On our spooky creepy journey around Halloween I can’t help but dive deep into the need to bake up a disgustingly delicious treat. There is something about this time of the year where creativity is encouraged and the decrepit has no limits. On a recent trip to my local orchard the rotting apples below the trees kept catching my eye. There’s something about the soft, mushy interior with the wrinkled deep red skin surrounding the apple that is irresistible. This got me to thinking…how can I make something edible that also looks absolutely repulsive? How about make a rotten apple!
If you are still here and not hiding under a blanket from how SCARY that spider is, then grab your tea and a biscuit and tuck in cause this one is a doozy. The base of the apple is a choux pastry (see my method and recipe under Orange Puffs: Choux). In addition to the choux, I used a fun addition I recently saw on a baking show: Craquelin. Craquelin is a disk made of butter, sugar, and flour that you can put on top of choux pastry to add texture and color to your creations. Having never made this before I Googled up the recipe and gave it a whirl. Although it sounds a little intimidating, the recipe is very simple and easy to make. Traditionally the Craquelin should be fairly thin (2-3mm), but I made some of them a little bit thicker for fun and because I really wanted it to cover the entire choux. I suggest giving it a try because if it doesn’t work, just don’t tell anyone and hey you TRIED!
Once the choux and crhaquelin are prepped and ready, they are set to go in the oven for 20-25 minutes. I did keep a close eye on these since I had never made the Craquelin before so I was not sure how they would look, but turns out they require the same baking time as our regular choux. Once out of the oven and properly cooled, I actually let these sit for a few days under a loosely covered Tupperware. This step is not necessary, but I wanted these to look extra creepy and deteriorated. By leaving them a few days to sit they deflate a little but, which creates the perfect little spot to put a spider or any other little creature you might create! Otherwise, go ahead and fill them with whipped cream or make your own fillings. For extra decoration, I added a little bit of powdered sugar to the outside of the apple by hand to really give it that moldy look. Also, I created simple apple stems by piping melted chocolate, letting it cool, and popping it into the top of the apple.
Extra spooky add-ons:
Now if you really want to go the extra mile, keep that chocolate melted and keep on piping! I had a little bit of fun here trying out different methods to see what would look the best. I knew I wanted to decorate this rotten apple with some spiderwebs and maybe even a spider frozen in amber! So I used milk and white chocolate to pipe out a few different sized spider webs. This works best by placing parchment paper on a baking tray for easy removal of your chocolate once it is set. I could not help myself and HAD to make it look even spookier by adding the effect of blood. By using red food die and a little bit of corn starch it stuck to the chocolate very well and really makes the details stand out. The final product adds an interesting dimension to set as the background for any rotten treat!
The spider is edible too!
The body is a chocolate covered espresso bean and the legs are very fun to make. I learned this method from ‘The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell’ on Netflix (highly recommend if you have not watched this already!). Melt Werther’s hard candies in the oven at 350°. Once they are melted take them out of the oven and allow them to cool just enough to handle. By taking pieces of the melted candy pull one end to create the spiky end of the leg and create a bend in the middle. This part is a little bit tricky because the candies are very hot, but cool down quickly. So I suggest setting some time aside for this part and just keep trying until you get the legs and size you want. To attach the legs to the spider melt the base on the flame of a candle and hold it to the chocolate body. Start from the front and work your way to the back. The legs I created were quite delicate because I pulled them very thin at the ends for extra spiky creepiness. So…be very careful to not drop or snag the legs as you are working around the body. But if one does fall off, just put another in its place. (Which is why I made quite a few extra!). I also made a “backup” spider and good thing I did because he fell to a very untimely death and shattered into pieces. RIP backup spider. If your hands aren’t glued together with sugar yet you can make a spider frozen in amber! For this bit, pipe out a chocolate into the shape of a flattened spider. Then make caramel. (HA just like casually make caramel, right?!). The first time I ever made caramel it took me about 6 tries and 3 pans. If you are determined to make caramel, you will make caramel! Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy. Just slowly melt sugar in a frying pan. Do. Not. Touch. It. Once it starts to melt, Do. Not. Touch. It. Once the majority of the sugar is melted, lift the pan of the heat and slowly swirl the melting sugar around to encase the remaining sugar. The residual heat will melt the small amount of remaining sugar. If your eyes are crossed and you’re like, “Kate, I’m never going to make caramel, get moving” that’s ok we are ALMOST done. Once it’s all melted, in one sweep put your caramel over your prepared chocolate spider. Let is set and then you can break it into whatever size you’d like! This is also a fun add-on to throw in the background or can break into smaller pieces and add onto cupcakes or a full size cake.
I hope you have fully enjoyed this spooky journey through creepy culinary creativity! Let me know below if you make any or all of these creations (wins or fails…I love to hear them all!).