I know a lot of writers take advantage of this extra writing day by cranking out as many words as possible, but some of us are taking family time.
While you're reading this and drooling over the recipes I'm about to share, here's where I'll be:
All six of us have the day off, so we're hiking to the top of Harney Peak, the highest mountain between the Rockies and the Pyrenees.
These pictures are from last year's hike - ask me this afternoon if we made it to the top this time!
So, on to the recipes.
It's good to have friends, especially friends with apple trees. My friend Mel gave me this bag of apples last week -
We haven't had a very good year for apples, and these babies weren't grocery-store perfect, but they were oh, so welcome!
So the first thing I did was wash them. No matter where you get your apples, it's important to wash them thoroughly. I wash them three times, transferring them between sinks.
And now for a recipe. These were old fashioned apples, so I pulled out one of my favorite old fashioned cookbooks. This one was published in 1942 by my home denomination's publishing house. I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, a small Anabaptist denomination with the same roots as the Amish and Mennonites, but from Germany rather than Switzerland. I could bore you with all the similarities and differences in the denominations and the history of how my ancestors from the Emmental district of Switzerland ended up in the Brethren Church...but (yawn)...this is a cooking blog.
So anyway - if you notice, this is the Granddaughter's Inglenook Cookbook. The original one was published 1901, and this is the "updated" version. This one assumes the cook has a thermostat on her oven and measuring cups in her cupboard.
I found a recipe for Deep Dish Apple Pudding.
And yes, it's as good as it sounds.
The first step is to peel, core and slice the apples.
This is what the apple looks like after it's gone through the corer-peeler-slicer:
You will need about 8 cups of sliced apples. Put them in a large bowl, and then add 1/2 cup white sugar and cinnamon. The recipe says "cinnamon to taste". I like cinnamon, so I put in one tablespoon, maybe a little more.
Now for the topping. Melt 1/2 cup butter and mix with 1/2 up brown sugar and 1 cup flour. Stir this together until it's smooth. Sprinkle it over the apples.
You can also add 1 cup oatmeal and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the topping to make more of an apple crisp.
And, of course, serve it with ice cream!
Now the Deep Dish Apple Pudding was delicious, but I still had a half-bushel of apples left!
Some of them had rust spots, some had bruises, others were kind of crooked and stumpy - perfect for apple sauce.
Back in the days when we lived in northern Indiana, we lived about a mile from the largest apple orchard in Indiana, Kercher's Sunrise Orchards. I'd stop by there about once a week during September and October and buy seconds - apples that didn't make it through the sorting process - for $11.00 a bushel.
I would make 70 quarts of apple sauce every year. Which brings me to my absolute favorite of all time gadgets: my Victorio Strainer.
There's no way I would attempt 70 quarts of applesauce without this puppy!
Just wait 'til you see this baby at work!
To make applesauce -
Fill a large pot about 2/3 full with water and add 1/2 cup lemon juice.
Quarter your apples, remove the stems and cut out all the bad spots (and watch for worms...).
Cook the apples until they are soft and start swelling (about 1 hour from start to finish - but watch them closely as the end of the hour approaches).
Now it's time for the strainer. Put the apples, a few at a time, in the hopper at the top and turn the crank.
The applesauce comes out here.
The peel and core comes out here.
And we have applesauce! Sweeten to taste!