What's not to love about a good old apple tart? Beautifully caramelised apples, a crumbly base, and a sprinkling of cinnamon form a simple yet powerful combination of flavours and textures that are quite simply, addictive. Trust Chef Reon Hobson of Pescatore at The George in Christchurch to reinvent this familiar dessert. It's a recipe that requires practice, but when you get it right, you'll turn out a whimsical apple 'tart' filled with crème brulée mousse, caramelised apple, and apple jelly.  



Serves 4

Crème brûlée 
350ml double cream 

2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
21⁄2 gelatine leaves 

Sugar apple 
15g glucose
0.1g cream of tartar 
1g green colouring 

Caramelised apple 
2 Granny Smith apples 

Apple jelly 
50g apple purée 
2g gelatine 

100g puff pastry 
20g sugar sugar 
Unsalted butter 



1. Prepare a caramel powder by bringing 100g of sugar to the boil with 30ml of water. Leave on the heat till it starts to turn a caramel colour, then pour out onto a silicone mat and leave to cool. Blitz the set caramel to make a powder. 

2. For the crème brûlée, warm the cream with the vanilla bean. Whisk the egg yolks and 40g of sugar in a bowl, then pour the warmed cream over the egg mix. Return the liquid to the pan and heat to 72 ̊C. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine and 50g of the caramel powder and and stir to combine. Pass the mix and place into a cream whipper and charge with 1 cartridge. 

3. Combine 50g of sugar and 17ml of water with the rest of the sugar apple ingredients and heat to 155 ̊C. Remove from the heat and transfer to a silicone mat, then work the sugar into a ball, by which stage it will have cooled to 70-80 ̊C. Keeping the sugar ball warm under a heat lamp or in a 60 ̊ oven, take off 30-40g pieces one at a time and blow on the end of a sugar pump till the size is that of an apple. Cut the 'apple' off the end of the pump with scissors, using a blow torch to heat the tips. Cut a larger hole in the bottom of the apple with a ring cutter, once again heated with a blow torch (we use tweezers to hold the ring cutter). 

4. Peel, core and dice the apples. Boil 50g of sugar in 15ml of water to make a caramel. Add the diced apple to the caramel and cook till there is no more liquid. Add 10g of butter, remove from the heat and set aside. 

5. Heat the apple purée and 10g of sugar, then add the gelatine. Pour the mix onto onto a non-stick tray and leave to set in the fridge. Once set cut out discs with same cutter used for the base of the sugar apple. 

6. Brush the puff pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Roll the pastry to create a multi-layer cylinder. Place in the fridge, and once set slice off two 5mm sections. Line a baking tray and bake at 180 ̊C for 10 minutes or till golden. Once cooked, roughly break up the palmiers so they will fit through the hole at the base of the sugar apple. 

7. Place the sugar apple upside down and half fill it with the crème brûlée mousse. Add layers of caramelised apple and palmier, then fill with more crème brûlée. Leave enough space to plug the hole with the set apple jelly. Place upright on a plate and place a real apple stalk on top. 


Loved this recipe? Take a look at the Small Luxury Cookbook published by the good folk from Small Luxury Hotels of The WorldTo view more recipes from our #SaturdaySessions series, click here