Hello, fall! Though the weather here in DC has been flaky and not settled in the crispness of the season, it’s still that time when we succumb to all things ambient colored, perfumed aromas and stunning sunsets. Not to mention the most luscious culinary festivals and harvest pickings. Of the things my family and I enjoy together during these transitional months, running the fields of fruit for the ultimate “who can grab the most” challenge, is my favorite. I’m speaking in theory since we’ve actually not done any picking in years, unless you call hitting up the weekly farmer’s market and hand-picking the prettiest of anything that graces me. Lucky for me though, my youngest brother and his new fiancé have assumed the role of conscious consumers and are collectively embracing the sustainable culture. It’s more like “hey babe, I want you to cook for me, the day’s gorgeous; let’s go to the valley.” She obliges and they go.
And the rest of us benefit from it. Just like 3 weeks ago. While in a meeting, my brother bombards my phone with a series of pictures of a tremendous apple farm, about 70 miles outside of DC. The lovebirds had gone apple-picking and he was showing off his presence and adventure. Rubbed it in my face that I hadn’t done it for myself. It was okay. I entertained every picture with support and just asked he bring me some back.
Oh, the bounty was plentiful. Instead of a follow up text message, I get a phone call letting me know he picked 80 apples ranging in 8 or so varieties. I wasted no time in grabbing some for myself and suggested his new fiancé, who loves to cook, get to baking. I’ve had her cakes, pies and Salibury steak, so I knew she’d be good for something apple-y.
And she didn’t disappoint. Almost. She oh-so-nonchalantly brings a piece of an apple cake. Just a piece. For 4 adults to split. Not a good look as I like to say. Especially I expressed wanting something really divine that we could all enjoy in full. Having to share a rationed piece was not happening.
Since I’m an instant gratification type person, I didn’t bother asking her for another one. Yeah, I can bake and enjoy it but there’s something deliciously special about someone else taking the time and pouring their soul into making warm gift just for you.
After have hers and really loving it; oh, and one variation a vendor at the orchard was selling for $9, I couldn’t wait to dig in some more so I made myself a few this week. I included some of the my own apples I grabbed at my local farmers’ market a few weeks ago (surprisingly, they were still in great tasty shape).
As if no one in this house has ever laid their lips on a fruit bread, cake-like dessert, two were poofed into thin air within two days. My intention was to share this recipe on Wed. so that I could feature another flan this #FlanFridays, but lo and behold, they didn’t last long enough for me to capture a few angles. Well, other than the picture below. So yes, I’m cheating, kind of. The crumble situation you see here is from the 2nd batch this week. All else is from an early rise baking hour at 6 am today. Oven was on and it was poppin’. The smell permeated the house so early that my plan to take a nap until it was done, were choked. It was gorgeous as it was baking, if ever I’ve seen a lovely thing rise.
I still, I didn’t allow the lovely loaf to be cut into until I figure out how I really want to style it.
That being said, I altered my soon to be SIL’s recipe and added a few things to make it my own. The different spices made a notable difference and the orange zest gave it a nice kick. I almost considered saturating it with some fine rum, but passed on the idea since I was trying to stay in line with a more classic recipe. No matter, I love them both just the same; just depends on the emotional mood I’m living at the moment. Today, it was need for gently scented aromas that would gently pacify feelings of empty comfort.
This one did it.
I’ll update this post with new pics next week. I want to spend a bit more time styling it up just right because it’s really deserving a lovely setting. It is the perfect bread to enjoy all season long, with a rooibus tea, spiced chai latte or minty espresso in hand. Colloquially speaking, it warms the heart and soul when enjoyed properly.
Happy fall lovely friends!
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Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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SPICED 4 APPLE BREAD
- 4 large apples, cored, peeled & chunked
- 3 cups all purpose flour,
- 2 cups white or brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup pecan or walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 Tsps. baking powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- 1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350F. In large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and apples. Using wooden spoon, mix well and set aside. In separate large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add eggs, oil, buyer, OJ and vanilla. Mix well until smooth. YOu may use an electric mixer if easier. Add apple mixture to batter. Combine well. Pour batter into glass or non-stick 1.5 qt baking dish. Bake on 350F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool. Remove from mold. Cut width wise into 1″ pieces.
*Chef’s notes: for a more bread pudding consistency, soak apples in large bowl for 10 minutes. Drain. Proceed according to rest of recipe.