Four delicious ways to enjoy fall apples
It’s a windy, rainy Saturday at Jim and Barb Lindemann’s Cider House of Wisconsin apple orchard on the south-east side of Dane County. Two hundred trees dotting the rolling farmland form a green canopy in some places. Nestled within the branches of the fruit trees are homegrown apples, soon to be turned into delicious juice, cider and brandy. This orchard is small by Wisconsin apple-growing standards, and certainly dwarfed by Washington’s thousand-acre giants, but the Lindemanns are among several local growers making it easier for the public to partake in apple season. Then comes the fun challenge—deciding how you want to enjoy the crispy, juicy fruit.
SLICE IT UP
The name says it all. The Honeycrisp apple’s sweet, juicy crunch makes it one of the most popular eating apples in the history of apple cultivation and “almost single-handedly changes consumers’ taste for apples,” says Andy Ferguson, president of Wisconsin Apple Growers Association and a second-generation apple grower who owns about 100,000 apple trees in western Wisconsin. The ability of this designer apple to tolerate harsh Midwest winters has made it a staple in almost every orchard around Wisconsin, including Ferguson’s.
BAKE WITH IT
The best baking apple should hold up under heat and offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors. That makes the Granny Smith the go-to; it has a sharp flavor and firm flesh that withstands baking or caramelizing. Or consider the Pink Lady, Braeburn, Cortland or Haralson.
Bowen Close, the 2015 Best of Madison winner for her blog Bowen Appétit, shares
a favorite apple recipe:
Apple Rum Cake
8 tbsp. butter
4 large apples
¾ cup flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and then flour the inside of a 8- or 9-inch cake pan. Cut butter into small pieces and melt in the microwave. Set aside. Peel and core the apples, chop into 1½-inch cubes. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs until slightly foamy. Whisk sugar, rum and vanilla into the eggs. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in half of the flour mixture, then half of the melted butter, then
the remaining flour, then the remaining butter. Fold in the apple pieces until well coated.
Pour apples and batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate the cake halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan since apple pieces can easily stick to the sides. Invert onto a plate or cutting board.
Makes roughly eight servings. This cake keeps well at room temperature for up to three days (and in fact gets better as it sits), covered with a clean kitchen or tea towel.
DRINK IT IN
Enjoy crisp fruit flavor with an apple-infused drink.
Cider House of Wisconsin’s Pooch: This semi-sweetcider made in McFarland is an exquisite blend of antique apples—the Roxbury, Dabinett and Westfield—that offers a smooth, sweet flavor. We love it paired with homemade apple doughnuts from a local orchard.
Mad Maiden Shrub drinking vinegar: Made from organic apples straight from Wisconsin orchards, this refreshing mixer is perfect for a warm day. Mix it with gin or moscato, or go for a nonalcoholic blend of one part shrub to four parts water with a bit of honey or sugar.
Seattle Cider’s Three Pepper cider: Yes, it’s a Washington-based company, but they’ve recently brought their unexpected ciders to thirteen local stores in the Madison area. The limited edition Three Pepper is a symphony of ingredients you might raise an eyebrow at—poblano, habanero and jalapeño peppers—that
goes great with chips and guacamole.
Yahara Bay Distillers’ Apple Brandy: It’s made right here in Madison from Honeycrisp apples picked at their peak and distilled in the Calvados style, which gives this deep amber-colored spirit the body of brandies ten years its senior. Serve it with bitters, maple syrup and citrus accents for a warm-you-up drink.
PICK YOUR OWN
Take a fall field trip for some apple picking, cider, donuts and maybe a hayride at one of these area orchards.
THE APPLEBERRY FARM
8079 Maurer Rd., Cross Plains, 798-2780
DOOR CREEK ORCHARD
3252 Vilas Rd., Cottage Grove, 838-4762
2227 Fitchburg Rd., Fitchburg, 845-5966
EUGSTER’S FARM MARKET AND PETTING FARM
3865 WI-138, Stoughton, 873-3822
GREEN’S PLEASANT SPRINGS ORCHARD
2722 Williams Dr., Stoughton, 873-4096
JERRY’S APPLES AND FARM MARKET
2608 Highway T, Sun Prairie, 837-9860
N. 1959 Kroncke Rd., Poynette, 635-4780
175 Drammen Valley Rd., Mount Horeb, 523-1163
6680 Red Stone Lane, Verona, 845-9351
SUTTER’S RIDGE FAMILY FARM
2074 Sutter Dr., Mount Horeb, 832-6445