We went apple picking over the long weekend with our friends to the Showwalter's Orchard in Virginia. It probably wasn't the most idyllic weather to be picking fruit or for that matter even walking around in the rain, especially if you have a long holiday. The weather had suddenly dropped to the lower 50's and it had rained quite a bit the night before. We still had a continuous drizzle of rain but despite all this it was still so much fun. We came back with about a 100lbs of apples of all sorts of colors, shapes, and varieties. I picked some huge pumpkins, large enough to replace the ab's ball at my gym (despite my fortuitous find, I am still sticking with the lighter ball at the gym for my workouts).
One of the fun parts of this trip was the apple cider tasting. This was my first apple cider tasting and if you are like me and thought this might taste sweet and fruity like apple juice then you are in for a bit of a surprise. Cider based alcohol tastes like a cross between wine and beer. The bottles we tried had a bit of mild effervescence and some interesting notes. One of them particularly stood out with an instantaneous hint of a mild blue cheese. Fascinated and intrigued, I picked up two varieties of the cider. I think I might have a future recipe under my sleeve to infuse with some of these unique and delicious ciders.
Until now, I had never tried an apple brown Betty. It is absolutely delicious and easy to make. I made it right after we got back from our fruit endeavors. There are a few changes that I made to the original recipe, for one I bumped up the amount of nutmeg and also added in a little bit of sweet apple cider to give the Betty a little more flavor and syrup. One of the main reasons why I love this dessert is its rustic simplicity and the lack of an overly sweet backgrounds brings out the fruity flavors of the apple. This dessert tastes delicious at any temperature and you can also start your day with it with some whipped Greek yogurt on the side. This recipe was adapted from Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Dessert cookbook.
apple brown betty redux
yields: 6 servings
yields: 6 servings
1 1/4 pounds firm apples (I used a mix of Fuji and Gala apples)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a small mixing bowl, toss the crushed crackers and sugar together.
3. Wash, peel, and core the apples. Chop the apples into 1 inch chunks.
4. Toss the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cracker mix together into a rectangular baking pan. Place the pan in the oven at bake for 15 minutes.
5. After the apples have baked for 15 minutes remove the pan from the oven.
6. Pour the melted butter onto the rest of the cracker mixture and mix well.
7. Drizzle the apple cider over the baked apples.
8. Sprinkle the rest of the butter and cracker mixture evenly over the fruit.
9. Turn the oven temperature to 400F. Bake the fruit again for another 20 minutes. The apple brown betty is done when the juices of the fruit are bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
10. Serve hot, warm, or cold. You can also serve this with chilled Greek yogurt for breakfast.