Sunday, March 23, 2014

Apple Swans

Having a hard time getting your kid to eat their fruits? Or maybe you really want to wow your dinner party guests? This is a perfect solution to both those situations - an apple cut to look like a swan (or duck, depending on how long you choose to make the neck). I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was but this video helped break down the steps, which I've also provided below. The first time took me 20 minutes to knock out, the second time took me 10 minutes. So the more practice you have, the easier and faster it'll go!

Very simply, all you need is:

1. An apple
2. 1 sharp knife
3. 2 butter knives
4. A cutting board
5. (optional) Lemon juice to help from browning

First, let me say be very careful when working with sharp knives. As the apple juices start to flow, you may lose your grip and accidentally cut or stab your hand, fingers, etc. So please be very careful and go slow, even if you're frustrated!

Ok, now that you've been properly warned, take your apple and with the stem (top) facing away from you, cut at a diagonal so the bottom will be on one half and the stem will be on another half.

Pick out any two seeds you think would make for great eyes!

Put the stem piece aside and work with the bottom piece first. Place it face-down on the cutting board and using two butter knives as guides, cut to the right of the calyx (that star-shaped mark on the bottom of apples) until you hit the butter knives.

Then cutting from right to left on the side of the apple, saw your way in until you hit the first cut, at which point, you'll be able to take the entire piece out.

Do the same thing on the other side of the calyx. Cut from the top until you hit the knives, then cut from the side until you can pop the piece of apple out.

Next, take one of the pieces you popped out and using the butter knives as guides again, cut 1/4" from the top until you hit the knives.

Now instead of trying to cut from the side, just turn the apple on its left side and cut from the top so you can take another chunk out. Do the same thing for the piece you just cut out. And the same thing to that piece!

Stack all the pieces on top of the original apple and you form a wing!

Do the same thing for the other piece you originally cut out and stack so there's wings on both sides of the base apple.

Now here's what I found to be the hardest part. Cut out a rectangle in the middle, so you'll have a place to put the neck/head. This is easier than it looks, so be patient.

Remember the top half of the apple you set aside? The one with the stem on it? Bring it back to the cutting board and using the butter knives and guides again, cut all the way through the apple.

If you cut all the way through each piece, you'll end up with something like this.

Find a piece that most resembles a heart and make a diagonal cut to the center of the apple.

Then make a horizontal cut to that point, so you can remove that section.

Make a diagonal cut across the bottom and you've got your head and neck!

Put in your seeds for eyes, stick it in the rectangular slot you created on the body, and you're set!

I do recommend making adjustments as you see fit, like rounding out corners, adjusting the thickness of the neck, etc. Trust me, the more you do it, the easier it'll be!

TOTAL COSTS: Depends on the apples you choose. At Vons the prices are:
$1.49/lb for Fuji
$1.49 for Golden Delicious
$1.99/lb for Granny Smith

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 10-20 minutes
As I said, the first time took me 20 minutes, the second time took me 10.

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 3 out of 5
It can be hard the first time around, especially making the center hole for the neck to go in, but the more practice, the faster and easier it'll be!

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