I absolutely love autumn -- the days are warm, but the night brings a refreshing coolness and there's a hint of wood smoke in the air.
Especially nice though, is that with the fall season comes the apple harvest. When the kids were small we always had at least one visit to a pick-your-own orchard, but now we have the room to plant a few trees of our own. The trees are young, so small harvests for now, but so far we've enjoyed Jonagolds and Cortlands, and are eagerly anticipating the ripening of our Arkansas Blacks (pictured). We hope to branch out (groan!) to include more heirloom varieties in addition to the Albemarle Pippin (which didn't set fruit this year) and the Grimes Golden we also have. Anyone in the central VA region looking for interesting varieties should check out Vintage Virginia Apples -- they're just down the road a piece from us, and are a pleasure to deal with.
Here's a simple, but favorite, recipe for using up some of those luscious apples -- your own, or from a local farm stand/orchard!
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup amaretto (almond liqueur)
- grated rind and juice of 1 orange
- 4 large, firm apples
Combine sugar, amaretto, orange rind and juice in a heavy saucepan. Heat slowly to bubbling. Meanwhile, peel, core and thickly slice apples. As they are sliced, add them to the pan. Simmer until apples are tender and the liquid has reduced.Chill and serve plain, with crème fraîche, or with whipped cream. This recipe is perfect for when you want something a little sweet, but not too heavy. It's from the book Keep It Simple by Marion Burros ©1981.