we all sit under the apple tree”
Have we not all sat under an apple tree sometime during our lives? I have wonderful memories of my grandparents’ apple orchard in Croatia. The first time I climbed an apple tree, just to be like the boys and not to be outdone by them, and then not being able to climb down, because I was frightened of falling.
But more than that, I remember picking an apple and biting into it still warm from the morning sun, its juice filling my mouth with the sweetness and flavor. Still today and every day I eat at least one apple, because it is my favorite fruit.
The apple tree belongs to the family Rosaceae and it is grown in temperate zones throughout the world and has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years. Apple varieties now number well into the thousands. They range in color from lemony yellow to bright yellow-green to crimson red.
Their texture ranges from tender to crisp, their flavors from sweet to tart and from simple to complex. They are available year-round but are at their best from September through November when newly harvested.
Buying fruit in the grocery stores, while we live our lives in this contemporary world with all of the conveniences, we are robbed of many true flavors. Most of the fruit is picked unripened by the growers. Some fruit is then treated with ethylene, which enhances ripening after long periods of cold storage. This chemical process of ripening spoils flavor and crispness in the fruit. It also produces less sugar in many a fruit. Some fruit such as berries do not ripen and become sweeter after they are picked, but apples will, to some extent at least. When you bring them home from the store leave them at room temperature for a few days and you will see them getting more intense in color and when eaten they will have increased in flavor and sweetness.
The chemistry of ripening!
Before the apple is picked it matures and converts its sugars from the plant’s leaves into starch. Then the grower picks the apple and puts it into cold storage. (This is when some growers spray the fruit with ethylene.) The chemical reaction stops. When the apple is delivered into the grocery store and brought back to room temperature the chemical reaction starts again by changing the starch into sugar.
If you live in an area where you have an opportunity to go to an apple orchard and pick apples right from the tree it is of course, the best way to eat apples and to “……………………….sit under an apple tree!”
APPLE-CRANBERRY CRUMB TART
1 2/3 cups flour
1 stick unsalted butter – room temp.
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp concentrated (frozen -thawed) orange juice
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp Vanilla
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 lbs tart apples (Granny Smith) about 4 med.
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup -packed – light brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter – melted
1. Use foodprocessor:
Place flour, sugar and zest of orange into bowl and process with quick turns.
Add butter and cinnamon – process – with quick turns.
(Mix in separate bowl – egg yolk and orange juice and water.)
Add the above to processor and mix until it comes together into a ball.
2. Line an 11 inch tart pan with the dough by pressing it with fingers.
3. Prick all over with fork and refrig. for 30 min.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F
5. Bake shell for 10-15 min set aside.
6. MAKE THE FILLING: Peel, quarter and slice apples. Toss the apples and
cranberries with the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Mound the filling in the tart shell.
7. MAKE THE TOPPING: In a bowl combine the oats , flour and brown sugar.
Pour in the butter and crumble the mixture with your fingers. Pile it on top of the
8. Bake the tart for about 1 hour and 15 min. until the topping is golden brown.
Cover loosely with foil if top gets too brown too soon.