The Last Harvest

21 Oct

Apples are the last crop to harvest. Even with just a few trees to pick this year, we were overwhelmed with the amount of apples we had to play with. We kept a few coolers full of the unbruised ones which will be so tasty to eat throughout the next few seasons. With the rest we made over 15 gallons of cider, approximately a gazillion pints of applesauce and a dozen pints of apple butter. Rest assured, if you invite me over for dinner in the near future, you will receive some sort of apple product in return.

Even after all that, we still have buckets and buckets of apples to use up – so I think we will be donating those to Maya’s school and to Finnriver for their “backyard” brew.

Our storage shelf where all the foods that I have preserved this summer/fall sit is now completely full. Not a space left for any other substance. Not to mention the freezer! We now have rows and rows of applesauce, apple butter, green beans, pickled green beans, pickles, tomato sauce and gallons upon gallons of frozen blueberries, raspberries, apple pie filling, blackberries and strawberries. It will be so nice to have these flavors available to us throughout the winter and spring. This winter will give me some time to research additional methods of preserving and perhaps adding some new items to our list – I am eager to try making our own vinegars – balsamic and apple cider. I also just read an article about how dandelions are actually quite beneficial and we are not in short supply of those around here – how cool would it be to learn how to prepare weeds as health food?

Below is a recipe I will be making time and time again this winter…

French Apple Cake
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

3/4 cup (110g) flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples (a mix of varieties)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.

2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter

6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.

8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.

Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.

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