Wednesday Food: My Favorite Day of the Year!

 You would think being from New York, I would have visited an apple orchard at some point - not really.  I've been to many pumpkin farms that had apples, and the famous Cider Mill that had some great local apples, but never been to an orchard to pick them myself. 

Now that we live further north, for the past four years, Eric and I have made the trip out to New Gloucester, ME to Thompson's Farm to do some real serious apple picking!  Every year the farm gets bigger, the apples get better, and this year was more fantastic than the last!


Apples have always been my favorite fruit.  For nutritional reasons (tons of fiber in the skin, just one example), and because they taste so great with equal parts sweet and tart.  With so many varieties and so many ways to prepare them, they are truly a fruit of many possibilities. I will say my favorite variety was introduced to me in California, when I worked at a restaurant called Quince.  In Northern California there is a very short harvest time span and very specific to Marin County.  They were called King's and they were to die for!  But really, it's hard to say no to any apple.

Walking around in an apple orchard on a sunny day is by far the most relaxing and beautiful way to spend the day.  The crisp fall air, the heat of the sun beaming down and the beauty of apple trees all around.  It is a truly wonderful feeling.  Every year, Eric and I always talk about having our own apple orchard.  Farming of any kind is hard work but we'd like to think it would be a labor of love for the apples!

Thompson's Farm has always been such an enjoyable place to visit.  Usually we start slow and check out what goodies they have in the gift shop and bakery.  They have all sorts of crafts like crocheted doilies and handmade blankets, as well as homemade jams and jellies.  They also have a bakery where you can get doughnuts, apple dumplings, pies and of course the New England staple.....whoopie pies.  We usually get some fresh doughnuts and coffee and hang out on their rocking chairs before we head out to the orchard.

Our friend Amy having a good ole time!

We've brought many friends to Thompson's over the years and here's some of our good times.....

Kinda nice to have a snack along the way!
Our friend Brooke
My best friend Claire
Eric gets so excited about APPLES!

While pondering what good things we could make with our 30 lbs of apples, I rummaged through my recipes to see what would be a nice fall apple dessert.  One of our favorite morning treats is coffee cake and I have a great recipe that incorporates apples.  I found this gem while working in Boston at the Lenox Hotel, and was asked to make coffee cake for morning meetings.  I remember the first time I made it, just to test and see if it would fit the bill.  Thankfully, I could snack on as much as I wanted because it was hard to stop nibbling. 

This is going to be a very similar method of preparation as the cookies from last week.  So you get to apply your knowledge of the creaming method to this delicious breakfast/brunch/anytime you want dessert!

Streusel Coffee Cake 

(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)

Ingredients for Streusel
1/2c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2c. rolled oats
2t. cinnamon
1/4t. salt
1/2 stick of CHILLED unsalted butter

Ingredients for Cake
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/3c. sugar
3 eggs, room temp.
1t. vanilla extract 
3c. all purpose flour
1 1/2t. baking powder
1 1/2t. baking soda
1/2t. nutmeg
1/2t. salt
2c. plain yogurt
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1) Start by making your streusel.  Combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, cinnamon and salt.  Cut the butter up into small pieces and mix into the dry ingredients.  Do not over mix, just mix till it resembles a nice crumbly texture.  Set aside.


2) Grease your loaf pan or a 9" cake pan with a little butter and set aside
3) Let's move on to the cake.  Combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt) and set them aside


4) In a mixer with the paddle attachment (or again, you can do this by hand), cream the butter for a few minutes and then slowly add the sugar.  Let it cream for about 10 minutes


5) Add one egg at a time and scrape the sides of the bowl in between each egg you add.  Also add the vanilla


6) You are going to add the dry ingredients and the yogurt alternately.  Add 1/3 of the dry's, then half the yogurt.  Then another 1/3 dry's, the rest of the yogurt and finish with the rest of the dry's.  This is a process that has to be done carefully.  You do not want to over mix, so do this part by hand because a mixer will over work the batter.


  7) In your already greased loaf or cake pan, put half of the batter in the bottom of the pan.  Spread it out so that the batter is even.  Spread half of the chopped apple on top of the batter then sprinkle with half of the streusel.  Repeat that with the rest of the batter, streusel and apple.



8) Place on the middle rack of the oven and let bake for about an hour.  *If you are using a cake pan the bake time will be shorter.*  Or until a toothpick comes out clean.  It may get pretty brown on top but don't let that fool you.  Just cause its nice and brown doesn't mean it's cooked all the way through!

9) Let cool for about 20 minutes, then take out of the pan and let it rest till cool.



We love a good breakfast pastry at our house.  Anything to soak up the copious amount of coffee we drink!  I hope you enjoy making this coffee cake as much as I do!

And remember, when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in there and keep cooking!

-BabyStella
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