Friday, October 23, 2009


Rusty red and golden brown leaves blanket the ground while tree branches kiss the grass heavy with apples…it is picking season.

Apple picking is a tradition for many New England families, though even in Ohio I remember taking a field trip to the apple orchard. I recently convinced the BF to go to Brooksby farm in Peabody, MA for an afternoon of crisp fall weather with the promise of collecting as many apples as Johnny Apple Seed could carry.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather as we were handed an empty bag and ventured off into the miles of apple trees. We strategically headed away from the little kids running through the orchard and pounding fallen fruit into apple sauce.

Any professional apple picker will tell you that hidden at the back corner of the orchard you will always find the best choices. The largest apples are easy to spot high above little kid reach. We found some extreme apples heading down the farm. Easily larger than my hand, the shiny red fruit begged to be picked. The branches sprung back to life after the weight of the world was lifted and our bag was filled.

With no more room to fill our pockets or bag we headed back to the car until the perfume of apple cider donuts distracted us. The farm store bakes up fresh donuts and pies and if you weren’t hungry before picking you will be once you catch a whiff.

Apple cider donuts are hit or miss with me. If they don’t have enough cinnamon they taste just like cake donuts. The folks at Brooksby know a good apple cider donut. Here is a recipe to make your own.

While apple picking is a great outdoor activity, you do end up with a lot of apples. Trying to figure out inventive ways to use them before they go bad is a skill. There are archives of apple crisp pie and baked apple recipes to choose from. It is easy to be overwhelmed, however the size of the champion apples that we found lent themselves to only one thing apple dumplings.

The Cheesecake Factory serves giant apple dumplings on their menu and I set to making my own. All it takes is peeling, coring the apple and then rolling them in cinnamon and sugar and stuffing the middle with butter. Once this is finished a pie round tucks the apple into a lovely wrap. To cover our Frankenapples it took a nine-inch pie round ...a piece

Once tucked in, the dough is given a wash with egg whites and a sprinkle of sugar and then popped in the oven. It took two days for the BF to eat just one.

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