"Nothing I like better than a baked apple."
-- Jane Austen, "Emma"
Amy Traverso has written a new cookbook all about apples. As she writes in her introduction, Traverso's love affair with apples hit an all time high when, on October 4, 2004, she married her husband in the apple orchard of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine. As their guests arrived, they served them cider made from the apples in the orchard. They set small wedding cakes on each table with tiny Lady Apples scattered around them. Traverso's bridesmaids wore shades of red and rose, and the groom and his groomsmen wore apple-green ties. The wedding favors were caramel apples. As she writes, "Really it was a harvest festival disguised as a wedding." Sounds beautiful to me!
If you've ever been to Ogunquit, Maine or to any apple orchard in the fall, you understand the poetry of the apple and what it must have meant to Amy Traverso. Apples are the very essence of fall and apple orchards and farmers' markets at this time of year are nothing short of paradise for the enthusiastic cook. Traverso's new cookbook takes us through the history of apples, lists the many varieties of apples, offers cooking tips on peeling, coring and preparing apples, and pantry notes about their storage. She gives us hundreds of recipes for both savory and sweet apple dishes. The photographs are luscious and as I looked through the book yesterday I was overcome with the urge to jump in the car and go to the market immediately and load up on some of the apples that Amy Traverso was describing.
I bought Jonagold and Golden Delicious varieties and decided to make one of the recipes from the book. I chose the Apple Brownies. Traverso describes these as very moist and having great fruit and cinnamon flavor. They are baked in a brownie pan, but the texture is much lighter than a brownie. Most importantly, they are incredibly easy. I threw the recipe together in about 20 minutes and it took 40 minutes for the brownies to bake. They filled the house with the most delicious flavors of fall.
The recipe was a success, though the brownies are a little hard to cut neatly. Because mine weren't exactly photogenic -- though delicious -- I am showing you how they look in the October issue of "Martha Stewart Living" which includes Traverso's recipe in the magazine's article about apples.
Photo and recipe via here
There are so many tempting recipes in this book. I would love to make Apple Cranberry Scones; Sweet Potato, Apple, and Ginger Soup; Squash and Apple Gratin; and Apple Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce. If you enjoy cooking with apples, you will love this cookbook. In addition to the many delicious recipes throughout, you will love Traverso's descriptions of visiting different apple orchards and farms all around the country. These short essays are at the beginning of each chapter. Amy Traverso has discovered the poetry of apples. My favorite quote may be her description of the heirloom Ashmead's Kernel apple that "tastes like champagne with honey stirred in."
If you buy this book, be prepared to rush out to the closest farmers' market to buy some Braeburn, Calville Blanc D'Hiver, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, or Pink Lady apples -- just to name a few of the heirloom apples that Traverso writes about in her inspiring new cookbook.