Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hello Fall


Today is officially the first day of FALL.  When I think about fall, my thoughts are occupied with the leaves changing color, cooler temperature sweeping in, snug sweaters, warm soups, apple picking in Julian, lots of cooking and gatherings.   


Last year, we went apple picking in late October so most of the orchards were closed.


 
This year, we made the trip to Julian a lot earlier to beat the crowd and pick the cream of the crop.  Julian is a historic gold rush mountain town an hour east of San Diego known for its apple crop, cider, and pies from Julian Pie Company.  
 



  
We drove by a few orchards but the dwarf apple trees at Raven Hill Orchard drew us in.  For ten dollars, you get a chance to roam around the orchard, tasting and picking apples at your leisure.  Vu and I appreciated the different varieties and abundance of apples. It took me 2 hours to fill up my bag.  Yes, I was being picky.  Nothing compares to picking fruits right off the trees and sinking your teeth into your hand-picked treasures. 





Tired from being in the sun for the whole morning, we took a short break and indulged in a bit of wine tasting at J. Jenkins Winery and Menghini Winery.   


They both had a great selection of wine—from sparking, dessert, chardonnay, cabernet, to syrah.   


After ten glasses, my taste buds could barely distinguish the different white and red wines but I got a few bottles for Thanksgiving dinner.


Our trip would be incomplete without stopping by Julian Pie Company for some apple pie a la mode.  





It was a perfect ending to our Julian trip.  Both Vu and I agreed that Julian Pie Company makes the best apple pies, even better than Moms.  We cannot wait to bring Betsy next fall!



I put the apples to good use by making Vu's favorite pie.  APPLE PIE.  Instead of making the original apple pie, I made the Dutch apple pie, which has a sweet crumb top.   



I used a combination of Empire, Jonagold, and Granny Smith apples.   



Spending my morning making the crumb crust by hand, peeling and chopping apples was quite relaxing.  The tasks are repetitive but therapeutic.   





About 30 minutes into baking, the kitchen was filled with the aroma of melted butter, apples bursting with juices mixed in with cinnamon.  Even Betsy's nose was going crazy!  






I was too impatient to wait for Vu so I cut a slice and topped it homemade vanilla ice cream that I'll share in another post. 





I loved the crunchy, crumbly top, and tartness of the apple sweetened by brown sugar.   


Hot apple pie.  Melting ice cream.  The combination was delightful. 


It was a perfect start to fall.    





Dutch Apple Pie (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)   

1 almond crumb crust (recipe below)
2 ½ lbs assorted apples (Macoun, Cortland, Jonagold, Empire, Rome, Granny Smith)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup brown sugar (more if you like your apple pie a little sweeter)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Evenly and firmly press a little more than half of the crumbs into the bottom, up the sides, and onto the rim of a 9-inch pie dish.  Freeze pie shell until firm, about 15 minutes.
3. Line the pie shell with parchment paper.  Fill with baking weights (you can use rice or beans if you do not have any baking weights) and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Let the pie shell cool while you prepare the apple filling.
5. Peel, core, and cut the apples into ¼ inch thick slices.
6. In a large bowl, toss together apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
7. Pour the apple mixtures into the pie shell and dot with butter.
8. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the apples to cover completely.
9. Bake until the crust turns golden and the juices being to bubble, about 1 hour.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
11. When ready to serve, cut a small slice and top with vanilla ice cream.






Almond Crumb Crust


1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond meal (grounded almond)
½ cup sugar
1 stick butter

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, and sugar.
2. Using your fingers, fold the butter into the flour-almond mixture to form coarse crumbs.

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thank you Maria! I hope you try the recipe!

      Delete
  2. Made this tonight. I used an already made grahmn cracker crust and added the extra brown sugar. I did let it cook for a while longer but it did turn out yummy. Will be my go to recipe. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to try the Graham cracker crust next time!

      Delete
  3. Hi! I found your site while researching Julian. Your pictures are so beautiful! I love seeing the different varieties of the Julian apples on the tree.
    Donna On Palawan @ Quintessential San Diego From A to Z

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi Donna! Thank you for stopping by. Julian is a hidden gem!

    ReplyDelete