Jablka (apples), are the fruit of the autumn and one of our favorites to eat from the hand or make into delicious pies, cakes, dumplings, or tarts. Ted's favorite is the buttery apple pie that I make so often during the season. We also loved the delicious ways apples were served to us in Poland ... from compotes to cakes!
The first time we tasted the deliciously tart, yet sweet, local apples in Poland was at the Grochowski farm where my grandfather was born. The garden area was punctuated with an assortment of fruit trees with several kinds of apples ready to eat. The family seemed anxious to pick up every last drop and eat them on the spot. Not being sprayed with insecticides, the apples didn't have the picture-perfect look of the ones in our supermarkets, but they sure were delicious. We also came to appreciate the delicious flavor of these tree-ripened apples.
They make a delicious beverage called compote from these apples, as well as with whatever other fruit is in season. We had a different compote at each of our relatives' farms (over 12 in all). They often added currents, raspberries, and especially cherries to the apple- or pear-based drink. Although we found compote strange at first, especially since it was served warm or at room temperature, Ted especially came to love it. We even made it at home when we had an abundance of fruit. The area of south Jersey where we live is still rural, with mostly farms, much like my family's place in Poland. We have always gone to the local farms when fruits and veggies are in season, so it was fun to try our hand at compote with the bounty of the harvest.
Apple and plum cakes were often served to us when we had dinner with the family.Ted and the boys really liked these cakes, similar to but different from what we make at home. It became a challenge to search the many recipes in my Polish cookbooks for variations on apple desserts. I've included some of the ones I tried so that you might make some this fall also.
Hot Apple Compote
- 2 lbs. firm, tart apples, peeled
- 6 c. water
- approx. 6 T. sugar
- 6-10 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Cut each apple into 8 pieces. Place pieces and water in large saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat, 15 min. Add sugar to taste. Ladle hot liquid and pieces into serving cups or glasses. Add a cinnamon stick to each. makes 6-8 servings.
Ted's Favorite Apple Pie
Mix the following in a large glass pie dish:
- 21/4 c. flour
- 3 T. sugar
- 1 stick melted butter (margarine does not work!)
You may pat the rest evenly all around and up the sides of the dish, make it as even as possible.
Filling: 8-10 tart apples, peeled, sliced, and sprinkled with:
- 1/2 c. sugar
- small dash nutmeg
- larger dash cinnamon
- 2 T. minute tapioca
- 1/4 c. maple syrup
Grate the peel of one lemon over this, toss, put in pie shell, sprinkle remaining topping over it. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 min. depending on apple type.Bake on bottom shelf so bottom crust becomes crisp. Bake on cookie sheet so juices won't burn on oven.