My children had a teacher work day this week. My natural inclination is to stay home and get caught up on as much as I can. Even though summer was only a few short weeks ago, I somehow forget that when kids are home, I get further behind in pretty much everything when they are home. But I have a friend who always thinks of something fun to do with her kids on school breaks. She suggested apple picking. So I left the laundry in the hampers and the stack of bills and mail that need some attention on the desk, and we went apple picking.
When you get there, they ask if you want to pick a peck or a half bushel. I reached for the larger bag – the half bushel. It looked pretty reasonable. How many apples could it really hold? Let me tell you how many….40 pounds of apples! Who knew? I think my bag had a special expandable feature because we kept thinking it was full and then my girls would find another “perfect” apple and in it went!
It was really a fun day with my girls. We packed a picnic lunch and ate out by this beautiful rock quarry. The kids played king of the mountain on some rocks. Their favorite part was running through an old cord field. No not a nice manicured corn maze – just an old dusty corn field. They loved it! And they were dirty! Dirty kids = Fun day!
All in all, I am so thankful that I chose apple picking with my girls over laundry and bills. When I type it out like that it seems like and obvious choice, doesn’t it? But unfortunately, the bills often win! What do you do with your kids on school breaks like that?
That night, we made pork loin smothered with apples and apple cobbler. The pork loin was average so i will not post it. The apple cobbler was great! So here it is. So now I only have 35 pounds of apples left! I asked for some recipes and suggestions on our facebook page and got some great responses. But if you have any other suggestions, please leave the recipe in the comments section.
- 2½ pounds Granny Smith apples
- 2 pounds Fuji apples
- 1½ pounds Gala apples
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1½ sticks (6-ounces) chilled unsalted butter, plus softened butter for baking dish
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 (6-ounce) package sweetened, dried cranberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 (6-ounce) package sliced almonds
- Note: You will need approximately 8 to 10 apples total.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into ¼ to ½-inch dice. Try to get the apples pieces as uniform as possible to ensure even baking in the cobbler. Combine the apples with 1 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Cover and set in the refrigerator while preparing the cobbler topping. The sugar will draw out some of the moisture in the apples, so the filling will be nice and thick.
- Combine the remaining sugar with the flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside ½ cup of the sugar and flour mixture to coat the apples. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and work into the sugar/flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until it forms a coarse meal.
- Drain the sugar syrup from the apples and set aside. Combine the apples with the reserved flour and sugar mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and sweetened dried cranberries to the apples and stir well to evenly distribute all the flavors. Pour into the buttered baking dish.
- Lightly beat the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and slowly drizzle it into the flour mixture. Don't worry if it seems a little dry at first. Continue to stir the mixture until the flour is completely absorbed into the egg. (You might want to get your hands into it and use your fingers to finish.) Take a small bit of the topping and roll it into a 1-inch ball. Gently flatten the ball into a disk and place it on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining topping, slightly overlapping the disks.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a light golden brown. Let the cobbler rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. While the cobbler is sitting, coat the almonds with the reserved sugar syrup. Drain off the excess syrup and place the almonds on a buttered parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until the almonds are golden brown, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Scatter them over the cobbler.