The weather is just beginning to change and in the early morning air there is a hint of fall. I love this time of year. When I leave for work in the morning, I close my eyes and take a deep breath of cool, desert air and I am taken back to my childhood and the rituals we performed each autumn. I grew up in New England. Although my home was outside of Boston, I called New England home because frankly, it was small enough to go just about anywhere in a few hours. Nothing like the west where you can drive for two days and still be in the same state!
For me, the autumnal excursion to the apple orchard was the best activity of the season. In the orchard, apple trees were neatly planted in rows, each row a different species. My favorites were Cortlands (similar to a macintosh). As you picked, you also took advantage of tasting them to make sure, of course, that they were at their perfect ripeness. Loaded with bags of yummy apples, we’d return home to make pies, apple sauce and baked apples with cinnamon and raisins. Here’s how we’d make stove top ‘baked’ apples:
4 macintosh apples, cored
4 tbls sugar (white or brown sugar)
2 tbls raisins
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup water (you can use apple juice or white wine instead of the water for more flavor)
Place the cored apples in a sauce pan with a lid. Mix the sugar, raisins and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into the center of the apple where the core has been removed. Add the liquid and cover with the lid. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender. Make sure you check the pan periodically to make sure the liquid has not completely evaporated. If it’s getting low, add a bit more water to ensure there is a ½ inch of liquid around the bottom of the apples.
These can be served warm with a bit of loosely whipped cream or even better, vanilla ice cream (yum!).