Ok, I admit it, I procrastinated a little too long this year. I’ve been going to the same apple orchard since my son was very little (he’s in college now). It’s a small orchard run by an old-timer nestled in the mountains of Western Maine alongside a beautiful river. My favorite apple variety is Macoun and the old-timer told me long ago that the Macoun was a late apple. So, I waited until the end of October this year to go apple picking. I planned it on a day when I could have lunch with a friend that lives about half way there. I was excited to hand pick each one and take that first crisp, juicy bite! As I’m driving up to the barn where they sell cider, honey, maple syrup and, of course, apples, it feels a little deserted. No one was in the barn or the orchard. The only greeter was the old-timer’s friendly German Shepherd! It didn’t really bother me, because I know many small farm stands work off the honor system. They leave their fruit or vegetables out and you weigh them and leave money in a box nearby. Except in this case, there were no apples out. So, I took an apple-picking tool off the wall and walked into the orchard. I was very surprised to see that every tree was bare. Ok, not every tree, but I don’t like Red or Golden Delicious, so they don’t count to me. I walked through the rows of trees and not one of them had an apple, not even on the highest branches! I had missed the season! I had read in the local newspapers it was a good year for apple crops, so I truly expected to find plenty still on the trees.
I was disappointed, but not daunted. I was determined to find apples that day. I drove toward another orchard in a neighboring town, but a sign on the side of the road said they only had “drops”. “Drops” are those apples that fall on the ground under the tree. Many orchards use these to make cider because they are usually over-ripe and softer than apples still on the tree. No “drops” for me – I wanted crispy, crunchy, juicy apples right off the tree! So, I kept driving.
There are many orchards in the western part of Maine and I know roughly where a few of them are located. I headed toward one I had passed by a couple years ago when exploring the back roads – PieTree Orchard in Sweden, Maine. (http://www.pietreeorchard.com/) When I drove into their parking area, again, it was deserted. They were closed during the week, because the picking season was over. Luckily, they had apples out and available to buy using the honor system. Finally, I was able to buy a bag of organic Macoun apples. Success at last!
I hope you enjoy this gluten-free recipe. Use your favorite apples, and hopefully you didn’t have to drive to three towns all over the county to get them!
Apple Cinnamon Puffs
5 large red apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup sugar
1¾ cup Pamela’s Wheat-free/Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Place sliced apples in a medium bowl, add sugar and stir to combine. Pour the apple mixture into the greased baking dish and spread evenly. In a large bowl, combine Pamela’s mix, melted butter and milk. Stir well to make a soft dough. Drop the dough by spoonful on top of apple slices and spread evenly over apples. Combine the 2 tablepoons sugar and cinnamon in a small dish and sprinkle on top of the dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes about 6 servings.
- Keeping Crispy Apples (whatdidyoulearninschooltoday.wordpress.com)