If you want to make a spectacular presentation at a festive event, try making this swan. I admit that this is a “Martha Stewart” sort of project but it is well worth trying because the results can be good even on your first attempt. The keys to success are: 1) have a very sharp, fine bladed knife; 2) take your time; and 3) don’t panic if you make a small slip…it will never be noticed. It is down right amazing how forgiving the apple-swan is!
One large round apple free of blemishes and bruises; you will have to make 3 sets of 5 consecutive cuts next to each other so the bigger the apple the more room you will have to maneuver.
Knife with sharp thin blade;
Lemon juice to coat cut surface of apple
One to three traditional toothpicks
1. Hold the apple so the stem is up and cut off about 1/3 the apple. Save both pieces.
2. Place the apple cut side down with the stem facing you. Cut a small V in the top of the apple and remove the piece.
3. Continue making V shaped cuts as close as possible to each other but do NOT remove the pieces until you have completed 5 cuts. Do not worry if you accidentally make a false cut or break a piece off; it will not be noticeable.
4. Remove the 5 cuts all together and slide the layers out as shown. The juice of the apple will hold the pieces together.
5. Turn the apple on one side and make another set of 5 cuts as you did before.
6. Repeat with the second side.
7. Take the small bottom piece you made in step 1 and cut it into 3 pieces. Take the longest, center, piece and cut a small V at the front to form a head on the neck. Leaving some apple at the front cut away a layer of apple flesh to form a neck. You can add whole cloves, apple seeds, or black peppercorns for eyes.
8. Insert a toothpick into the body of the bird and then into the neck. Put the wings in place.
9. Paint or squeeze lemon juice on all the cut edges to prevent browning.
10. Using a couple of tooth picks, attach the swan to a firm vegetable (here broccoli stem). A potato covered with attractive greens makes a lovely base.
You will be amazed at how good your swan will look. The first time I tried this I only made three Vs in each set but the swan was still attractive and added an elegant touch to the dish; it sure beat a sprig of parsley!