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A is for Apples: The recipes

This post is for my friend Pat, who loved the pictures of my apple tart and said that I should post the recipe.  So here are my two go-to apple recipes and the rustic apple tart recipe.  Enjoy and please share your pics/comments 🙂

Prince Edward County Apple-Cheddar Soup (Merrill Inn, Picton, Toronto Star 2003)
6 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 MacIntosh apples, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup apple cider
3 cups chicken broth (my vegetarian friend makes this, so swapping for veggie stock works)
2 cups milk (I usually only have skim, maybe why thin?)
2 cups finely grated extra-old cheddar, I do white (I usually add more )
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
  • In a large, non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onion; cook until softened, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add apples; cook until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and nutmeg.  Cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
  • Add cider.  Cook 2 minutes.  Whisk in broth until well blended.
  • Raise heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.  Add milk; return to boil.  Whisk in cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • If smoother texture is desired, puree using hand-held blender, or in batches in food processor or blender.
  • Makes 6 servings (generous ones)
**freezes well though consistency becomes thinner
Apple Crisp (from my mom)
Approx. 4 med-large apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices (baking apples)
*amount of apples depends on size of dish.  All other ingredients should also be scaled to size of dish
For between apple layers:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Topping:
the remaining layer mix +brown sugar to equal 1 cup
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of oats (uncooked)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • Place apple slices so that they fully cover the bottom of the dish.
  • Sprinkle with layer mixture (as generously as you wish)
  • Repeat until top of dish is reached
  • Mix topping mixture together
  • Spread on top of apple slices
  • Bake at 350F for 1 hour
  • serve warm with vanilla ice cream
*alternatives: mix in pears or berries such as blueberries/cranberries (can be frozen)
Rustic Apple Tart (From President’s Choice Food Magazine)
1 package (about 400g) frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refridgerator
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium cooking apples, such as mutsu, rome or spy
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp unpasteurized apple blossom honey or another delicate fruit blossom hony
1 c mascarpone cheese (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large, heavy baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper; set aside.
  • Remove 1 block of puff pastry from the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry until it measures 10 x 10 inches.
  • Using an overturned saucer or small bowl as a guide, cut out 4 circles , each about 4 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Transfer circles to baking sheet, without pinching the edges so that the pastry will puff up evenly.
  • Cover circles loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate.
  • Repeat process with remaining pastry block.  Refrigerate all 8 circles until apples are ready.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; set aside to cool.
  • Peel and core apples.
  • Halve each from top to bottom.  Place halves, cut side down, on a cutting board.
  • With a thin-bladed knife, cut each half into very thin slices.  As you slice, keep the shape of the apple half intact.
  • When each half is sliced, remove pastry circles from refrigerator.
  • Using your palm, press lightly on an apple half, to force the slices to fan out slightly.
  • Slide a metal lifter under the apple and carefully transfer to the centre of the pastry circle.
  • Repeat with remaining circles and fanned apple halves.
  • Without buttering the sides of the pastry, lightly brush apples and pastry edges with melted butter.
  • Evenly sprinkle tarts with granulated sugar; place in centre of oven.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until pastry begins to colour and apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan gently warm 1/4 cup honey over very low heat, watching closely so it does not scorch.
  • Remove tarts from over; brush tops generously with warmed honey.
  • Return tarts to oven; bake another 12-15 minutes, or until honey begins to caramelize and brown patches occur.
  • If desired, place tarts under broiler for a few seconds to caramelize further.
  • Place mascarpone in a small bowl. Drizzle with 3 tbsp honey.
  • Serve warm accompanied with spoonful of honeyed mascarpone.

**Tarts can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time and reheated in a 325F oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.

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A is for Apples

I love apples.  I will eat any dessert if there is apple in it.  My family knows this to the point that my grandmother would make me my very own little apple pie for dessert when we ate at her house.

Lovely apples in their natural habitat

To me, fall means apple picking.  Growing up, my mother’s godparents would drive down from Thunder Bay for a visit and to go apple picking.  We would always go to St. George to Orchard Home Farm.  Living a little too far away now, I am trying to find as good of an orchard (they send you postcards with the picking dates in late summer!).  This year, I went to Albion Orchard in Caledon with my good friend Amy and of course @WineGuyTo.

Our picking day was gorgeous! Bright sunny skies, warm but not hot.  We retrieved 10lb bags from the country market and found out that Ginger Crisp, Paula Red and Macs were pickable.  So off we went!  First though, we had to have some fun in the kid area.  Amy was drawn to this orchard for the wagon rides, but we didn’t see any happening.

Oh no Scooby!

We were maybe a little too tall...

The only problem I had with the orchard was the lack of signage.  I *do* know the difference between apples, but some do look very similar.  Our bags were filled mainly with Macs and Paula Reds and some  Ginger Crisps because there were hardly any on the  trees (though lots in the store).  At $1/lb, picking vs. buying in store was the way to go.

WineGuyTo getting those high up, hard to reach apples.

We came home with about 20lbs of apples, some pickled hot peppers, cider, decorative gourds,  and @WineGuyTo ate some butter tarts as we picked.

So far I have made apple crisp (with blueberries and cranberries) and plan to make apple pie for Thanksgiving, though there are many other possibilites! On a recent Frosting for the Cause: apple honey cupcakes, mmm.  But a must-make: apple cheddar soup and apple cake!  The rest will be eaten daily as part of breakfast/lunch.

Apple crisp about to be eaten

Flaky individual honey apple tarts

Where do you go to pick apples? Which variety is your favourite? I would love to know!

Albion Orchards
Operating Hours are 10am to 6pm Daily Mid August-October 31st
PICK-YOUR-OWN (PYO) & WAGON RIDES WEEKENDS ONLY
November & December: 10am to 6pm Mon-Fri, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
Closing Day: December 23rd
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