Warwick in the fall!
I promise this blog will go in lots of different culinary directions. But I am not done with apples yet. Today will be our second round of apple picking, so I am sharing more apple stories and another recipe. Megan is coming home! And Patrice and Jack are coming to Warwick! Patrice is Bob’s sister Joan’s youngest daughter and Jack is her intended. I loaded a bisque yesterday with the bowls I am making as a gift for their December wedding (12/13/14). I am hoping that after we get back from the orchard, they will help me unload the bisque and choose a glaze combination. Check back for pictures around Christmastime.
I thought you might like to hear about our traditional apple picking routine. And then, we’ll do some baking.
First, we assemble our companions. Over the years, apple pickers have been parents, siblings, dogs, friends, children, children’s friends, my beloved life partner, and members of his side of the family. This year, it was just Bob and me on the first round, and today, we’ll have company.
Next, we consult the map. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve picked at that orchard. It doesn’t matter that I can’t read a map if my life depends on it. We pore over the map. Then, we go for the Jonagolds. We sample them, pick a few. It is essential to sample from each tree before procuring any fruit from that particular plant.
Then, we feel a sense of guilt and responsibility toward all the other varieties even though we don’t like most of them nearly as much as we like Jonagolds. We go looking for the Mutsus and sample them, exclaiming at their huge beautitiousness, put off a bit by their thick skins. We pick a few of these after comparing the fruit of several trees. About now, we start to spit out some of the samplings (TMI? Sorry!). How much skin and pulp can a person comfortably swallow?
Now, we look for the row of Jonagolds that are in the whole other part of the orchard. We sample these and decide that the other ones were better, and make the trek back up the hill; it is essential to wipe out all the energy of all the participants in the apple adventure. Along the way, the Golden Delicious call to us and we are stunned at their spicy crispness. It is embarrassing to indulge in eating an apple named Delicious, but we stare down our own shame, and add a few to the bag. Then, we finish our journey and fill the rest of the space to the very top with our original favorites and head home for a shower and supper.
Supper has to be something with tomato sauce: pizza, spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna. I’ve prepared ahead because I am pretty much done in after all that apple anguish. Tonight, we’re having whole wheat pasta with turkey meatballs and sweet italian sausage, arugula salad and my homemade sourdough. Chocolate chip cookies for dessert. You never want an apple dessert on the same night you’ve tasted so much fruit. Tonight, I shower, relax, and eat with my fellow apple pickers. Tomorrow, I bake.
Tarte Tatin for Two
You need a 6 inch nonstick saute’ pan for this recipe. And you need to make a flaky pastry. Real or rough puff pastry is great, but any buttery tart pastry is fine. No, you are not allowed to buy premade pastry. Jonagold or Golden Delicious are great for baking. Don’t use Grannies from the supermarket. And if you try to make it with Red Delicious, I will come to your house and tickle you to death.
½ recipe tart pastry (for 8 or 9 inch pan), chilled (freeze or refrig the rest for later)
2 large or 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut in quarters
2 tbs. unsalted butter
3 tbs. brown sugar
tiny squeeze lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in the saute’ pan. Add the sugar, stir to melt the sugar and to combine it with the butter. Now, lay the apple pieces in a pretty pattern into the pan. You can take the pan off the heat to do this. Jam them in a bit as they will shrink when they cook and then fit better.
Put the pan back on a medium heat, and cover the pan for 5 minutes or so. The apples should turn translucent on top and the butter/sugar mixture should be bubbling. Cook uncovered for a few more minutes while you roll out the pastry. Use the pan lid to get the size right.
Now take the pan back off the heat and lay the pastry over the top, tucking in the edges as if you were putting the little apples pieces gently to sleep. Pop the napping apples with their pastry blanky into the nice warm oven. Set the timer for 25 minutes and have a cup of tea. You’ve earned it.
The tart is ready when the pastry is lightly browned. Let it sit for maybe two minutes while you find the right diameter plate, preferably one made by me! Now, place the plate on top of the pan and hold it with one hand while you grip the handle (use heat protection!) with the other. Flip. Pray. Use a silicone spatula to reassemble or realign any misbehaving caramelized apple slices.
Serve with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream, vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream.
Here are some old pictures of Megan and Brian in the orchard.
More, More Apples
October 19, 2014
I was a little worried that almost two weeks after Applefest, the orchards would be picked clean. But our energetic little band of apple seekers (Patrice, Jack, Megan, Bob and I) set out prepared to climb, and with a backup plan to hike instead, if it came to that.
We went to Ochs again and initially, it didn’t look promising. We picked some tomatoes, cabbages, little eggplants, and peppers. And then we checked out the raspberry canes. We didn’t think to bring a container, so we stuffed ourselves with the best berries any of us have ever tasted. We couldn’t tear ourselves away…but we needed to search for apples. Then, in the back of the orchard, in a spot we’d never noticed, we found them! Spygold! Plentiful, huge, crisp, tart, sweet, the quintessential, eating and baking apple! We filled our bags very happily.
How could we top that? I’ll tell you! Another new orchard find. We dug sweet potatoes with our bare hands! And then picked some pumpkins. And then, flush with our success and the stunningness of the day, we decided to hike Cascade to the Appalachian Trail. It was a perfect way to round out the afternoon.
The group confirmed my theory about the appropriate post-apple supper and we all ate heartily. The soon-to-be-hitched got to see their future pasta set and to contemplate glaze choices. It was a truly great day.