A Fall Favorite: Apples!
By Chef Julie Wilson
From Gala to Pink Lady, Macintosh to Fuji, the apple is a September staple. This month screams apples—going apple picking; or what I like to call an excuse to buy apple donuts; giving your favorite teacher an apple as you start back up with school; although, no one really does that anymore; or the classic standby of baking apple pie and bread; that’s something you can’t avoid. And why would you want to—apples can be delicious in any dish—sweet or savory. “Tis the season for apples!
Let’s say you just stopped by your favorite farm, hopped on a hayride, drank a few gallons of cider, and picked the perfect bunch of apples. What’s your next move? Save some for the kids’ school snacks—cut them up and pair them with peanut butter. Make yourself a snack—ever heard of apple crumble? Share them with friends over dinner—an eight-inch pie isn’t exactly single-serving size. This orchard is filled with endless recipes. Let’s meander through to find our all-apple menu.
Start with the starter, like I always say. Actually, start with dessert is more accurate, but let’s follow the rules, shall we? We’re kicking this menu off with a bit of green to brighten up your palette and set yourself up to welcome even more colorful flavors. Kale isn’t everyone’s favorite, but when paired with goat cheese, fennel, and apples (of course) you honestly can’t go wrong. The complementary nature of these flavors is an explosion of taste.
Kale and Goat Cheese Salad with Apple and Fennel
1 large bunch of kale
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 medium Honeycrisp apple
1 medium bulb of fennel
3 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (to yield about ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese)
⅓ cup dried cranberries
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the kale: Use a chef’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard the ribs. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chopped kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and with gloved hands, massage the leaves by scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color, softer and have dropped in yield by at least half.
To toast the pepitas: In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the nuts, tossing frequently, until fragrant and starting to make little popping noises, about 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a bowl to cool.
Dice the apple into ½-inch, pieces. Use a chef’s knife or mandoline to shave the fennel as thin as possible.
In a medium sized bowl, place lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, Dijon and salt and whisk together. While whisking vigorously, add in the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until emulsified. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Transfer the prepared apple and fennel to the salad bowl and toss with vinaigrette.
Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Roughly chop the cranberries and add them to the bowl. Sprinkle over toasted pepitas and serve.
What usually goes with a salad? You guessed it—a basket of bread. This one isn’t a traditional bread, but where’s the fun in that? We want apples! And apples we will have—flavorful and spiced with cinnamon, mixed with brown sugar, and even paired with walnuts. This decadent bread will be difficult to put down, but you have to save room for the main course.
Cinnamon Crumb Surprise
(Adapted from The Bread Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum)
Crumb Topping & Filling
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¾ cup walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a food processor pulse sugars, nuts and cinnamon until nuts are coarsely chopped. Remove ½ cup and set aside. Add flour, butter and vanilla to remainder and pulse briefly until butter is absorbed. Chill in fridge for 20 minutes.
Apple Filling and Butter
1 small tart apple
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
½ cup sour cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups cake flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven 350°.
Cut apple into ¼” slices and toss with lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine egg, yolks, ¼ cup of sour cream and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
In a standing-mixer bowl combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. On low speed mix for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter, remaining sour cream and blend until dry ingredients are moistened. Gradually add egg mixture in 2 batches.
Scrape about ⅔ of the batter into 9×5 greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with reserved ½ cup of crumb topping. Layer the apples in 2 rows overlapping slices. Dollop the remaining batter onto the apples and spread evenly. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.
And what exactly is that main course? Pork. Did you think we’d skip the classic pork and apple duo? Of course not. Pork chops and apple sauce were once the height of food fashion in every kitchen, but since then has faded into the background. We’ve resurrected this throwback and taken it to new heights—it’s not too pretentious though, still harkening back to its roots. When a pair is as flavorful together as these two are, there’s no point in trying to hide the love.
Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Sauce
1 ½ cups apple cider
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pork tenderloins (1 to 1 ¼ lbs each), trimmed of fat and silver skin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 large shallots, minced (about ½ cup)
1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored, peeled, and diced ¼ inch
¼ cup Calvados or apple-flavored brandy
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the reduction: Simmer the cider, broth, vinegar, and cinnamon stick together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to approximately 1 cup, about 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and reserve the cider mixture until ready to finish the sauce.
