Apple desserts are a staple of fall and winter baking. And if you have the opportunity, go pick your own apples! I happen to be very lucky because I live in Minnesota where the state fruit is the Honeycrisp apple, a delicious variety developed by the University of Minnesota, and where 29 other varieties have been released by the U of M since 1888 when the apple breeding program began.
It’s a wonderful feeling to learn about different types of apples, pick your own and then head home to make some apple desserts with your bounty.
What could be better than picking your own apples and then using your bounty to make pies, cakes, crisps and applesauce?
In my new Magnolia Network show, Zoë Bakes, I had the privilege of heading about 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities to Sweetland Orchard where there are 5,000 apple trees and 100 apple varieties. Sweetland owner Gretchen Perbix showed me and my friend Stephanie March around the stunning apple orchard where we learned about new apple varieties and tasted some of Gretchen’s hard cider. It was a blast! I just love meeting the amazing people in our food community in Minneapolis.
I grew up in New England and the apples from my childhood were MacIntosh. They are deliciously tart and have a soft flesh that practically turns to applesauce on a hot day. It wasn’t until I moved to Minneapolis that my apple horizons were broadened and now I am spoiled by the riches of so many local varieties of apples.
Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin is a modern take on a French classic dessert. This twist on the classic French tarte tatin is elegant and delicious. Using apples, puff pastry, and caramel, these mini apple tarts are sure to impress.
Apples baked in buttery caramel, until the apple absorbs the caramel and turn amber. The original dessert is rustic and beautifully humble, just apples cut, placed in a pan with caramel, then baked with the curst on top and inverted. Not much to look at, but one of the most revered desserts for the rich caramelized apples and flaky pastry. On instagram I saw a version that was so elegant, but still looked equally as delicious. Perfect spirals of apples, baked in caramel and turned out onto puff pastry. HOW did they get those even continuous slices of apples. I have most pastry equipment available to home bakers, but nothing in my pantry could create this shape. A little sleuthing and I found it, my new favorite kitchen tool.
I made this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust to celebrate the milestone of having 200k amazing followers on Instagram. It’s not just any pie, but a lacy lattice pie. It looks super fancy, but really it’s simple to make with the right tools.
The tools I used to make this Apple Pie with Lacy Whole Wheat Lattice Crust:
Fall was always my favorite time of year when I was growing up in Vermont. The leaves turned into jewels hanging on the trees and that meant apple season was in full throttle.
The warm apple sauce, cider doughnuts, apple butter, and apple pies were all plentiful and made the chilling nights tolerable. To this day apple pie is my ultimate comfort food, I think it’s essential for the soul.
This Apple Almond Galette is just an apple pie without the plate or a top crust. So, it’s even easier to make than pie and I think just as beautiful in a fruit forward, rustic way.
It seemed the exact right dessert to make when JK Adams sent me a dreamy baker’s package with a rolling pin, pastry board and walnut Lazy Susan. All made by craftspeople in Dorset, Vermont.
I’ve admittedly had a certain nostalgia for all things Vermont ever since I moved to the Midwest. There is something fundamentally stalwart about that state and the handmade products (and food) that are made there. JK Adams’s obsession with quality and sustainability speak to me in a profound way and why they have a lifetime guarantee on everything they make. Most importantly, their products just feel good in my hands, which is key to baking wonderful desserts.