Crisp autumn afternoon, where its a little cool in the shade and warm in the sun; it was the quintessential New England Sunday. Some of the leaves are letting go of their branches and swirling colors across the windshield as we head to Sudbury for our bounty. Spencers, Empires, Macoun and Cortlands filled the awkwardly sized bags.
Apple picking at the Honey Pot Hill Orchards, was more than I expected. I grew up visiting Apple Acres in Windham, NH; an orchard that feels like a back yard garden in comparison. With a gathering of barnyard creatures, pumpkin patches, plus fields and fields of hilly orchards, Honey Pot is almost overwhelming. One fellow picker aptly named it "the Disneyland of apple picking."
While it will never be the apple picking of my youth, they do sell unpasteurized cider - which is amazing, delicious and so hard to find. I started getting excited, plotting the dishes and recipes for all of my apples. Then came the smell of the cider donuts. It was like walking into an invisible cloud of amazing. And all of a sudden I started to tear up. I felt foolish, who cries over donuts?!
To be honest, I even hesitated posting about it, but the feelings are real, true and something that even seasoned ____-free eaters face now and again. Giving up on special, seasonal and holiday foods is given up on some parts of the shared experiences of making, sharing and eating them.
In the midst of my missing chomping down on a crisp and delicate donut, I popped inside the shop and grabbed a honey stick. A few moments later, a friend emerged through the same door with an apple for me. We had just spent over an hour picking over 40lbs pounds of apples, but there were no Mutsus - my favorite pomme - to pluck. By the time I realized that the over sized, green and gold gem was too big to fit in my pocket, I was smiling again. Good friends rule.
Once home I became really excited about making a crisp in my newly acquired old Pyrex. (I love old Pyrex!) I was slightly sidetracked till last night, but here she is:
The crumble topping needs some work. I have been trying out a new blend of flours: sweet rice, millet, corn starch, potato starch and tapioca starch. The flours are going well, but the crisp itself was too sweet and the apples were cut too small and half of them turned mushy. (I like a crisp crisp with chunks of apples.) So, its a bit of an experiment, but I am excited to have gluten free oats at my disposal - I am storing those bad boys in a zip-top bag in the freezer to help prevent them from going rancid. The combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice is great, but I think it needs a small hint of cloves, less sugar and more apples. Its a work in progress. (Yes, I ate apple crisp for breakfast and I don't care who knows about it.)
Be sure, that my autumnal goal of perfecting gf cider donuts has only been strengthened! I am pretty excited about having to get my hands, specifically my fingers, dirty to perfect a batch of fried-to-perfection, crispy, soft, fluffy and delicious donuts. I can almost smell them.