Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Was a lovely weekend once again, with sun and a cool breeze and time out in the wild. Something about autumn where the more I can get out to the fields and forest, the better. It has to do with the light, and the colors and smells, of course. Rich musky scents of leaves and dried grasses, burning wood and moist earth and cool. It’s the most constant season. You never know about the spring or summer or winter, but autumn is steadfast. It smells like old memories, my friend Angela says. And she’s right.
Went out to an orchard a few days ago, and after I’d eaten a few apples I took a walk through a meadow, and up along a ridge. Like Paradise, it was; there were blueberries, raspberries, black walnut trees with ripe fruit falling, and there were pear trees, and apple trees scattered down the valley and up the hill. The owner was selling fresh tomatoes and squash of all kinds, and there were bluebells in bloom, and pansies, and buttercups, too.
I brought home half pecks of Wealthys and Cortlands for a couple of pies, and as many honeycrisps for Mr. S to eat. An acorn squash, too, for dinner, and a hay bale for a little deal I want to do outside. (I know people think I’m a dingbat for doing this, but I like making an autumn scene from a novel out in front each year, and this year I have yet to decide but a hay bale always comes in handy.) It’s something I’ve always done, something the kids will expect when they come home for break, something the neighbors look forward to. And I enjoy it.
I enjoy baking with apples, too, and when there’s no time for pie, I make apple crisp, or apple cake, which I made last night with some of those orchard apples, the Cortlands, and while it baked I whipped up some cream with a bit of sugar. Sure enough, Mr. S came walkin’ in. “Smells like heaven in here,” he said, and I smiled. “Feels like it, too,” I said. I was standing at the sink, and could see his reflection in the window in front of me, and beyond it the sun, sinking earlier last night than it did the night before, down past the valley where the apple trees grow.
Something new to try, and something tried and true to try again. This cheesecake is great for entertaining, while the apple cake works for breakfast, snacks, or an evening treat. Whipped cream optional, as most things are.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
2 cups crushed graham crackers
¼ cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
2 8oz blocks cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
12oz Cool Whip
2-3 red and/or green apples
Your favorite caramel sauce
Mix first three ingredients and press into a 9 x 13 cake pan.
Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar, and fold in Cool Whip.
Spread over crust. Refrigerate an hour or two.
Top with diced apple, and drizzle caramel sauce over.
Apple Pie Cake
Cream ½ cup butter and 2 cups sugar.
Add 2 eggs and 1 t. vanilla. Beat.
Add 2 cups flour, 1 t. cinnamon, and ½ t. salt.
Mix 1 heaping t. soda and 4 T hot water.
Add and stir. Fold in 4 cups chopped apples
And ½ cup chopped walnuts. (Nuts are generally optional)
Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9×13 cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.
Serve warm with Cool Whip or ice cream or plain.