My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.”
-An excerpt from Robert Frost’s poem “After Apple Picking”
I spent this past weekend at my parent’s house in northern Wisconsin. We cleared their cross-country ski trails of fallen tree branches in preparation for the winter. It felt great to breathe some fresh air and walk in the woods…as much as I love Duluth, I get homesick for the boonies sometimes.
While I was there, my mom was given an enormous basket of apples by some friends. We made an apple-pie and some German Apple Pancakes with them, but there were still apples left after that. My mom showed me how to peel and core the apples using the handy little contraption in the photos below…
This old-fashioned apple-peeler worked so well! It sliced the apples into perfect spirals. We packed the slices into plastic bags, sucked the air out of the bags using straws, and threw them in the freezer where they’ll sit until our next apple-pie craving.
My parents have a huge garden, which is fed by their huge compost pile. Composting is something I have not been brave enough to try in the city yet. I’m afraid it will attract pesky city critters like skunks. But it is an excellent way to fortify your soil, and composting reduces the amount of waste each of us sends to the landfill. In fact, up to 30% of the material we send to landfill is organic and could be composted at home.
…So I returned to Duluth resolving to figure out a way to safely compost in our backyard. Expect a post about this endeavor in the near future. And if you have any tips about urban compost piles, please share!
I’ll leave you today with my mom’s German Apple Pancake recipe, which is a great twist on regular old pancakes. This recipe originally came from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, but has been modified over the years by my mom. Gut essen!
German Apple Pancake:
3 large eggs
¾ cup milk
¾ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ T. butter
½ c. thinly-sliced apples
1 lb. tart, fresh apples
¼ cup melted butter
¼ c. sugar
powdered cinnamon and nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 450º. Beat together the eggs, milk, flour and salt until very smooth. Add the thinly-sliced apples.
In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt about 1 ½ T. butter. As soon as it is quite hot, pour in the batter and put the skillet in the oven. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350º and continue baking for another 10 minutes. The pancake should be light brown and crisp.
During the first 10 or 15 minutes of baking, the pancake may puff up in large bubbles. If it does, pierce it all over with a fork.
While the pancake is baking prepare the apple filling. Peel and thinly slice a pound of apples. Sauté them lightly in a ¼ cup of butter and add ¼ cup sugar. Season to taste with cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook about 8 to 10 minutes – the apples should be just tender, not too soft.
When the pancake is ready, slide it onto a platter, pour the apple filling over one side, and fold the other side over. (Or, just pour the filling over the top and cut the pancake in wedges to serve.)
Serve at once, with plenty of warm (real) maple syrup.