Monday, October 8, 2012

New Cookbook for Fall

"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.  


  1. I've really been enjoying apples this fall. If you don't already have your hands full with this book and are looking for one more apple recipe, I'd highly recommend the apple, cheddar, and onion hand pies from the blog Reading My Tea Leaves: They're one of my favorite things that I've made recently.

  2. Sunday, I brought home apples from the market this afternoon. I cut one up as soon as I got home having missed lunch today. It was so aromatic and delicious. Thanks for reviewing the cookbook and sharing it with us. I may need to bake apple brownies in the near future. Have a wonderful weekend. Bonnie

  3. This book sounds delicious. I made some apple & oat biscuits this weekend. Sadly the apple tree in our garden hasn't quite the apple crop of last year this year.

  4. Ohhhh, sounds like another cookbook for my growing collection. This one could very likely come via my husband, an apple lover from way back. Thanks for the review!

  5. Can't wait to get my hands on that cookbook!

  6. Sunday,

    This cookbook looks fabulous, as you know from my recent post I love apples! These brownies sound delicious!

    It is so nice to bake with the flavors and fruits of the season.

    Thank you for the recommendation, Elizabeth

    Love the roses are they from your garden?

    1. Elizabeth, thank you. I bought them from my neighborhood flower shop. I couldn't resist those colors! You will enjoy this cookbook, it's got lots of great dessert recipes for fall.

  7. Apple pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts and I am very fond of other recipes that use apples. I'll have to suggest that my library purchase this - it sounds like something many people would enjoy this fall!

  8. Honeycrisp is one of the newer apple varieties that I just love and highly recommend! But it has a short span of availability. Hopefully, as the number of growers increase, we'll have a plentiful supply. It makes great fresh applesauce.

  9. Oh, I am getting this cookbook pronto. Thank you, thank you.

  10. Hi Sunday, You certainly added a writer's eloquence to the post of the simple apple. Mind you I don't really think of them as simple but so versatile. I think the description of the harvest disguised as a wedding is charming. I want to do a display of apples for fall so your apple post has inspired me to start thinking about it. The new cookbook sounds delightful, full of wonderful recipes. The apple brownies look delicious.

    The French Hutch

  11. Why does everything look so much better when you blog about it? You made me so hungry for apples and inspired for cooking. One of my favorite recipes is from an apple cookbook called "Apples: A country Garden Cookbook" by Christopher Idone. There is a great recipe for Swiss Macaroni with Melted Gruyere and Apple Compote.

  12. Judie, my dear friend! You just put the biggest smile on my face. I want to borrow your apple cookbook, can we do an exchange next time we get together? xxoo Sunday

  13. My grandmother often made baked apples and the quote and post makes me miss her, and also baked apples. The cookbook sounds fantastic.

  14. Last week I volunteered in my son's class and helped 30 five and six year olds make baked apples (apples with cinnamon, sugar, flour, butter and oats). They smelled delicious and a wonderful way to welcome autumn. This cookbook looks wonderful for some grown up recipes!

  15. Sunday, I read this yesterday then went off on an adventure in my mind and on my computer, finding the recipe and the book as I thought about a young woman who takes care of our garden club meetings at the Mansion each month. Several hours passed and I realized I didn't come back to comment. Sigh The young woman is getting married next year in an apple orchard and I know I must get this book for her as a small gift. Of course, I will be making this recipe, soon, as I just came home with another bushel of apples from an orchard I stop at in the fall on my way down through WI. Thank you.