Fall is apple season in New England and at our house that means a few things.
Most importantly, CIDER DONUTS. If you don’t live here and have never experienced a still warm, sugar coated cider donut at an orchard, I’m sorry for you. We have several apple orchards within a few miles of us that offer these. Very dangerous! They are one of life’s best little pleasures. We try to do some actual apple picking instead of JUST stopping into the store to eat the donuts…that way we can sort of justify the calorie intake…okay, I know we are delusional, but have you tried them??? Thank goodness the season of cider donut temptation is short!
Second, because we ostensibly went apple picking (Truth: we were really there for the donuts), we now have bags full of apples. Freshly picked apples are amazing, but one can only eat so many…so what to do with the rest?
We like to use some to make this amazing mile high apple pie from a recipe in the Cold Weather Cooking cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase for Neiman Marcus Apple Pie (we also like to brush heavy cream and sprinkle on a dusting of sparkling sugar prior to baking for a sweet crunchy crust, just because). It is, by far, the BEST apple pie recipe I have ever made, and I have tried quite a few variations. And if the way it disappears is any indication, I am not alone in this assessment…
A few, we might turn into caramel and chocolate dipped apples…the variety of gourmet toppings are endless, but my favorites are chocolates and nuts!
And the rest will definitely be happily preserved in spiced apple brandy…The original recipe came from a John Hadmuscin cookbook that I have somehow misplaced, so now I make it up sort of from memory...this involves a couple of bottles of brandy, a bottle of white wine and some sugar simmered with a pile of apple slices and spices until the sugar dissolves and then stored in a large glass jar for a few weeks to steep. The liquid is then strained and makes a pretty gift - just in time for the holidays - packaged in decorative bottles. It is a delightful dessert cordial, or a wonderful ingredient for cooking (it makes a great base for a sauce for chicken or pork!). And the remaining tipsy apples make a very happy ice cream topping!
Happy Apple Picking Season!