What is it about the apple that makes it such an icon?
Can you think of it as a game changer?
Is it that it has been tagged as the "forbidden fruit" in the Bible?
Or that the most influential company of all time named their company Apple - whose products have revolutionized the way the world operates.
And, what about this quote, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"!
When baked in a pie it becomes the standard for what represents everything "all American"?
It's the first letter of the alphabet all of us learned - A is for Apple!
For us in Northwest Arkansas where apples were the main industry in the 1800's-1900's our 'state of the art' culinary school, Brightwater, is named for an extinct apple!
The Brightwater apple.
Northwest Arkansas is still growning apples and we are fortunate to be the home of the family owned Vanzant Fruit Farm.
Apples are just one of the many fruits they grow. Recently I visited with Mr. Vanzant (he's a young and spry 92) and he shared how he and his wife in the 40's had purchased land starting out with just a few apple trees. In the early years he kept his "day" job while he was waiting for his trees to mature and produce their first harvest. Today he and his family farm 300 acres of not just apples but also peaches and grapes. Their "farmstand" is open most of the year. Mr. Vanzant said his favorite apple to cook with is the Jonathan and his favorite to just grab and eat is the Gala. He did note that the Arkansas Black is the one apple to hold out eating until January because they develop their best flavor after the harvest!
I asked Mr. Vanzant how is farming different today than when he started out. He replied, "People just don't eat like they used to. The 'youngers' want everything fast and already cooked up."
This made me re-think the whole "apple a day" thing. It's not about the apple and in and of itself is healthy - it's what the apple represents! It represents real food. Slow food - food that takes time to prepare and cook. It represents coming together around the table and sharing the good things from the land. It represents a simpler way of life that has meaning. The apple is a game changer!
So, before the peak of apple season passes you by, head to your local farmer's market this and pick up some fresh apples. Then take the time to create this simple Apple Tart with Calvados Cream recipe, call the family around the table and savor every moment!
from my table to yours,
Apple Tart with Calvados Cream
1 pie crust
3-4 medium apples, cored, peeled, sliced thinly (Use Jonathan or Granny Smith)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter (cut in small pieces)
1 egg for egg wash
My Brother's Cranberry Orange Salsa (for glaze)
8 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioner sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp. Calvados (apple liqueur)
Line a 8" tart pan (one with removable bottom) with the pie crust. Place prepared apple slices onto the dough starting on the outer edge ending up in center. Slices should be slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with sugar. Dot with butter. Gently fold edges of pie crust in over the apple slices (this gives the tart about a 1/2 inch edging). Brush crust with egg wash (make egg wash by simply beating the egg with 1/2 tsp. water). Place in 400* oven for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediatly brush over the cooked apples a thin layer of My Brother's Cranberry Orange Salsa. Serve warm with Calvados Cream and a light dusting of ground cinnamon.
To make Calvados Cream: Mix whipping cream with confectioner's sugar until it forms soft peak. Gently fold in Calvados liqueur. Chill until ready to use.