Few of us are fortunate enough to have an apple orchard defining the perimeter of our property. But a Lodi friend, whose Gala trees – Buckeye Galas to be exact – grow tall and vigorous is quick to share a bushel right before harvest! I know I surprised her the other day, when I reached for the ones on the ground and designated them for applesauce. Lessons from my past came shining through: use as much of the garden bounty as possible. Growing up we had Pippin apple trees in our backyard. The fall season meant picking apples from the tree to store for winter eating and picking apples that had fallen to the ground to make into chunky applesauce and pies, which also meant plenty of practice sessions learning how to make flaky pie crusts.
My dad knew full well that a sliced apple placed on a plate gets eaten ten times faster than a whole one sitting in a fruit bowl! He was very proud of his garden and eagerly cut and peeled apples for us to enjoy. Every weekend, he would work outside, both days/all day, spading, tending, grafting, watering, pruning and picking. And now at 88 years old brags that this has been the best form of exercise.
Easier than pie, Apple Crumbles are just as tasty! Here’s a simple recipe that I love to slip into an oven that has been working overtime on baked chicken, roast vegetables, cookies, etc. I often bake two at a time – one for my family and the other for a house-bound friend.
Harvest Apple Crumble
4-6 large apples, rinsed, peeled and sliced thin.
1/4 cup Port or Dry Sherry or Marsala
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour or gluten free flour mix
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup butter, (1/2 stick) cut into fourths
Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease or butter a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.
Layer sliced apples in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with Port, Dry Sherry or Marsala, sugar and cinnamon.
Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and “cut in” with 2 knives or a pastry blender until it is crumbly and the butter pieces are the size of peas.
Spread topping evenly over apples. Bake, uncovered, 45 to 50 minutes until top is light brown and the apples are tender when pricked with a fork. Serve warm with a generous scoop of vanilla or caramel-swirl ice cream. Cook, Eat, Laugh…Claudia.