The first taste of apple when its season hits is almost as paramount as a first kiss. There is a longing that builds throughout the Spring and Summer months and, in my opinion, there is no better taste than that first one. It’s a ritual that merits the suspension of time.
This year it was a Gravenstein for me. With great fervor I peeled the chartruese skin away to reveal a flesh as flawless as a newborn. Removing a portion with my knife, I slipped it directly onto my eager tongue, still cool from the already crisp Fall air. The bright bite rang loudly through my head before releasing its tart juice. The gleeful look that already covered my face became more pronounced as I continued to peel and anticipate the first pie of the season.
Since that bite there has been many more pies. Three within a week span, to be perfectly honest. Following those pies we made our traditional trip to our favorite apple orchard, Bellewood Acres. The one in which golf carts are provided for our touring pleasure, and where horses and cows greet us on either side of the property.
We walked away from the orchard with several bags of both Gravensteins and Honeycrisps, caramel apples, cider, and peanut butter made right on the farm. Before we pulled out of the parking lot we broke into the peanut butter and used a camping knife to carve into the large, perfectly tart-sweet Honeycrisp.
There is little to be done to improve upon a well-grown apple. Our load didn’t last much longer than the car ride home and we’ve since made multiple trips to our local produce stand to replenish our cravings. The baker in me almost feels a sense of obligation to stir them into pies and cakes but lately we’ve let them be simply what they are – incredible apples.
Those that have existed beyond the mid-day snack have made there way through our juicer. Most recently they’ve been combined with a few of their closest friends – butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon. This party then meets in a hot oven so as to preserve a slight bite while their crisp edges caramelize.
Roasted apples meet the nostalgic requirements of apple sauce while appearing somehow fancy. Maybe it’s the little vanilla bean specs coating each slice or the floral cinnamon scent that escapes the oven each time you open it in anticipation. Whatever it is it’s no matter just as long as you make them. And while warm, please do me a favor, eat them over vanilla ice cream.
Whatever doesn’t end up on ice cream makes a wonderful addition to oatmeal, yogurt or eaten on their own.
4 large apples (2 lbs), peeled and cut in 1” chunks
1 3” cinnamon stick
½ vanilla bean
1-2 Tbl dark brown sugar
2 Tbl butter
Pre-heat your 450*.
Combine all the ingredients in a roasting pan. Dot the apples with small pieces of the butter. Roast 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes until apples are cooked through and golden around the edges.