Somehow, my parents have managed to turn a one story, suburban Orange County home into a beach town mini-farm. Citrus trees, apple trees, a garden of herbs and veggies, a bay leaf tree bigger than my stupid city apartment, flowers, homemade sausage, vinegars and beautiful handcraftedfurniture that my dad makes in the garage. Whenever I visit, I spend a lot of time sitting the back patio, staring at their small pond and sighing to myself about my dirty white carpet, electric stove and monthly rent that is higher than their mortgage. I do, however, also get to reap a few benefits from their luscious harvests, including a few pounds of these beautiful apples:
Look at the varied colors and stripes. So pretty!
Last weekend, they sent me home with a couple pounds of these ladies. I was undecided about what I wanted to do – first I was going to make a jalapeno-mint-apple jelly, but I don’t really use jelly. I could make one or two pieces of toast, use it to experiment with an apple glaze for pork, can it and use it for x-mas gifts and thanksgiving din-din (uh, now that I think about it, actually, I have more uses than I though. Dammit!) I also thought of pies and crisps and having a pie party, or giving apple butter a try. In the end though, I decided on apple sauce. I’m not big into eating apple sauce, but I’d never made it before and I’m always up for something new. My parents have so many apples they don’t know what to do with them, so my dad makes apple sauce a couple times a month (seriously, they have that many) and gave me his recipe; I don’t know what they do with it all. I followed his instructions, but added vanilla and butter and used lemon zest instead of orange juice. I think the orange juice would be super yummy, but I didn’t have any oranges on hand. If you want to do it with orange, leave out the lemon zest and substitute with the juice of half a large orange just toward the end of cooking (no seeds, please). Another option for adding orange is to zest a bit on top of the finished dessert. The crumbled cookies are meant to replace the crust, so treat them as such, distributing it so you get a little bit in every bite and by all means, don’t be afraid to put some under the sauce and ice cream itself.
The absolute worst part of this recipe is that you most definitely have to peel and core the apples. I know it sucks, but just turn on an episode of Real Housewives or some other bullshit garbage and you’ll be done before the drunken bitch slapping turns into Teresa cutting her children with shards of broken martini glasses for the life insurance money. If you don’t have an apple corer, just cut the meat of it off the core into cubed chunks.
Deconstructed Apple Pie
For the sauce, you will need:
this many apples
(that’s about two lbs, peeled, cored and diced large)
a little water in the bottom of the pot
2.5 sticks of cinnamon, broken in half
1/3 cup brown sugar
bout a heaping T of butter
cap full o f vanilla
heavy handed pinch of salt
zest of one limon
1. Put about 1/3 cup of water in the bottom of a decent sized pot and add all the peeled, cored, and diced apples; place over medium-high heat, cover tightly.
2. When the apples start to soften (5-7 minutes) add broken cinnamon sticks, vanilla, salt and butter, stir often to keep the bottom from burning, keeping covered when you’re not stirring.
3. Toward the end of cooking (15 minutes) when the apples are really soft, add lemon zest and start smashing with a potato masher.
4. Take it off heat and continue smashing til it reaches the desired consistency (I recommend fairly lumpy).
For the rest of the dessert, you will need:
Delicious vanilla ice cream Cinnamon graham crackers or some other kind of thin, crunchy, crispy wafer-like cookie
Serve the sauce warm off the stove with a scoop of cold ice cream, crumble some cookie over top, and one or two whole cookie/cracker.
*note: you can easily substitute butter for earth balance (not margarine!) to make the apple sauce vegan, and substitute the ice cream for vegan ice cream.