For me, France is apple dessert heaven. There are the buttery, flaky chaussons aux pommes sold at bakeries that specialise in Viennoiserie, elegant tarts made with shortcrust pastry and thin, overlapping slices of apple, more rustic (but even more delicious) galettes that use puff pastry and thick chunks of the fruit, and the easy-to-make but extremely difficult-to-make-well tarte Tatin. Then there are regional specialities such as tarte Normande (which incorporates Calvados, the apple brandy that is also made in the region) and apple strudel, from Alsace. Caramelised apple tarts This is my version of the delicious tartelettes aux pommes from Poilâne bakery in Paris. These individual size tarts are best made with all-butter puff pastry – either a commercial type (available in the frozen section of some shops), or, even better, home-made rough-puff dough. I use Granny Smith apples (often labelled “green apples” at Hong Kong supermarkets) for this dessert, but other firm, tart varieties also work. Don’t use apples (such as Red Delicious) that turn to mush when cooked. How to make lumpia Shanghai, Filipino spring rolls 6 large tart apples 125 grams (4½ oz) granulated sugar 45 grams (1½ oz) unsalted butter ½ tsp salt 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh lemon juice 2-3 puff pastry sheets, thawed, if frozen 1 egg, for brushing Brown sugar crystals, for sprinkling Icing sugar (optional), for sprinkling Crème fraîche (optional), for serving How to make pan-fried Korean bean curd with spiced soy dressing 1 Peel the apples, then cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut each half into four evenly sized wedges. 2 Melt the butter in a large skillet placed over a medium-low flame. Add the granulated sugar and salt and stir to combine. Stir in the apple pieces, then cover the pan with the lid and cook for about three minutes, or until the sugar is melted, and there’s quite a lot of liquid (from the apples) in the pan. 3 Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples to a bowl, leaving behind as much liquid as possible. 4 Bring the liquid in the pan to the boil over a medium-high flame, then lower the heat to medium. Simmer the liquid until it thickens and turns a medium-dark caramel. As it is cooking, occasionally swirl the pan so the sugar caramelises evenly. Watch it carefully because it will go from medium-dark to burnt very quickly. 5 As soon as the caramel is sufficiently dark, return the apple pieces and any liquid in the bowl back to the pan. Stir well. Cook, uncovered, over a medium-low flame until the apple pieces are tender and the caramel is thick enough to lightly coat the fruit. Stir in the lemon juice, then turn off the flame and leave uncovered until the apples are cool. How to make Chinese food homestyle in classic 1950s cookbook 6 Use a plain or fluted round pastry cutter that is 12cm (5 in) in diameter to cut six circles from the sheets of puff pastry. Place the circles about 2.5cm (1 in) apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Use the tines of a fork to poke holes in the dough at 1cm intervals. Place the trays in the fridge for about 15 minutes, to firm up the dough. 7 Arrange eight apple pieces over each circle, piling them higher at the centre, and leaving a 1.5cm edge around the perimeter. Drizzle some of the caramel in the pan over the apples (you might not need all of it). Fold the perimeter of dough over the apples and press gently. Place the tray back in fridge. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (430 Fahrenheit). 8 Whisk the egg. When the oven is hot, lightly brush the beaten egg over the folded-over part of the pastry, then sprinkle it with the brown sugar crystals. 9 Bake the tarts at 220 degrees Celsius (430 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and starting to brown on the tops and edges. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) and continue to bake for about 10 more minutes or until the pastry is fully cooked – test by using a wide metal spatula to lift the tartlets from the tray; it should lift easily, feel light and be nicely browned on the bottom. 10 Cool the tart slightly before serving hot or warm with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired. Food styling: Rachael Macchiesi Like this recipe? Look for more in the SCMP Post Magazine , or on SCMP Cooking .