Some of you might recall that I recently made a trek out to the coast to retrieve an abundance of apples from my dearest friend Conny, who is off to South America for the next two months, rendering her impossibly able to take advantage of her own harvest. Happily and ever so gratefully I gathered the above, from a number of trees (lucky me!). Upon returning they were placed in two large bowls on the kitchen table, a harkening and beckoning towards the abundance of fall–and to productivity in the kitchen! Now what to do??
First on the agenda was to bring the dehydrator in from out in the storage shed and to set to cutting and peeling a few dozen apples. Each slice I dipped in lemon water, then stacked them on ten trays in the dehydrator where they stayed for a good eight hours or so.
And this was the ultimate result.
Oh, I love having these around at this time of year! They are such a delicious, healthy snack, and while they are, indeed, time consuming, the entire process fosters the trend so many of us are returning to–eating locally, and preparing our own foods. Not only are we going to save a bundle, we are honoring the food which (honestly?) frequently goes unharvested and unused, for many good reasons. And as if that were not enough, we are lowering our carbon footprint, as no trucks were needed to bring me apples from afar. No, indeed. I love this!
But I had more apples to take advantage of. I needed to get both practical and more creative. So early this morning I took on the next big batch, and voila, a wonderful big bowl of applesauce emerged in about an hour and a half in my kitchen! Simple and utterly delicious!
So was I done? Not really. Turns out that as I was looking up applesauce in my Joy of Cooking, right at the end of the process of making it [I thought you could add freshly grated nutmeg--and did!] I happened to notice the words applesauce cake. Hmmm. (Shaking head.) And I simply could not resist. So here’s where that impulse led:
Not like any applesauce cake you’ve ever seen, right? Yeah. Me, neither. Because right at the end of the recipe there’s a little directive to Old Fashioned Caramel Frosting, which involved a candy thermometer, even. By then there was no turning back. I went to Ross and found a food thermometer and came home and made it, knowing it was dangerous territory when I read two cups of brown sugar and one cup of heavy cream. Yeah. But I can’t recall ever using a candy thermometer before, and had always been curious and love to enter new kitchen terrain, so I did it. And I’m glad. It’s not hard. It’s just time consuming. Want the recipe? The holidays are coming, afterall.
Old Fashioned Caramel Frosting (does this mean women used to do this all the time??)
You mix two cups of brown sugar (light or dark) with one cup of heavy cream in a heavy saucepan at medium heat. Then when it begins to simmer, cover it and let it cook for two minutes. Then you uncover and let it cook until it reaches 238 degrees F. It will feel like a science project, and I suppose it is in some way. Then you remove from heat and put three T. unsalted butter into the mix, but do not stir. You now need to let it cool to 110 degrees, which will take 45 min. to an hour. Then you add a teaspoon of vanilla and beat it until it thickens, which happens pretty fast. And then you spread on the cake. It’s amazing, I must say.
Autumn is a wonderful time to get into the kitchen and bake. I am inspired to be more experimental, more adventurous in my kitchen this season. I promise to share my best discoveries, and I hope you will please share yours!
Love and kitchen blessings,
Footnote: Here’s the old Hall Nursery sign from Cherry Valley. (See Julie’s comment below.)
Posted on October 10th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life