It’s autumn and the fruit is ripe for the picking. Time to head out to Bilpin to check out the orchards.
To start off, a pit stop under the oak tree.
And some refreshments.
Then, the main event.
Hubby’s height was put to great use as he picked 3 types of apples, 3 types of pears and some plums – 18kg in all – hauled it back to the car! What did I do? I took care of Bridie Beagle, who enjoyed her walk around the orchard.
I tried a recipe for spicy apple tea cake to enjoy the last of the year’s apples. With halved apples and a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg, it went down a treat.
To round off our mid-winter meal, we finished with my first ever pie – apple and blackberry. I made it using a recipe in my trusty Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook. Here it is baking in the oven.
I’m quite proud of it because I made the shortcrust pastry myself – with the help of the food processor – and also the filling. BB was a huge help – he was the apple peeler!
In the end the crust was a little burned (I put it on the top shelf at the beginning of cooking – should have been low-middle shelf), but it still tasted lovely.
Remember last year’s visit to Bilpin – the glut of apples, all ripe and ready to be picked. I was so intoxicated that I vowed to go back the following year. But things weren’t so rosy. The apples had been eaten by fruit bats. What survived their attacks had been damaged by hail weeks before. Hence the apples weren’t exactly so perfect, nor were there many to pick. BB and I however managed to pick 13kg, which were distributed to our families. There will be weeks of apple crumbles, tarts and pies to come.
Had an urge to bake one night, and the easiest thing to make was a simple tart of apples…
And of pears…
The Granny Smith apples were really too tart (pardon the pun) for such a simple tart since the only additive was a sprinkle of brown sugar. The pears though, were superb.
I was raring to use the apples that I picked on my visit to the apple orchard, and the first recipe I tried was this apple cake. It turned out very, very well, since it’s a crumble/pie/cake all-in-one. It was also enormous, and freezes well, meaning that I still have a couple of portions left for dessert.
A couple of days later I made some madeleines for the international lunch that my department was having. It’s a little vanilla/lemon cakelette from France. Now, I know that I’m not French, but in my defence I was delegated sweets to bring and I had no way of buying anything remotely South-East Asian sweets mid-week. Besides, I don’t mind being an honorary Frenchie for the afternoon if I get to spread a bit of baking joy.
Can’t help but post one more shot of autumn colour! Love the fallen leaf, probably because there isn’t an oak/maple tree in my street, and hardly even in my suburb.
I have to follow it by one more gratuitous shot of some glorious Pink Lady apples. Can’t believe how many apples I’ve eaten this week… Is there such a thing as an apple overdose?
A couple of weeks ago I talked to a friend of mine who went apple-picking in the Blue Mountains. Having never picked an apple off a tree before, I wanted to give it a try, and fortunately got the opportunity on the weekend.
We headed up to the little village of Bilpin and Pine Crest Orchard nice and early with our trusty Coles bags. There were a few Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, but the prize picks were the Pink Lady apples. There were rows and rows of trees, all laden with big, bright red fruit.
We were beside ourselves. I immediately ‘sampled’ three apples on-site – they were crispier than a, er, crisp – and then picked enough to last at least the rest of the month. Add to that a cool, sunny day, and I was in heaven. Now, I’m busy compiling a list of apple recipes. I’ve already made a simple apple tart with my Pink Ladies, and it was wonderful. Any other suggestions?