At the end of October, I went to visit my parents and while it is always extra special to have the whole family together, I’ve really come to enjoy my “me” time with the two of them. Dad and I cheered on the Giants for Game 7 of the World Series, I got to catch up on some of my “girly” television shows and make some holiday pumpkin crafts with mom, and all of us laughed hysterically at the antics of the two baby kittens they recently rescued. As is always the case, our time together ended all to soon, and as I was getting ready to leave, mom loaded me up with my “care package” which this time included some dried apples and Cudighi (italian sausage) my dad made, and a supply of adorable apples they’d picked from their apple tree. Although it was well past the typical harvest season, the tree was still loaded with fruit!
During my drive home, I started snacking on the dried apples and the old potato chip ad popped briefly into my head. You know, the one with the tagline, “No one can eat just one!” Well, those dried bits of apple goodness were absolutely delicious and, “No, I couldn’t eat just one!” I literally had to close up the bag and toss it in the waaayyyy back part of my suv to stop myself from eating the whole ding dang thing! As I continued on the road, my mind began to wander thinking about apples and then it popped in to my head to make a caramel sauce to dip them in. Then one thing led to another and the next morning I photographed the cute lil’ apples and thought the pictures were so simple yet pretty that I decided to feature them in my fall promo.
I luv to photograph fruit (and veggies) in as close to their natural form as possible and I’m always looking for ones that still have their leaves attached. I think it helps add a sense of “realness” to the photograph but they are not easy to find. I hand picked this “hero” off my parent’s tree and think it is a perfect little apple.
The apples on the right are the few that survived my trip home. They are absolutely fabulous eaten on their own and when dipped in the caramel sauce, are like a smooth, buttery textured (not crunchy) caramel apple… so good!
recipe: dad’s delicious dried apples yield: 3 cups
12 medium-size apples, peeled and cored
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Slice apples 3/8” thick. Place slices in a medium bowl, cover with lemon juice and let soak for 3 minutes.
Arrange slices in food dehydrator and process for 4-5 hours at 135 degrees or until apples are leathery, but pliable.
Place dried apples in a freezer bag, add cinnamon and shake bag until apples are lightly coated (optional).
note: if you do not have a food dehydrator, place apple slices on an oven-safe cooling rack, place rack on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 225 degrees for 6-8 hours or until apples are leathery, but pliable. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 30 minutes before serving or storing.
Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Serve plain or with caramel sauce.
recipe: caramel sauce yield: 2 cups
1 1/2 cups Baker’s (superfine) sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 pats
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Add the vanilla to the cream and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cover and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high. Boil uncovered until the sugar turns a light to golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and gradually add the cream/vanilla, careful to avoid splattering. Mixture will be very hot! Simmer on low heat until the caramel dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, completely incorporating each pat into the sauce before adding more. Let cool and pour into jars. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.