best course... (not that I'm biased or anything!)... our spicy caramelised apple verrine with brown sugar crumbs and citrus mascarpone.
I loved this dessert! It was kind of like a deconstructed cheesecake, with the combination of crumble and citrussy mascarpone.  Sometimes mascarpone-based desserts can be a little heavy, but the citrus pieces and caramelized apple chunks provided a lovely contrast.  Ok, so segmenting all those oranges and lemons was worth it in the end!

We were sent home with loads and loads of Jazz Apples - all those apples used in the centrepieces and as decoration needed homes - and to finish up this post, I wanted to show you a few things that I made with them!  Because they're sweet and crunchy, they're a good eating apple, and indeed, I just ate most of the plain as a snack.  But here are a few of the (slightly) fancier things I made with them:

I had some apple slices with cheese, salami and bread, as part of a German-inspired aufschnitt dinner.


I sliced some up, lightly cooked them in a pan with sugar and butter, and served them with some oatmeal waffles.

And finally, I made an apple sharlotka (a Russian recipe, which I found on Smitten Kitchen).  This recipe basically consists of heaps of apple pieces, bound together with a tiny amount of sponge batter.  I'm always on the lookout for recipes like this, (the more apple the better), so if you know of any similar ones, please share them with me!


Mmm... super appley

I was surprised how well this recipe worked, and how easy it was.  (Even easier than, say, an apfelkuchen sehr fein).  It was absolutely delicious, with a fabulously homey and welcoming aroma, and a very moist and tender crumb.  Despite the insane amount of apples in the cake, it held its shape pretty well, and I'd definitely make it again.

A big thanks to Fast Ed, Raw Materials, Montague Fresh and Media Moguls for an enjoyable morning and for all the apples!

Sarah and Sandra attended the Jazz Apple Masterclass Event as guests.

5 comments:

Sophie said...

I love apples! Any idea when these are in season?

I'd assume Winter/year-round, but I'd like to be sure :)

Sarah said...

Sophie - The season for these apples starts in April and goes until they run out, lol. Because it's still a new variety they don't have a huge amount of it, so once it runs out each year, you have to wait til next year! :)

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Fast Ed's pretty cute haha. Everything looks delish :)

Sarah said...

Nic - Hehe he's quite a looker! The competition winners who attended the event with us (mainly ladies) were very impressed with him! Hehe. I think he looks a bit like Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler from Law and Order: SVU).

April said...

Thanks for the detailed account of the class, I felt like I was there too! :)

Haha at the above comment. Fast Ed is a lot better looking than Detective Elliot Stabler!!