Apples! Pumpkins Too!
It’s harvest time at the apple orchards! Funny system we had going… I picked the apples, my husband held the bag, and my son ran around the orchard sampling the apples. It worked quite well… I knew the best apples to pic and I was able to pick 11 pounds of apples with both hands. Teamwork!
We are fortunate to have one a few miles up the road from our home… With blueberries in the spring to apples and pumpkins in the fall.
Last fall, when my family and I ventured to the orchard, it was cold and misty. We ran through the orchard picking apples as fast as we could. Oh, we didn’t mind our numb fingers and wet heads. We had quite an adventure. The apple dumplings that I made later that evening were worth the less than ideal weather we endured.
This fall, the weather was perfect with cool crisp air and plenty of sunshine. We took our time picking Fuji and Enterprise apples along the long rows of apple trees. Many of the apples had fallen to their death, lying helpless prey to the wild critters and pesky bugs. But, as you can see from the pictures, there were still lots of apples on the trees for pick’in. Notice the beautiful mountains (the Ozark National Forrest) behind my husband and me.
Picking Fuji apples
Our bags are full of Enterprise & Fuji apples
Just hanging out… My son spotted and recorded this image of Charlotte.
Do you remember the beloved childhood story Charlotte’s Web? My son and I use to watch it on VHS. (He’s a teenager now, so I’ve retired the movie. But, I do have a grand baby that I’m saving it for). ”The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as “Some Pig”) in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.” She saved Wilbur and made him a local celebrity.
I have been a bit arachnophobia as long as I can remember. Little spiders, big spider (especially big ones), hairy spiders, ALL spiders would cause my heart to race and my skin to crawl. But, there were two spiders that I was taught not to smash with a shoe or clobber with a broom: Writing Spiders and Jumping Spiders. Writing spiders like Charlotte are fascinating and uniquely patterned. They create art within their architecturally designed strength of steel silk webs. Something to be admired, not destroyed. And, jumping spiders (like all spiders) eat pesky insects, so they’re handy to have around. But, they are different… in some innocent way, they aren’t as creepy. I really think I respect them because my momma would say, “Don’t kill it! It’s a good spider.”
Onto The Pumpkin Patch
Ready for pick’in
Image by: My son (He has a pretty good eye.)
The pumpkins were picked for us. All my son had to do was find his favorite one.
So many choices..
My harvest is ready for a transformation
Basket Full Of Enterprise
Peel, Core & Coat
Coat In Sugar Mixture
Cut Pastry and Wrap
Cut Pastry Rounds
Cover Apples In Pastry
Apple Dumplings Are Ready!
Apple Dumplings w/ Caramel Sauce
There’s something magical about picking fresh produce with your family, taking it home and baking something yummy out of it, then sitting down at the dining room table and eating your bounty together.
250 grams all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2 sticks of cold butter
scant 1/4 cup of very cold buttermilk
1 cup of sugar
6 tbsp. of butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tart apples (e.g., granny smith or enterprise)
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Make crust. In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar.
Using your fingers cut in the butter until only small pieces remain.
Pour in the buttermilk, stir w/ a wooden spoon just until it comes together.
Form dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Melt 1 cup of sugar over low heat. Don’t stir the sugar, just let it melt, occasionally pushing on it with the back of a spoon to help the sugar on top get to the bottom. As it gets more melted, you can stir it a bit to help get the chunks out.
When the sugar is melted and nice caramel colored, whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. It will bubble vigorously, so be careful.
Then, add the salt and vanilla.
Remove caramel from heat and slowly whisk in heavy cream. It will bubble, so be careful here as well.
Return pot to heat and simmer. Cook until it reaches 230* on a candy thermometer. Strain into a bowl. and cool.
Heat oven to 450*
In a bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.
Peel the apples and rub them with lemon to keep them from turning brown. (I put lemon juice in a small spray bottle and spritzed them.)
Cut about 1/4″ off the bottom so they sit flat, and core them.
Roll the apples in the sugar mixture to coat them. Roll out the crust on a well floured surface to about 1/8″ thick. If using ready-made crust, be sure to let it sit out to room temperature, then just spread out and cut your rounds.
Cut approximately 5″ x 5″ rounds of dough out for each apple. (Use larger size rounds for bigger apples.)
Before covering apples, put a little bit of the sugar-spice mixture and a half tab of butter into the cavity of each apple. Pull the dough up around the apple, then fold and press down to seal. You can patch the dough with remaining pieces.
Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle the reserved sugar mixture on top of the dough covered apples.
Bake apple dumplings for 10 minutes at 450*, then turn reduce the heat to 350* and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Top with the caramel sauce. Enjoy!
Store bought lemon juice instead of the juice of a lemon
Pillsbury ready-made pie crust
Add ice cream or whip cream.
(Recipes revised from another blog)