We are not offering a chapter on desserts because we find most Chinese desserts heavy or overly sweet and prefer to end our meals with fresh fruit, especially citrus fruits. But here is one Chinese dessert that we particularly like. It combines the sweetness of caramel and the tartness of apples, and if you lift the apples from the caramel just right, the caramel forms long, thin strands, which harden as you dip the apples into ice water—hence the name. The apples can be prepared ahead, including the first frying. Then, at the last minute, give the apples a quick frying to crisp the coating, then dip them into the caramel. Slightly unripe pears that are still firm make a pleasant variation. A Chinese version of this dish is made with whole, peeled, fresh water chestnuts.
© 1981 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.