I grew up in a small house in the suburbs of Los Angeles. My father, a farm boy from Wisconsin, moved out there when he was 17. He bought the house shortly after he and my mom were married, and quickly set to work making the tiny backyard into an orchard and garden that rivals anything I have seen since. The yard is full of fruit trees from apples and almonds to lemons and peaches. Every year my mom makes pies, which I despised growing up but have since been known to take a few bites of on occasion.
I miss having easy access to fruit and I’ve been wanting to try my hand at baking an apple pie for a while now so I got the bright idea to take the family apple picking this fall. We talked grandma into coming along and spent the day at a place I found through an Internet search; All Seasons Orchard. It was cold and crowded and cost way too much but we did our best to enjoy ourselves despite the conditions. The admission price is $8 plus you have to pay $5 a person to buy a 1/4 peck bag – they won’t let you ride on the wagon out to the orchard without it (even if you don’t want to pick apples) -and they won’t let you walk to the orchard on foot either so you’re pretty much stuck paying $13 a piece which makes for a pricey day if you have a lot of people in your group (something they don’t mention at the gate which made the family of six in line behind us quite upset).
Kaylee spent most of the time sleeping, but her diaper leaked all over the carrier half way through the day and the only place to change her was a cold cement bench on the outdoor patio. Bees were everywhere and the orchard was in dire need of some love but it was fun to eat an apple freshly plucked from the tree. Most of the apples were already picked and by the time we were done we were all too tired and cranky to wait in line for 45 minutes for fresh apple donuts (much to my dismay). We did buy some apple butter and caramel popcorn from the country style store to make up for it though. We had a pretty good time despite all the negatives, and I think apple picking will make a fun family tradition, but we’ll definitely find a different place next year.
I ended up making Alton Brown’s 10 minute applesauce with our bounty of 15 apples (I’ll get to the pie someday I’m sure).
The recipie calls for multiple types of apples but I just used the golden delicious we picked from the orchard. I also substitued whiskey for brandy.
It really is super simple to make…just toss all of the ingredients into a zip lock bag and microwave for 10 minutes. The apples come out soft and moist, then you just use a stick blender to get it to the desired consistency.
I put one jar in the fridge and one in the freezer to keep for thanksgiving (I was too lazy to process the jars to preserve them). It turned out great – just the right texture. The honey made it sweet enough to skip the sugar and the whiskey added a complexity to the flavor. Scott liked it too. I’ll definitely use this recipe again.