French Apple Soupwith Pumpkin Butter, Onion Glass, and Apple Katsuobushi


Chef Brad Kilgore won the top prize in the 2020 International Sous Vide Day recipe contest.


“This dish was the most creative in appearance and flavors, and used many ingredients cooked sous vide. It incorporates a variety of classic and modern techniques into a well thought-out dish.”

—Chef Gerard Bertholon, Chief Strategy Officer, Cuisine Solutions


Pickled Apples

125 g apple cider, unfiltered
375 g apple cider vinegar (Chef Kilgore likes O-Med)
100 g Madeira
4 g thyme
2 g salt
125 g sugar
4 peeled red apples (either diced or scooped with a Parisian scoop/melon baller)

Apple Katsuobushi

1,500 g Gala or Fuji apple, sliced; use core and keep skin on
31 g salt
50 g unfiltered, unpasteurized fresh Gala apple juice
1 pc cinnamon
3 cloves
3 allspice
5 black peppercorns
2 g cardamom

Caramelized Yogurt Sauce

1,500 g Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
1 g xanthan gum

Spice Mix

3 g clove
12 g cinnamon, ground
4 g allspice
8 cardamom
15 g black peppercorns
11 g celery seed
15 g mace
15 g red miso powder
30 g caraway
10 g anise seed
8 coriander
12 g ginger, ground
8 g fennel seed

Squash Butter

2,800 g roast pumpkin purée, passed through a fine-meshed sieve
10 g Spice Mix
Salt, to taste

Madeira Reduction

760 g Madeira
20 g black peppercorns
16 g thyme

French Onion Soup Base

1,750 g yellow onion, julienned
700 g leeks, julienned
1,350 g red onion, julienned
300 g Madeira Reduction
1,140 g apple cider
380 g water
38 g salt
380 g tapioca maltodextrin

French Apple Infusion and Iota Finish

3,850 g French onion soup base, strained
385 g Apple Katsuobushi
35 g salt
0.6% by weight, of iota carrageenan to strained cooled liquid

Onion Glass

Reserved onions



  • Sous vide circulator
  • Container for water bath
  • Sous vide pouches
  • Vacuum sealer
  • Combi oven
  • Fine-meshed sieve
  • Blender
  • Chinois
  • Piping bag
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Rondeau
  • Pint containers
  • Sheet of acetate
  • Dehydrator


Prepping time: Approx. 1 hour, plus 8 days’ fermentation and blooming time / Cooking time: 16 hours, 40 minutes / Sous vide cooking time: 10-14 minutes




For Pickled Apples:

  1. Bring all ingredients to a simmer. Cool and reserve.
  2. Once cool, vacuum seal the apple on soft setting, and cook sous vide at 163.4°F (73°C) for 10-14 minutes, based on the apple density.

For Apple Katsuobushi:

  1. Place all ingredients into a sous vide pouch and vacuum seal to remove all oxygen.
  2. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 7 days. Place in a warm area (75°F or warmer) so the fermentation can be active. You will know when each pouch is ready, as it will be completely inflated.
  3. Remove from pouches, and smoke in a combi oven at 280°F, fan speed 3, for 40 minutes. Finished katsuobushi should be toasted, dehydrated, and smoked to preferred taste and aroma. Time will vary depending on thickness of slice and sugar in apples.

For Caramelized Yogurt Sauce:

  1. Vacuum seal yogurt in a sous vide pouch. Steam in a combi oven at 212°F, fan speed 3, 100% steam, for 8 hours. Remove from pouch and strain through a fine-meshed sieve; reserve strained yogurt and whey.
  2. Place 750 g strained caramelized yogurt, 310 g caramelized yogurt whey, salt, and xanthan gum in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pass through a chinois and reserve in a piping bag.
  4. Place in a squeeze bottle for service.

For Spice Mix:

  1. Blend to a powder in a blender.
  2. Sift through a chinois onto a piece of parchment and reserve in a small container.

For Squash Butter:

  1. Place all ingredients in a rondeau and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Squash Butter is finished when water appears to be evaporated from the purée.
  3. Add additional spice to taste. Place in a sous vide pouch and allow to bloom for 1 day in a refrigerator.

For Madeira Reduction:

  1. Reduce liquid so that you have 300 g once strained.

For French Onion Soup Base:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Portion into sous vide pouches in 1,000 g portions. Vacuum seal.
  2. Set combi oven to 212°F, 100% steam at fan speed 3 and cook for 8 hours overnight.
  3. Strain solids and reserve for the Onion Glass. Bring liquid to a simmer and infuse with the Apple Katsuobushi per recipe above.

For French Apple Infusion and Iota Finish:

  1. Bring the soup base and salt to a simmer and pour over the katsuobushi. Allow to cool to room temperature and then cool to below 40°F over an ice bath.
  2. Strain out the apples.
  3. Shear in the iota in a sauce pot using a whisk. Bring the liquid to a simmer and remain at 185°F for 2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Pour into an ice bath and set the gel.
  5. Portion the gel into pint containers and reserve chilled until ready to serve.

For Onion Glass:

  1. Spread onions on a greased and wiped sheet of acetate, taking care to leave negative space between the pieces of onion. Season the onion glass lightly with ground black pepper.
  2. Place in a dehydrator for at least 6 hours at 150°F.
  3. Break portions prior to service and reserve on trays lined with paper towel.

To Serve/Plate:

  1. Place the gelee in a very shallow bowl or directly onto the plate. Place three pieces of the pickled apples into the gelee about 1” apart from each other.
  2. Within the gelee, dot the caramelized yogurt about half the size of the apples, one dot per apple piece.
  3. Break a piece of the onion glass over the apples.
  4. Two inches from the gelee, using two identical spoons, make a quenelle of the pumpkin butter.
  5. Garnish the pumpkin butter with marigold petals (or other edible flowers; optional).
  6. Serve chilled.