#202 : Apples, Apples, Apples
Three recipes for the apple harvest including Louisa May Alcott's favorite apple slump.
As you know, the big cider pressing was two weeks ago but there were still apples on one of my trees plus it was a banner year for my Aromatnaya quince tree that provided over one hundred pounds of fruit! I picked and picked and when I could pick no more, I called in the gleaners. A lovely family came who was really happy to harvest what was left. Gotta love how a grassroots community thread connects.
With so many apples on hand, I’ll be making lots of creations this month. Today I’m sharing three recipes that use them.
Louisa May Alcott’s Apple Slump from the American Heritage Cookbook (1964)
Molasses-Apple Spice Cake
Apples Baked with Cider and Blackberry Jam
Be sure to check out Newsletter Issue #37 for a big list of apples and their culinary characteristics and when they are ripe.
And lest I forget, I want to be sure to let you know that the final virtual class of the year is coming up on December 10. We’ll be making Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Pie. I created this pie in honor of my mom who absolutely loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Be sure to register now at the link below.
Now it’s on to apple time!
O down in the orchard
‘Tis harvesting time
And up the tall ladders
The fruit pickers climb.
Among the green branches
That sway overhead
The apples are hanging
All rosy and red.
Just ripe for the picking,
All juicy and sweet!
So pretty to look at
And lovely to eat!
—a poem by Helen Leuty
“Jo! Jo! Where are you?” cried Meg at the foot of the garret stairs.
“Here!” answered a husky voice from above, and, running up, Meg found her sister eating apples and crying over the Heir of Redclyffe, wrapped up in a comforter on an old three-legged sofa by the sunny window. This was Jo’s favorite refuge, and here she loved to retire with half a dozen russets and a nice book, to enjoy the quiet and the society of a pet rat who lived near by and didn’t mind her a particle.
Maybe you already knew, but I had no idea that Louisa May Alcott, the beloved author of Little Women, named her house in Concord, Massachusetts, “Apple Slump.” I found this sweet little tidbit on one of my rabbit-hole excursions. The house she lived in was known as "Orchard House” because of the 40 apple trees on the land where it sat. As many of the trees leaned, or slumped, she gave the house the nickname, “Apple Slump.” I also learned that she dearly loved the New England dessert of the same name that was popular at that time so that may have had something to do with the house being called that, too. Below is the recipe for Apple Slump and I have no idea if it is the exact one she enjoyed. As a slump is so easy, I imagine that it is pretty close to it. I wonder if her neighbors, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson, had any shared with them.
Louisa May Alcott’s Apple Slump with New England Nutmeg Sauce
Recipe from The American Heritage Cookbook (1964)
6 cups apples, pared, cored, and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk (about)
Combine apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Heat to the boiling point. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Drop dough from tablespoon onto apple mixture. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Serve warm with New England Nutmeg Sauce or rich cream. Serves 6.
Mix together 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Stir is 1 cup boiling water and cook, stirring constantly, until sace bubbles and thickens slightly. Add 1 tablespoon butter and summer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Serve hot.
Molasses-Apple Spice Cake
This is really good served warm with a custard sauce poured over the top.
What You Will Need