Chef dresses up treat with an extravagant touch

CNE Staff Photos


Chef Jason Rosso created the EX-travagant candy apply for this year’s Ex.

Forget about traditional candy apples, and feast your eyes on this gourmet delight. It’s inspired by the coming of this year’s Canadian National Exhibition, which starts tomorrow, and made by executive chef Jason Rosso, of the Distillery Restaurant Group. Rosso was asked to “gourmet” the beloved exhibition treat and thought, “what better staple to change than the candy apple.”

“Apples are very diverse and lend themselves well to a whole bunch of flavours,” says Rosso, who was also the executive chef at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and at Sassafraz in Toronto.

His experience in texture-driven cuisine yielded a mouth-watering taste sensation — ideally termed the EX-travagant candy apple — that is sure to please. “The uniqueness of this candy apple is that it’s hollowed out and filled with a dark chocolate ganache (and) sage,” Rosso says.

Only the highest quality ingredients were used in Rosso’s culinary creation, such as dark French chocolate from Valrhona, and lingonberry — a member of the cranberry family commonly used in Scandinavian cooking syrup — to coat the outside.

Rosso knows how to create crowd pleasers. After all, he’s worked in a kitchen since the age of 12. He has made a name for himself by working in kitchens across Canada and overseas, and was invited to cook at the renowned James Beard House in New York City. “My food is inspired by people,” he says. “When I have a great conversation with someone, I instantly start to create food based around that feeling.”

This gourmet apple isn’t available at the EX, says Tran Ngyuen of the CNE.

(But check out the recipe right here.)

The EX-travagant Candy Apple

Serves 4


  • 4 washed Mutsu apples with stems removed

  • 1 lb dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 8 oz. 35 per cent cream

  • 1/2 bunch of sage, chopped fine

  • 1/2 lb. sugar

  • 1/2 cup lingonberry syrup

  • 1 cup feuilletine flakes

  • water

  • 4 popsicle sticks

Ganache Mixture:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in stainless steel bowl. In a medium sauce pan heat the cream until boiled and remove from the heat.

  2. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate and let stand for about 2 minutes.

  3. Mix chocolate and cream together until blended and mix in chopped sage.

  4. Evenly slice apples about 1/8 inch from the top. Keep the tops aside and scoop out half of the centre of the apple with a spoon.

  5. 5. Pour the warm chocolate and sage mixture into the apples and place the tops back on using toothpicks to secure in place. Place the apples into the fridge for a couple of hours to solidify the ganache.

Apple Coating:

  1. Pour sugar into a medium sauce pan and add enough water to cover and absorb the sugar.

  2. Place onto the stove on high heat and allow to caramelize. As the sugar turns brown gently stir the syrup and remove from the heat. It is important to watch the caramel process as this could burn easily. (Takes about 10 minutes)

  3. Allow caramel to slightly cool and add the lingonberry syrup mixing well.

  4. Insert popsicle sticks into cooled apples from the bottom side. Dip apple into hot lingonberry caramel, remove toothpicks and place apples top-down on parchment paper. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

  5. Gently lift the candy apple from the paper and sprinkle feuilletine flakes on apples.

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