At last, I’m proud to be able to bring you the long awaited pictorial follow up to my original guide to apple feathering! When I produced the original [HOW TO FEATHER AN APPLE] I illustrated it using the basic version of Google SketchUp which doesn’t allow for the necessary manipulation of spheres, hence the strangely cuboid apple. A wise friend suggested that photos might make the guide easier to follow, a not unreasonable suggestion I felt, and so here it is.
I know that Juliet Harbutt would not agree that such fripperies are necessary for the decoration of a cheeseboard, but I have been adorning mine with feathered apples for as long as I can remember and I don’t intend to stop now. A friend who moved house recently decided to clear out his boxes of old photos and produced one of me carrying a cheeseboard from my old kitchen some fifteen or so years ago. Not only could I remember the names of each of the cheeses and the shops where I’d bought them [this was some time before yellowwedge cheese was born] but there, standing proud in the centre of the board, was a feathered apple. I have even designed a new kitchen implement for carrying out the task, but until it makes it into production, which will undoubtedly make me a millionaire several times over into the bargain, you’ll need to follow these instructions [by the way if anyone has advice on producing prototype kitchen wares do get in touch!].
First, find a handsome, blemish-free apple.
You will also need a chopping board, a long sharp chef’s knife [you might think a paring knife would be better suited but trust me on this one], and a lemon.
Next cut out a neat quarter – that’s the easy bit!
Now cut a slightly smaller quarter from the first quarter.
From this point on in your knife skills are put to the test as the trick is to cut into the apple deeply enough to create a new segment, without cutting through the walls of the last one. Keep cutting progressively smaller quarters, taking care to keep them of a nice, even size. Remember to keep the new cuts parallel to the old, meeting at a 90˚ angle – the most common mistake for the novice featherer is to be tempted to cut wedge shapes with an ever decreasing corner angle. As you cut dribble a little lemon juice over the cut surfaces to stop discolouration.
Reassemble your apple, and give the pieces a quick slither over each other to evenly coat with lemon juice. Finally push out each wedge by an even amount [either up or down], and voila! A beautiful addition to your cheeseboard.
All you have to do now is bask in the guaranteed adulation of your guests and resist the temptation to kill the first of them who picks off a piece and eats it! You might also want to cut a small wedge from the bottom of the apple to angle it artfully on the board and show off your efforts to best effect.