What to do with the bag of Gala apples that the in-laws have left to languish at the shared cottage? Fortunately, we have a copy of James Beard’s bread book kicking around as well… so, I begin with:
1: Raw Apple Bread with Walnuts and Lemon Zest
Beard on Bread (1981) says: “A rather unusual baking powder bread that you will find delightfully textured and interesting in color and flavor. It keeps very well and, as a matter of fact, will be better if left to mature for at least 24 hours. It is a fine bread to give as a gift. [1 large loaf]”
½ cup butter or margarine (I used Olivina, cause that’s what we had on hand)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp double-acting baking powder (I assumed he just meant regular b.p.)
2 Tbsp buttermilk or soured milk (I used 2% plain yogurt, thinned with a little milk)
1 cup coarsely chopped, unpeeled apples
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract or grated lemon rind (lemon highly recommended)
Cream the butter or margarine, add the sugar slowly, and continue to beat until light and lemon colored. Beat in the eggs. Sift the flour with the salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the apples, nuts, and vanilla or lemon rind.
Butter a 9 or 10 X 5 X 3-inch loaf tin. (Instead, I lined the ancient pyrex pan with parchment paper and it worked out perfectly). Spoon the batter into the tin and bake in a preheated 350 oven 50-60 minutes, until the loaf pulls away slightly from the sides of the tin or until a straw or cake tester inserted in the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then loosen from the pan and turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.
Small crisis: this new IKEA oven is a Celsius only beast. I’m told by math-oriented 17 year old that to convert you should subtract 30 and divided by 2. No internet here, so I have to go with it. 160 degrees Celsius.
Variation: Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp chopped nuts on top of the batter before baking.
I have to disagree with Beard, though: this loaf is most delicious while still a bit warm from the oven, when it is fluffy with a slightly crispy crust.
Now, one cup of chopped fruit consumes only 3 of the less tired-looking apples. The rest of these candidates for composting I make into applesauce.
2: Chunky Applesauce — an approximation
Peel and chop remaining apples, cutting out any bad bits.
Place in medium sized pot and add a bit of water (not quite to cover, but enough to start the cooking process).
Sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon, to taste.
Bring to boil on high heat; then simmer on low for about an hour with the lid on. As they soften, mash some of the apples with a wooden spoon, but accept that this will be an applesauce with character.
Add more water as needed – these winter-storage Galas were on the dry side, so I had to add another cup or so.
The verdict of my hungry cottagers:
The five-year old was delighted with the unsweetened applesauce. My frugal spouse was clearly pleased with my unusual display of home economy. And, best of all, my seventeen-year-old stepson admitted that the apple bread was delish.