For the pork: With paper towels, pat pork dry. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the tenderloins and sear for 2-3 minutes, or until well caramelized. With tongs, rotate loin to get 3 sides seared in total.
Remove pork from sauté pan and set on a sheet tray. While the sauté pan is still hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and melt. Add the shallots and apple and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, add the Calvados. Return the skillet to medium heat and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add the reserved cider mixture, any accumulated pork juices from the pan, and thyme. Stir ingredients together well. Nestle tenderloins into the mixture and place a lid on the sauté pan. Reduce heat to low and continue to gently cook for 7-10 minutes or internal temperature registers 135 to 140 degrees. Once pork has reached the correct temperature, remove from pan onto a platter and tent with tin foil. Increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer sauce until thickened.
Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl. To serve pork, slice thin on the bias, and serve with sauce.
Finally, we’ve arrived at my favorite part of the meal—dessert. The apple cuts through the almond cake for a sharp shock of flavor that hits your senses. Topping it all off is the maple whipped cream, complementing the compote, and leaving you wanting seconds.
Almond Cake with Apple Compote and Maple Whipped Cream
2 ounces flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
9 ounces marzipan
3 ½ ounces butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Sift together the flour and the baking powder and set aside.
In the mixer, using the paddle attachment, soften the marzipan, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition. Mix on medium speed for approximately 10 minutes. Fold in the flour to the marzipan mixture until blended and then fold in the melted butter until just mixed.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and fill two 8-inch rings ¾ full of batter. Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with a spoonful of apple compote and a dollop of maple whipped cream.
6 Granny Smith Apples
2 ounces butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 TBS cornstarch mixed with 1 TBS cold water
Calvados to taste
Peel, core, and chop the apples. Heat a large skillet over high heat, add the butter. When the butter begins to sizzle add the apples and sauté. When the apples are halfway cooked, add the sugars and caramelize the apples. Add in the cornstarch mixture, cook 1 minute or until thickened. Season the apples with cardamom, nutmeg, and Calvados to taste. Remove the apples from the heat and set aside.
MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM:
2 cups heavy cream
Grade B maple syrup
Whip the heavy cream to the soft plop stage. Add in maple syrup to taste. Whip to medium stiff peaks. Chill until ready to serve.
But the real pièce de résistance is the final dessert. More than one dessert? Yes, obviously. We couldn’t leave here without this one… the apple pie! It has it all—double crust, cheddar cheese, and granny smith apples. The most famous and lauded pie in the land has its rightful place as the final food you savor in this meal. Apples and pies have been going together since what feels like the dawn of time.
Double Crust Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust
(Adapted from The Farmhouse Rules: The Food Network)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons ice water
4oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Combine flour and salt on countertop. Add butter, cut into 1 inch pieces. Rub butter and flour between fingertips until the butter is approximately pea-sized. Add shredded cheddar cheese. Using fingers, form a “trough” lengthwise (vertically) through flour mixture. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, and fluff it with your fingertips until large lumps form and the pastry is blended. Gather the dough together and flatten the dough with the heel of your hand so that the butter will layer between the flour (fraisage). Rotate dough and repeat once again. Form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes.
2 pounds (about 4 good-sized) Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 pounds Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, sliced into pats
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tbsp brown (or turbinado) sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine the Granny Smith apples, Gala apples, sugar, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Roll out the first dough round for the bottom of your pie (as prepared above) and place in your dish.
Add the apples in an even layer. Add the butter pats on top of the apples. Lightly brush the edges of the crust with egg wash. Next, roll out the second dough round, slightly larger than the first. Cover the top of the apples with the second pie dough, pressing the edges to seal the crust. Trim the crust. Crimp the edges.
Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Make 4-5 air slits in the center of the pie. Place the pie on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes longer. Add additional cheddar cheese on top during the last 10-15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours before tearing into it with your excited family or friends. Or even yourself.
Seasons come and go, but the apple endures. We’re happy to celebrate this fantastic fruit in any dish. Our Recreational classes and Private Events have it peppered throughout. Maybe that’s because it’s universally loved. Even those who aren’t the biggest apple fans might dare to try a dessert—sugar and spice really do make everything nice. Whoever you are—apple lover or hater or indifferent to them—give the fruit a try. Think creatively and put together your own fall feast! Or come and visit us—we’re pretty handy in the kitchen.