20 September 2010

Family recipe Monday: Leaving September, and apples

Scarlet maples, Delaware Museum of Natural History

When fall hits out here in the Dakotas, it hits hard. A front whipped through over the weekend and brought the temperatures to near-freezing. I think that we'll see the end of the produce season up here soon. We are all hoping that we even have fall colors this year. Last year we had a freezing front and snow on October 1. There were no colors: the leaves froze while they were green and fell off the trees in huge clumps. Not the sight of which fall reveries are made. There is nothing like the blazing yellow of cottonwoods in the fall.

We are missing the colors of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast right now, so our thoughts are turning to the Pennsylvania Dutch apple recipes that are so good this time of year. These are classics, and not easy to find out here if you didn't bring a Pennsylvania Dutch cook with you. Fortunately, we covered this contingency.

Apple dumplings
6 large baking apples
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 T butter or margarine
¾ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 T butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Make pastry first. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in shortening until like coarse cornmeal. Moisten with milk, stirring with fork as little as possible. Roll into a rectangular sheet about ¼" thick. Cut into 6 squares. Peel and core apples and place one on each square. Mix ¼ cup of sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon. Fill center of apples. Use more sugar to fill centers if necessary. Make a syrup by bringing to a boil ¾ cup water, ¾ cup sugar, 2 T lemon juice and 2 T butter. Roll dough around apples and fasten by moistening edges and pinching them together. Place in large shallow pan. Pour syrup over dumplings. Bake at 450o for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* and bake for 30 minutes.
--Dolly Shaffner Hess
Date on card: August 26, 1985

The only explanation I have for the spot on this card is the usual one: this is a sure sign of a much-loved and much-used recipe.

Brown Betty
Mix together in 10"x6"x2" pan:

3 cups chopped apples (peeled or unpeeled)
1 ½ cup coarse bread crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle with ½ tsp cinnamon or nutmeg. Pour over top ½ cup water. Bake at 325* for 45-50 minutes.
--Dolly Shaffner Hess

Apple crisp

Place in buttered 10"x6"x2" pan: 4 cups sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, ¼ cup water. Rub together ¾ cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter and drop on apples. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes.
--Dolly Shaffner Hess

I will finish with my favorite September poem of all time. Loren Eiseley captured the bittersweet feeling of September on the prairies best of all. There was a trace of smoke in the air last night, and this poem can immediately to mind.

Leaving September

If I have once forgotten on this field
The long light of the dusk, or far away
The sheep on tawny grass, how stones will yield
Small bitter puffballs, or a cricket stay
To wring wry tunes from emptiness and dearth,
Let me remember; let me hold them now
Close to the heart--while I upon the earth
Am the stone field and pain the heavy plow.
Not in wide measures is the harvest culled;
Not by disaster nor by cutting hail
Is the loss seen, the grief is somewhat dulled--
Being done at last. Ours is a different scale--
Leaving September stars and a little smoke
And memory tight as a lichen to an oak.
--Loren Eiseley

Happy Monday.

1 comment:

Lee Jackson said...

Here in Missouri, apples are at their prime. Loads of them on and under trees. It's a wonderful season. Love your original "ingredient speckled" recipes! For more apple recipes please check out my website for two apple cookbooks full of Americana apple recipes. http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Lee Jackson, author of From the Apple Orchard, Recipes for Apple Lovers and
Apples, Apples Everywhere - Favorite Recipes From America's Orchards