For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SLO Crisp


Our Indian summer is here. Each year in San Luis Obispo County this after-summer phenomenon, where warmish, dry weather sets in much to the delight of its inhabitants, results in halcyon blue skies and glowing temperatures along the coast. The Chinese refer to this period as "qiū lǎohǔ," a tiger in autumn; in Turkey they use the term "pastırma," meaning highly spiced; and in many Slavic-speaking countries, the season is called “Old Ladies Summer.”

But regardless of whether the outside air reminisces of a hotter season, autumn is beginning to leave its mark. The local farmers markets are full of colorful squash and pumpkins, plump tomatoes, and ears of juicy corn. And let’s not forget that it's apple season.

A co-worker recently gifted me a bag of hefty, juicy, pesticide-free apples picked fresh from her orchard. I decided to honor these fruits of the earth by melding them into a not-too-sweet dessert, laced with a locally-made dessert wine, spices and cream—all baked underneath a crumbly oat topping.

This after-dinner treat is definitely worth heating up your oven for, even during this spicy time of year. 


SLO APPLE CRISP RECIPE

Serves: a handful or two of people

Ingredients:

Filling
6 - 8 large apples
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup dessert wine (consider a late harvest Zinfandel or Port;
or substitute with apple cider)
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Topping
2 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened

Whipped Cream
I cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)




Preheat the oven to 350°F and take out a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

Zest and juice the orange and lemon and set zest aside. Mix juice together in a small glass bowl.

Wash, core and slice the apples into large bite-sized pieces (you can either remove the skins or leave them on for more fiber). Place the sliced apples in the baking dish and coat with the fruit juice, tossing evenly to prevent oxidation of the apples.

For the filling, whisk together ½ cup whipping cream, spices, vanilla, wine and honey in a bowl. Pour over apples and toss well.

For the topping, use a different bowl and add oats, flour, brown sugar, honey, spices, salt and mix well. Add butter and blend with a fork. Sprinkle over the top of the apples and place in oven for 40 – 55 minutes. Keep an eye on your concoction, checking to make sure the apples are tender and the top is crisp, but not burned, when you remove it from the oven.

While the crisp is cooling, make the whipped cream by getting out your mixer and a glass bowl. Beat cream for about five minutes until it starts to thicken and forms soft peaks. Add vanilla and sugar and beat for a few more minutes (careful not to over-beat as it can turn into the consistency of butter).

Serve this tantalizing apple crisp topped with a dollop of cream. Don't forget to round it all off with a small glass of dessert wine.

Enjoy the fall season, whatever the weather and harvest may bring.
I picked up this delectable 2003 late harvest Zinfandel during a recent visit to Cayucos Cellars tasting room, located in the offbeat coastal town of...you guessed it!...Cayucos. There's no reason to add raisins to this recipe, as the raisiny-sweet quality of the dessert wine adds an extra dimension of flavor when cooked with the apples and spices

If the whipped cream starts to melt, not to worry. Just keep eating.

 

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