Monday, October 2, 2017

It's Apple Time!

I have the good fortune to live just down the road to what I consider the most family-friendly apple orchard I have ever visited... Treworgy's Family Orchard! You see, so many businesses tout the word family in order to gain your business and trust and I honestly have only come across a handful that live up to that reputation. And every single one of them are here in New England. That says something about us Yankees right there! Two of these businesses are here in Maine, with Treworgy's topping that list by a long shot!

Being a father, I honestly look for places to take my children because there are so few fun places to enjoy the outdoors. And I mean that! For the past 20 years, we have NEVER had a babysitter...not even for 1 minute. The closest we have ever come is dropping my son off at a classmates home at the local Ronald MacDonald house because she is sick and just completed a bone marrow transplant. She requested Thomas to visit and Thomas is ALWAYS requesting to visit with her. Other than that, I am more of a Dad than many fathers I have met, some may say overbearing or overprotective. My answer? "And?????....."


 

I had the good fortune to have had a sit down with the CEO of this true child-friendly place. Jonathan Kenerson.

I could take forever and relate the entire stock of produce this family business offers for self picking, but I would much rather tell you what a great place it is to bring your children.

Gary Treworgy began this orchard in the late '80s with the good ol' Yankee stand-by, the Mac apple!. It has steadily grown, with a "thankee m'am"a few years into it(I dare you to tell me what a thankee m'am is)but soon recovered with obvious fervor, Yankee ingenuity and their obvious devotion to family. Over the years, they have included livestock of all kinds, games, a vast array of Maine-made gifts and edibles as well as, probably, the best cider I have ever tasted. No, they don't make their own cider in-house, Instead, they use their "family value" system of their business model by partnering with another local apple orchard, Rowell's.

Setting aside the hay rides, their famous corn maze and a host of varied entertainment venues each and ever year, Treworgy's is famous for ice cream and apple cider donuts. I just can't find one fault with this.....well, yes I can actually., but I shouldn't call it a fault. It is wishful thinking on my part and many others. After bringing up my take on what they should do in their kitchen for the hundreds of people to visit daily, Jonathan was all too quick to jump up, beckon me into his kitchen and without a word, he put his money where his apple pie hole is. One look around and I was as mum, as they come. They do the best they can do with what the have. After all, it isn't easy to fit a dozen or more people in that kitchen on any given day, my living room is larger than that! Case closed, but it doesn't keep me from thinking about it every single time I go pickin'.

Someday, I think it would greatly benefit them and everyone else to have an array of real New England apple dishes, i.e. brown Betty's, Crisps, breads, cobblers, slumps, grunts...to name a few....AND APPLE PIE!

I have included apples extensively in my newest cookbook entitled The Sweet Fight, due out by Christmas, 2017. My incentive for all the info and recipe utilizing apples? My heritage, the apple cider that has run in my veins for almost 400 years and Treworgy's Family Orchard. So they hold a special part of my cookbook.

In the meantime, if Treworgy's won't cave and make some great Yankee apple dishes, then here are a couple of my all-time favorites that you can start making after a trip to Treworgy's.
 

 

 
 

 


Sticky Apple Coffee Cake

Simple, sweet and sticky...just what a good coffee cake should be. With apple season in full picking mode, this is the perfect time to pick, prepare and place right next to a glass of cold milk.
 
Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt, sour cream or milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups diced apple
Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup diced apple
 

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high until creamy. Add egg, yogurt and vanilla. Continue beating on high until well combined and smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and beat in until smooth. Fold in diced apple. Pour into prepared pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, maple syrup until dry ingredients are wet. Gently mix in apples and sprinkle on top of cake batter. Bake 40-42 minutes, or until it bounces back when touched in the center. Remove from oven and serve hot or cool before serving.


 

Sweet Apple Baden Cake

Don't let the list of ingredients fool you. This recipe is simple, inexpensive and, by far, the most extraordinary apple cake you will ever have. I purposely made the cake slightly less sweet than ordinary 'coffee cake'-like desserts, because I wanted the apple to shine through, and it certainly won't let you down. Use your favorite sweet, hard apple here.
 
1 ½ cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup apple cider reduction*
½ stick butter(1/4-cup), melted
1 egg, beaten
1 large or two small Liberty apples, peeled, cored and diced
Topping:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
 

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray nonstick cooking spray into a 9-inch pie pan. You can opt for a 9-inch square pan if desired. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon, mixing well. Stir in the apple cider reduction, melted butter and egg until just blended, lumps are fine. Transfer to the prepared pie pan. Evenly spread the diced apples over the top.

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients and even sprinkle over the top of the apples. Every bit of the topping must be damp so if you need more melted butter, add a tablespoon at a time, but it should be fine the way it is. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until firm in the center when touched. Remove to rack to cool for just a little bit, we want to serve this beauty warm. While waiting, make your glaze by combining all ingredients and mixing until smooth. Start out with 2 tablespoons milk and add more if needed to drizzle.

* I chose to boil apple cider until it reduced to make 1 cup. It is tremendously sweet and potent, perfect for this cake. If you don't have the time, nor inclination, I suggest 1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed. Or maybe a cup of maple syrup is your thing? It is all good.

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