Saturday, October 17, 2009

Apples to Apples

If you believe what they say about me you’ll know that I moved out here for the fruit trees and and the pool. The house that came with them was just a bonus :) For the past two months or so we’ve been watching the apples ripen on the wonderful old trees here. The larger is a Golden Delicious—the apples start out tiny and purple, turn red as they grow, and eventually ripen into very sweet, golden-yellow apples early in September. The other, slightly smaller tree somehow gives the impression of greater age. These apples start out hard and green, and ripen, a little later in the season, to a bright, almost unlikely pinkish-red. Not quite as sweet, they have a very crisp and bright flavor. I prefer the red ones for eating; the yellow are great for baking and drying.

Last year a friend from London was visiting just as the yellow apples started raining down and revealed a love of apple crumbles—what, on this side of the planet, we call an apple crisp. I put this recipe together for her. The topping is especially yummy.

Carmel Valley Apple-berry Crumble

4-6 medium apples
1 cup blueberries* 
1 cup cranberries*                                                                   (*If using dried berries, soak in warm water until soft. Drain off any excess liquid before using.)
Lemon juice

1 ½ cups oatmeal
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 cup flour
¾ cups butter
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and slice apples—enough to cover the bottom of a 9”x13” baking pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle apple slices with lemon juice (and 1 tablespoon sugar, if desired. I don’t add any sugar—those yellow apples are very sweet!) 

Sprinkle mixed berries evenly over apples.

Using a pastry blender, cut all other ingredients together to form moist crumbs. Distribute crumbs evenly over top of fruit mixture.

Bake approximately 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Especially yummy served with cream!                                       (TIP—let HaagenDaaz Vanilla Bean ice cream melt to form a rich vanilla cream sauce.)