"Jenny's cookbook is full of heart and soul" Chef Michael Smith

Friday, October 8, 2010


Just one of 6 Suprima Farm Apple varieties I tasted yesterday!
When I was eighteen, I announced to my parents that I was going to travel to British Columbia, to pick apples in the Okanagan Valley. This made no sense considering that I had grown up in one of the major apple producing areas in the world and had never once picked a bin. I didn't even know how to strap on the basket, which made it embarassing after telling our first farmer that we were experienced pickers. Apple picking is hard work, but it's fairly lucrative. It's gorgeous and cool in an orchard first thing in the morning, and you get to eat apples.

My favourites have always been the Cortland and Gravenstein, two older varieties that are best when freshly twisted off the tree. They are sweet and crispy with the sour bite that I love in an apple. The Valley grows a huge variety of apples, and hot new additions to the lineup just keep coming. This year our local growers harvested the first commercial crop of SweeTango. After the amazing success of the tasty and expensive HoneyCrisp, I imagine consumers will flock to the store for this newest trend in apples.

Be careful when shopping for apples in the Valley. Shockingly, despite all the wealth of locally grown fruit, apples imported from Chile, the USA and New Zealand are given ample shelf space in most grocery stores. Buy your apples at a market stand and your chances of landing local fruit improve dramatically. Apples are a great value when purchased in 10 or 20 pound bags, but if you can't stuff them in your fridge, you'll have to eat them quickly!

Better yet, visit a U-Pick. Boates even has organic apples in neat old varieties that you can pick yourself. Another favourite of mine is Dempsey Corner Orchards, where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the Valley as you pick from a tree halfway up the North Mountain. Noggins Corner has great apples and a wicked Corn Maze (try going after school rather then on the weekend, it's crazy-busy!). Although Richard Hennigar of Suprima Farms (the JuicePop Man) doesn't have a U-Pick, his was one of many farms in Nova Scotia that were open to the public September 19th during Open Farm Day.  This is a great way to get a behind the scenes look at farms that are not normally open to the public. 

At the restaurant, we'll be baking several varieties of apples into pies, crisps, and cakes. The best for baking include Northern Spy, Jonagold, Gravenstein, and Rhode Island Greening, esteemed by the Joy of Cooking as “perhaps the best of all for cooking” and available from Boates Orchards.

Bavarian Apple Torte serves 10-12
This recipe was one of our inheritances from the Apple Town Cafe, the Cafe we purchased that morphed into Union Street Cafe.  Is it really Bavarian?  I don't know.  But it is certainly delicious!
Shortbread Crust
1 1/4 C. Flour
1/3 C. Sugar
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 C. Butter
Preheat oven to 350. Pulse in food processor until crumbs form and press into a 10-inch springform pan.  Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden.

For the filling:
1 lb. Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
3/4 C. Sugar
1 t. Vanilla
3 lovely Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 
2 T. Sugar
1 t. Cinnamon

Blend cream cheese, eggs, 3/4 C. sugar and vanilla until smooth in a food processor and pour over baked crust in pan.  Toss apples with 2 T. sugar and cinnamon and arrange over the filling in a pinwheel pattern.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, until just set in the center.  Let cool, then refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Annette's Apple and Cheddar Focaccia serves 4
This open faced sandwich can be made on any decent, sturdy bread.

¼ C. Mango or any other Chutney
¼ C. Mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon Mustard
4 pieces Focaccia
½ lb. Shaved Ham
½ small Red Onion, sliced
2 Sweet and Crispy Apples, sliced (Red Delicious need not apply)
1 C. Grated Cheddar Cheese

Preheat the broiler and move the oven rack to its highest position. Mix the chutney, mayo and mustard. Lightly toast the focaccia and spread with the chutney mayo. Layer with the ham, onion, apples and lastly the cheddar. Place on a baking sheet and slide under the broiler. Watch like a hawk while the cheese melts, then bubbles, and finally browns.

Applesauce Cake serves 12-16
 This is a simple and nearly fat free cake that is delicious and homey. Try topping it with the leftover applesauce, lightly sweetened if you like, and vanilla yogurt or ice cream.

To make the applesauce, peel 3 pounds of apples and remove cores. Combine with ¼ cup water in a saucepan and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for thirty minutes, until falling apart. Let cool, then mash or process until smooth.

2 C. Applesauce
3/4-1 C. Sugar
2 C. Flour (can be whole wheat)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 t. Cinnamon
2 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
½ C. Raisins, optional
½ C. Toasted Walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9x13 pan. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk unitl just combined. Pour into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until springy to the touch.

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