Saturday, May 1, 2010

Behind the lemon love, what there is .. an apple galette

David Buchholz's book, the 1 2 3 program, puts the lemon and the citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines, pineapples) on the list of foods to avoid. He said: "don't be fooled, these stealth triggers are potent troublemakers for many (of us)". Vit C is no problem (pfuuu) and citric acid is permissible (to confirm with your own personal tests..I will, personally, not eat jams and other products with acid citric in it).. But do you know that after salt and pepper, LEMON is the most common thing used by chefs to balance flavor. Because that is what chefs do: they balance flavors.. so I am asking myself (and you out there). What do you use to REPLACE lemon? To replace this magical acid that creates so much with so little. There is hope, we, migraines people, are not the only one having citrus restriction.. People with citrus allergies often react to certain proteins in citrus fruit, while a more rare condition of "citrus acid intolerance" causes people to react to the citrus acid in a number of fruits, vegetables, and as a food additive... Beware.. For them there is substitution: vinegar (champagne, apple cider, balsamic). But not for us (vinegar is a big NO). And there is no way I will put white vinegar in my apple tart recipe:-)

An apple tart recipe is the first baking good you learn to do in cooking school.  Th erecipe includes a 1/4 cup of lemon juice to preserve the sliced apples to brown and to give a little sour and tart twist to the sweetener (for me, sweeteners are always maple syrup, maple crystal and today palm sugar as I am running out of maple crystal). As a chef I have to say that this "lemon forbidden" attitude arrives at its end: today I am going to find a migraines-free, easy to use, LEMON SUSBTITUTE! The experimentation is going to be used during the baking of the traditional apple galette: Grape, Blackberry, Kiwi, and Pomegranate will be used as replacement and I will see the effect on the apples (as far as taste and texture). / I am learning as I go and I heard that VERJUS - a tart grape juice- is a great replacement (still need to check its label)./ Well everybody knows it's easy to cut a lemon and squeeze it; it is harder to do the same with fresh grape and kiwi. 13$ later at Whole Foods, I came out with a small bottle of pomegranate juice. I am trying to find a solution without buying a bottled product but the fresh real fruit.. Believe it or not, it is hard to find a truly 100% pure juice. The bottle of pomegranate juice concentrate (8 oz) costs 9.49$ (..sick..), tastes tart and very sweet. It shoudl be good for baking sweets, but I am not sure of the result for my salad dressings. At Whole Foods I found fresh pomegranate seeds that are coming for India, and some cherries (but could not decide to start to juice them :-) as far as the bottle of tart cherries goes, the label say: "natural flavors" that I might not want. Maybe finally I WOULD juice my own cherries. All I want is fruits. Nothing else added. I put my Breville fountain elite juicer out and start peeling my 2 apples. JUICING RESULT: kiwi is the closer to lemon.. Blackberry is next, then the concentrate pomegranate juice and at the end the grape juice. One kiwi gives very little juice so next time I would use 2.. I lay down the thin slices of apple in each juice bowl (the pomegranate concentrate juice to be diluted as it is too thick). I attack the making of the crust (I am using butter because I like it like this but coconut oil is a wonderful fat for vegans.) The butter creates those magic bubbles of air that makes a "fluffy" crust : "feuilletee", like a "mille feuille", which the coconut doesn't: that is why we add baking powder. My baking powder is organic: cornstarch, baking soda + acid: monocalcium phosphate. (Also if using coconut oil, it is best to mix whole wheat pastry flour with all purpose - half /half). I took each apple slice bathing in the fruit juice and sauté them for less then 5 minutes until the juice reduces to close to no liquid. I put them to cool down, making sure to separate each slice to let the steam out. I add for each bowl 1/4 teaspoon of ground palm sugar, pinch of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract (optional). VERDICT: Pomegranate-apple slice: overbearing pomegranate doesn't let me enjoy my apple, Grape-apple slice: too sweet (in the pan the grape juice starts to caramelize..), Blackberry-apple slice: good and Kiwi-apple slice is exactly what I remember it should taste with lemon. A winner. I work on my dry: 1 1/2 cup half whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (stiff all). I break a cold stick of butter in small pieces and with a pastry cutter, I cut the butter into flour to form a very coarse meal. The butter must stay as cold as long as possible. Don’t touch it.. I put a few tablespoons of ice water into it, 4 tablespoons as a time until dough forms. Press together, (flat, hamburger-like), wrap in plastic and chill 20 to 30 minutes. After roll on lightly floured surface to desired shape. (Usually a free 9 " diameter galette). Pre heat oven to 375 degre. The dough should be 1/8 inch thick. In small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of organic breadcrumbs (read label) with 2 tablespoons of palm sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Scatter the mix (will absorb the moisture-liquid from the apple slices) into the center of circle, leaving 1 1/2 " border. Fan apples (for me would be my 4 different kinds of marinated slices..) in concentric circles over the area covered by the dry mixture. Score and fold dough over apples. Bake 35 minutes until crust is brown and firm to touch. Brush with maple syrup to give it a shine 5 minutes before the end. Cool, slice and serve. VERDICT: suprisingly POMEGRANATE added a tart flavor to my apple filling without too much sweetness (I lowered the total number of tablespoons of palm sugar the usual recipe required.) KIWI is like one would expect the apples to taste if they have been using lemon.
Tomorrow I am adding kiwi juice into the cooking of fishes.. and pomegranate juice to salad dressings..