I do live in prime agricultural land so, get ready for a few more posts on what to do with all this wonderful fresh fruit we are now harvesting! I recently wrote about watermelon and our local strawberries, and now I’m going to talk about apples; in particular, our local Gravenstein apple.
August here in Sonoma County is known as Gravenstein Apple month as it’s harvest season. Gravenstein apples grown here in Sebastopol are known as one of the best-flavored and most versatile of all apples. They can be used in baking, saucing, juicing and fermenting, and are a delight to simply eat off the tree. Due to development, economic changes and the growth of our well known Sonoma vineyards, the Gravenstein apple is almost commercially extinct at this point. Our local Slow Food Russian River Chapter is working diligently to save our Gravenstein. Their presidia project combines local farmers with bay area communities, chefs and farmers markets to see that this doesn’t happen. My favorite ways to use this delicious apple is as a snack or simple lunch, sliced with a pungent cheese like a sharp cheddar:
Or in a mixed green salad with, red onion, blue cheese and walnuts with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette:
Or my absolute favorite dessert, an apple galette! Here is the recipe I use the most because it is simple and makes my taste buds verrrrrrrrrrry happy; via Epicurious, check it out! Ingredients: Pastry dough
- 2 tablespoons semolina (sometimes called semolina flour)
- 2 pounds Gravenstein apples (about 4), peeled, cored, and each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Roll out dough into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Transfer to an ungreased 17- by 14-inch baking sheet. Sprinkle semolina over dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Toss apples with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl, then mound on top of semolina (leaving border) and sprinkle granulated sugar over apples. Fold in dough border over apples, pleating dough as necessary, to form a 9-inch round. Bake galette 30 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and bake until apples are tender and crust is golden, 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove galette from oven and turn on broiler. Dust apples with confectioners sugar and broil 5 to 6 inches from heat until apples are just golden, 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully; sugar burns easily). Slide galette from baking sheet onto a rack, then cool to warm or room temperature.
Cooks’ note: Galette can be baked 5 hours ahead and cooled, uncovered, then kept at room temperature. If desired, reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
There is nothing like this easy dessert, and with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream…well, watch out. In fact, I’m entertaining alfresco this week end, I think I’ll make this galette for my guests.
For those of you in the Bay area looking for a week end road trip, we will be having our annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, well attended by many from all over our west coast. I guarantee that fun will be had by all. Won’t you come and sample the delights of this delicious apple?
It has often been said that if the Gravenstein could be had throughout the year, no other apple need be grown. Luther Burbank
What are some of your favorite way’s to use apples this time of year? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear. Cheers!