While many places in the world experience their nastiest weather this time of year, we often enjoy a pleasant fall to ease us into the winter. Setting aside the odd tail end of a tropical storm, we enjoy autumn’s bounty in our yards and in our kitchens. For me it’s all about the berries.
Bakeapples are plentiful this year, although you wouldn’t know it from the price, and I’ve had a couple of ideas percolating in my head about what to do with the first taste of the season. If you relish the tart and tangy gold nuggets the way I do, you’ll find yourself a couple of cupfuls to try these recipes.
Bakeapple barbecue sauce
Use this sauce on fat succulent pork chops, juicy chicken breasts or giant slabs of back ribs. You can’t get anything like it in a store, so don’t even look.
This batch will make about three large bottles, but it keeps for a long time in the fridge.
To be extra sure, pour the boiling hot sauce into sterilized jars, seal tightly, and they should last quite a bit longer.
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded (if you want to reduce the heat) and minced
2 cups ketchup
1 cup bakeapples, together with any collected juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juice and finely grated zest
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Melt butter in a heavy pot and fry celery and onion until soft but not brown. Add garlic and jalapeños and cook just until fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer together 30 minutes.
Bakeapple lemon cream pie
Oh boy, is this good. Save this for that special occasion with people you adore, and relish each bite.
Bakeapples and lemons complement each other perfectly, bringing north and south together in creamy, harmonious perfection. The large berry seeds are a treat for me, but you can puree the bakeapples and strain them out if you prefer the unmarred texture of a cheesecake. Frozen pastry is an acceptable shortcut in this recipe because it’s all about the filling, which is also fantastic in a graham wafer crust, by the way.
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter (no other)
2 tbsp. cold lard
1/4 cup ice water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (no other)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed bakeapples, drained to remove any liquid
2 cups whipping cream sweetened by 1/2 cup sugar
Place flour and salt in a food processor or large bowl and whiz or whisk to combine. Cut butter and lard into small cubes and scatter over the flour. Pulse 8 to 10 times, just until mixture is mealy, or cut in with a pastry cutter. Add ice water 1 tbsp. at a time, pulsing or tossing one time after each. Pulse a couple of more times at the end. When you squeeze a small amount in your palm it should form a lump — if not, add another spoonful of water and pulse a couple more times.
Dump the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a rough disk — try not to handle it too much. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface. Flour rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough, starting at the middle and working towards the edges, turning 1/4 turn after each roll, until circle is about 11 inches across. Pick it up on your rolling pin and lay it carefully over a pie plate. Don’t pull the dough, but rather push it into the plate gently. Trim the excess, leaving an inch hanging over the edges, then turn under the remaining overhang. Pinch, pleat or press with a floured fork. Prick the bottom and sides thoroughly with a floured fork. Lay in a scrunched up piece of parchment paper or foil and fill with dried beans. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes then lift out the beans. Continue baking 10 minutes longer or until light golden brown.
For the filling, place sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan and place over low heat. Stirring constantly, bring mixture nearly to the boil. When bubbles start to form remove pot from heat. Mixture should be thick and fall in soft globs from a spoon. Place plastic wrap right on the surface and cool to room temperature. Pick out a handful of the prettiest bakeapples for garnish and gently stir the rest into the lemon custard.
You aren’t using the juice that usually accumulates around the berries but do reserve it for another recipe. Stir sugar into cream and whip until stiff. Fold into bakeapple lemon filling and spoon into pie crust. Garnish with reserved bakeapples and chill at least an hour. If it’s not all eaten within a few hours, freeze the leftovers.
Newfoundland and Labrador ambrosia
This recipe started somewhere down south, but they didn’t have our secret ingredient and therefore, have no idea what they’re missing. This makes a perfect light dessert, or serve it for brunch on Sunday morning with fresh bagels and cream cheese. This amount serves 6 to 8.
6 large juicy oranges
1 cup bakeapples, together with any collected juice
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (optional)
Peel the oranges with a sharp knife to remove the white pulp. Slice along one side of each membrane, then follow the membrane on the other slide of the segment. Continue until all the segments are removed; place in a large bowl. Squeeze the remainder tightly in your hand to collect every bit of juice. Add bakeapples, bananas and coconut and toss together to combine well. Stir in liqueur just before serving.
Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, N.L., A1E 4N1.