Sunday, March 14, 2010

rainy spring days and apples

It's been pouring for days which seems to be bumming everyone else out, but I am loving it. It just feels so cozy-- at least when you don't have to go anywhere. Besides I love excuses to wear my wellies if I did for some reason need to go somewhere. It's also shockingly warm and spring like considering that it wasn't long ago that we were buried under 4 feet of snow. I have been surveying the damage in my garden and so far it looks pretty good. Some of the shrubby stuff was damaged by the weight of the snow but there are buds and bulbs coming up everywhere. Apparently snow actually insulates pretty well. We've had apples from the csa two weeks now and I have been going a bit crazy with the apple desserts. It started with a post on the pioneer woman that made me need to have apple dumplings right that second. In fact I made them in the middle of the night- I teach night classes and get home after 11 pm. They were so good I didn't take any decent pictures before I demolished them. The original recipe calls for pre-made dough and mountain dew and I guess I'm a snob, but I wouldn't drink mountain dew unless it was a matter of life or death. The color alone is enough to give you nightmares. It's phosphorescent. Soda shouldn't emit light-- it just shouldn't. Anyway I digress. I made quite a few ingredient changes and cut way back on the butter, but left the general recipe intact. I think she did warn that they were dangerous in her post-- she was not kidding.

calvados brown sugar apple dumplings
adapted from the pioneer woman

  • 2 whole apples peeled and cut into fat slices
  • puff pastry (I use Nick Malgeri's quick recipe religiously it's really not hard!!)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup calvados (apple brandy)
  • ground cinnamon and clove, to taste
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling (I used brown, but it was too clumpy)

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a rectangle of puff pastry just large enough to wrap all the way around-- it's fine if it's a bit messy this is a homey dessert. Place wrapped slices in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar, vanilla and calvados and stir. Pour the entire mixture over the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cloves and some more sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sticky sauce from the pan over the top.

So then there I was a week later with more csa apples and I really wanted to make more dumplings, but I convinced myself that I needed to make something less fattening and was all ready to make buckwheat crepes when I made the mistake of looking at the pioneer woman's blog again... and there was a recipe for apple fritters and I knew I was doomed. I am going to gain 300 pounds. When I was a kid the only time we had apple fritters was when we went to Larriland Farm during their fall extravaganza with apple picking, hayrides, giant straw maze and of course apple fritters. So they were almost magical to me. So I made them at 11 pm. Whilst half watching top model on tv (which I found hysterical.) I ran out of oil midway through and had to run to the store, but it was worth it. I again made more changes to the recipe than I meant to, but they were awesome. Rosemary and apple is one of my favorite combos.

apple rosemary fritters

adapted from the pioneer woman

  • 2 cups ap flour
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 tbs white sugar
  • 2-¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt (I prefer gray salt)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp minced dried rosemary (use more if fresh)
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • ¾ cups milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 2 whole apples, peeled & diced
  • cinnamon sugar (optional, for dusting)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined (do not overmix.) Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter. You want the apples to shine though!

Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium to medium-high heat. Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, a few at a time. When they start to brown flip them over. Watch them and make sure they don’t get too brown, but cook them long enough to make sure the batter’s cooked through, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes total depending on size. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust generously with cinnamon sugar.

Serve warm... or cold... or any way really.

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