I’ve always been a believer that an apple a day keeps the doctor away – whether consumed fresh or in apple pie form! As a self-confessed Francophile, I was delighted to attend a recent Interfel culinary pastry workshop featuring fresh apples from France. I learnt some amazing apple recipes and a lot about food sustainability, both in terms of growing and consumption. Read on for details of incredible tarte tatin and apple galette recipes made by pastry chef Alicia Wong!
Interfel and fresh apples from France
The Interbranch Association for Fresh French Fruit and Vegetables (Interfel) supports and celebrates French growers and their high-quality produce. Given the diverse climates and geographical features of the country, over one hundred varieties of apples from France flourish in orchards dotted throughout the countryside. Fun fact: France is the third largest apple producer in Europe after Poland and Italy!
In Singapore you can buy quite a few varieties of apples from France, including Royal Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Kissabel, Pixie, Candine and The Juliet. This year, the country has had beautiful summer and spring weather, so the harvest is exceptional and abundant. At the workshop, I did a taste test, and I can report that the apples were colourful, crisp and delicious. They also pair very well with other French goodies like brie and wine! The Kissabel was a standout for me with its pretty pink flesh and just right level of sweetness.
Something I didn’t know before the workshop is that French apple growers have been committed to food sustainability for over 20 years. They’ve embraced a holistic farming approach prioritising eco-friendly cultivation practices, orchard biodiversity and efficient waste management. Biocontrol techniques and thoughtful pollination methods are also used widely. The growers love their homeland and want to preserve it for future generations to enjoy. As a mum myself, I’m behind the idea of feeding my kids apples that not only taste yummy but are also environmentally friendly and healthy.
Apple recipes with Chef Alicia Wong
The workshop was a collaboration between Interfel and Alicia Wong, renowned pastry chef and owner of confectionary atelier Nesuto Singapore, to bring a taste of France to the heart of Singapore. The two dishes on the menu for the day were a classic apple tarte tatin and an apple galette. Think apple pie vibes, with a more sophisticated twist!
Chef Alicia always uses apples from France in her cooking and chose gala apples for the apple tarte tatin. First, she caramelised the peeled, cored and finely sliced apples in a golden butter and sugar sauce. The wafting sweetness was mouth-watering! Putting these aside, Chef Alicia set about making the dough. Her culinary expertise came in handy as the process is quite precise, involving placing it in the fridge at intervals and using ice cold water to achieve the right pastry texture. I was relieved when she said it’s fine if you’re a novice chef to use sheet pastry (phew!).
The drained apple mixture is placed first into the dish, followed by the strained caramel liquid, and then topped with dough. After being baked in the oven until golden brown, Chef Alicia turned out the masterpiece onto the plate. Voila!
Chef Alicia’s tip is to pair apple with vanilla instead of cinnamon. Vanilla brings out the subtle flavours without overpowering the natural flavour of the fruit. Served warm with a dollop of apple brandy ice cream, the taste was a magical combination of light, buttery pastry and melt-in-your-mouth, tender apple. Delish. By the time Chef Alicia whipped up the equally delectable apple galette, which we enjoyed with a glass of Rhone Valley wine, it was sadly time to end. I left sated and inspired to try it all again at home!
Waste not, want not!
In keeping with Interfel’s commitment to food sustainability, Chef Alicia demonstrated that every part of the apples from France can be used. The peel and cores were cut up and cooked with water, sugar and lemon juice. The reduced liquid is perfect for making jam or as a fruit glaze. Sustainable cooking at its best!
Keen to try these apple recipes at home? Scan this QR code for the full details!
French Apples including Royal Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Kissabel, Pixie, Candine and The Juliet varieties are available in major retailers, including FairPrice and Cold Storage.
IG and Twitter: @FruitVegFromFR
Now you know all about French apple recipes more refined than apple pie, why not learn more about French wine?
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