Cinnamon apple fritters. Photo / Annabel Langbein Media
Near the end of Hollyford Track, about 5km inland from Martins Bay, in the dark, lingering remains of Jamestown, there remains an old apple tree. It’s more lichen than tree, proof of excess
and the endless rain that has doomed this paper village of years of gold mining. Nothing else that was brought here seems to have survived – the visions of fishing, timber, agriculture and shipbuilding that led to the creation of the city in such an inhospitable place have not factored in the atrocious weather and terrific bar at the mouth of Hollyford. River.
I don’t know if this tenacious apple tree has ever borne fruit, but its mere existence here in this cursed place speaks to the incredible genetic diversity of this pome fruit, such that it can survive in so many different climates. If you had bet on anything when Jamestown was founded, it might have been for an apple tree.
Some plants grow from seed, the apple does not. If you were to plant the five to eight seeds found in the core of an apple, you would end up with that many kinds of apples. Some of them may taste good, but they may also be sour or mealy, tiny, crunchy, or even not look like an apple. Some apples have naturally waxy skins and therefore store well, others like the glorious Golden Delicious which have very thin skins are best right off the tree as they lose their crunch very quickly.
In my Wānaka garden I have a beautiful and prolific early season Akane apple, also known as Tokyo Rose (Akane is the Japanese word for red), which has the deepest red skin and firm flesh, sweet and whiter than white. Until I found out it was an Akane apple, I used to call it a sleeping beauty apple, it’s so perfect to look at and so good to eat – but only at the exact point of maturity. It is better to pick the whole tree and give the fruit, because even after a few days it loses something.
Depending on your tastes, whether you like your apples crisp or tender, sweet or tart, or a mix of the two, almost any apple is good to eat fresh (old-fashioned baking apples are the exception, they tend to be too firm to be juicy and super sour).
For an apple with lots of flavor and zest to use in baking that will hold its shape, opt for a Braeburn, Granny Smith or Golden Delicious. For a crunchy sweetness to enjoy as a snack or in a salad, you’ll need a Red Delicious, Gala, Jazz or Envy – or one of the new table apple varieties on the market – all designed for their taste qualities. superior.
Granny Smith and Braeburn are also good for snacking, and as mentioned above, Golden Delicious and Akane are great apples to eat when really fresh.
For an apple that will crumble into a chewy mash, go for Bramley, Gravenstein or Ballarat and, if you can find them, the giant Peasgood Nonsuch apple (yes, that’s really its name). It’s a great apple to eat when fresh, but it also cooks to an airy fluff. I bottle jars and jars in the fall, a single apple will fill an entire 1 liter jar.
Here are some easy ways to appreciate this legendary fruit, a symbol of love, beauty and wisdom.
Cinnamon apple fritters
These are so much more gourmet little donuts. I prefer to cut the fruit into matchsticks so they cook quickly and make delicate donuts rather than big slices. It is best to eat them hot, as soon as they are cooked. You can also drizzle them with runny honey or dust them with icing sugar.
Ready in 35 minutes
For 6 to 8 people
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 pinch of salt
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 apples, such as Granny Smith, Braeburn or Golden Delicious
Neutral oil, for frying
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, orange zest and salt.
Lightly whisk egg, milk and vanilla in a small bowl, then stir in dry ingredients until well blended. The batter should be thick but should fall easily from a spoon.
Add a little more liquid if it seems too thick. It can be covered and refrigerated for a few hours at this point.
To make the cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small jar.
When ready to cook, core the unpeeled apples and cut them into matchsticks. Stir into batter. Heat about 3 cm of neutral oil in a pot. Using two forks, lift about 5 or 6 apple matchsticks from the batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl (you want the donut to be an irregular shape, with a very light coating of dough). Plunge into hot oil.
Cook several donuts at once without crowding the pan. Fry until golden brown on the base (about 2-3 minutes) then flip to cook the other side.
Use a slotted spoon to remove cooked donuts from oil, shake off excess oil and transfer to paper towels. Fry the remaining donuts in batches. Pile into a serving bowl, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.
Apple and radicchio salad
This traditional French salad is so simple, but never fails to deliver.
Ready in 20 minutes
For 4 people
1-2 handfuls of radicchio, torn
8 handfuls of chopped endives
6 radishes, thinly sliced
3 apples, thinly sliced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of mustard
½ teaspoon of honey
To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
To assemble the salad, arrange all the ingredients on a serving platter. Arrange just before serving and season to taste.
Nonna’s Baked Apples
A baked apple filled with spiced dried fruit is such a timeless dessert. The sweet and spicy topping offsets the tartness of the apples, and a scoop or two of cool, creamy ice cream is the perfect partner.
Ready in about 1h15
For 4 people
4 tart apples, Granny Smith or Braeburn type
¼ cup raisins or raisins or 8 pitted dates
2 tablespoons sweet brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup boiling water
¼ cup golden syrup
4 teaspoons of butter
Ice cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C rotating heat.
Remove the cores from the apples in a clean cork. Use a paring knife to enlarge each cavity to 2½ m in diameter. Score the skin around the circumference of each apple with a sharp knife (this allows them to split cleanly around the middle as they cook).
Mix dried fruits, sugar and spices. Stuff the apples and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Pour hot water and golden syrup around the apples, sprinkle the tops with butter and bake until they are wrinkled and soft and starting to puff up in the middle (45-60 minutes depending on the size of the apples) .
Serve with ice, if desired.
Associate them with
Soljans Fusion Sparkling Moscato ($19)
If the cork pops off a bottle of this and you’re an apple donut, I’d be very scared. With its creamy, silky foam and taut, tangy freshness, this wine deserves to be a national treasure. Not only because it is deliciously sweet, but also because the intensity of the fruit is so clean, defined and pure. Fans of sparkling moscato and asti will love this ultra-tasty, sorbet-like wine. Made from 100% Muscat grapes grown in Gisborne, I am always very impressed with its lifted aromas, fresh fruit and long refreshing finish. And at a modest 8.4%, it won’t send you sideways.
Apple and radicchio salad
Forrest Estate Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2022 ($28)
Radicchio can be difficult to pair with wine due to its inherent bitterness – but just add a little sweetness to the apple, and it starts to soothe and smooth things out. Then you might want to wash it down with the tangy zest of green apple and lime that a glass of this chenin blanc injects and suddenly you’ve got something great in balance and flair. Think of this salad and chenin combo like the Hudson and Halls, Jason and Thingee, or Jools and Lynda of spring food and wine.
Nonna’s Baked Apples
Scoundrels and Rogues Cold Shoulder Ice Cider 2019 375ml ($14.50)
If there’s anything healthier to sip with these fluffy donuts than this luxurious caramel apple treat made from frost-concentrated Fuji, Braeburn and Jazz apples, then I’ll be drenched in ass drops. The intensely sweet juice is then fermented and matured in old oak barrels for 6 months, to inject smoky complexity and the result is essentially a 10% apple liqueur or apple dessert wine – you get the idea. A sip or seven of this luscious thing will only add fabulousness to your baked apple game.
Liquorland Forest Hill, regionalwines.co.nz or scoundrelsandrouges.com