It’s apple season, and I’m looking at a bowl beaming with red.
I’ve stopped buying apples at the grocery store. As a fruit, they have a bad rap, continuously ending up on the “most contaminated fruits and vegetables” lists. Indeed, they’re susceptible to disease and insects seem to love them. Conventional ones are therefore highly sprayed and full of pesticide residue – not what we want in our house.
Instead, I buy apples at our local farmers’ market. Yes, this is where I buy just about everything we eat, but unlike some items, I never make an exception with apples. This means, I don’t eat them all year long – only when they’re in season, and grown locally. To get through our front door, they must also be “bio” or “éco-responsable”. Otherwise, I simply go without.
Like I said, it’s apple season. So, I’m sitting here looking at a colorful, yet slightly awkward, bowl of apples. Some are on the smaller side, while others are quite large. A handful look like they’re in a good mood, plump and cheerfully round. Others, with their lopsided faces and daffy dimples, look a little confused, wondering what they’re doing in our living-room. One apple appears to be in a particularly bad mood, squished down flat and pouting. Then there’s the sparkling apple that looks like a good fairy, and the elongated one that reminds me of a warlock. They all have marks of imperfection – dry spots, insect holes, scabs from crummy weather – and the bowl is a jumble of color – red, yellow, brown. The common trait: each apple is succulent and tastes the way apples should. Sadly, such a “perfect” bowl of apples is becoming all too rare.
There are hundreds of different varieties of apples, and two have been on my favorite list these past few weeks. I’ve been crunching “rubinettes” like they’re going out of style. I either chop them up in a bowl of plain yogurt or eat them just as they are. This variety is slightly tart and has a crisp texture. I’ve also been buying an apple called “monidel” for compotes and pies. This particular variety is sweet and “melts” as it cooks.
Last week, I tried my hand at apple pie. I made individual pies using small ramekins and 100% spelt crust. This recipe is for 2 small pies. If you have extra dough, you can roll it out, sprinkle it with sugar/cinnamon and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and cute into small pieces – delicious!
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) spelt flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) salted butter (chilled)
very cold milk (roughly four spoonfuls)
For the filling:
1 apple (cut into small to medium-sized squares)
a few raisins
1. Make the dough by combining flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Cut butter into flour (small cubes) and mix with your fingers until the butter has taken the shape of very small rounds and is well-mixed with the flour.
3. Add a few spoonfuls of milk, less rather than more, and pat the dough together with your palms. Be careful not to overwork the dough. If you have the right amount of liquid, it should all come together in a (not-so-smooth) mound of dough.
4. Pat (don’t roll) directly into the ramekins (bottoms and sides).
5. Fill with the apples, some raisins, a squeeze of lemon, sugar (optional) and some cinnamon.
6. Add a layer of crust on top and sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180°C / 350°F.
8. Serve warm with a spoonful of fromage blanc or crème fraîche.