Truth be told, there’s very little I like about Fall. I am a summer gal. Summer is my happy space. Swimming and road tripping and beaches and sunny afternoons working in my outdoor office bring me JOY. Fall means back to routine and sweaters and colder temperatures. Brrr. But there are a few small pleasures even I can find in the Fall months. Apple picking. Pumpkin anything. Corn mazes, Squash. Oh and maybe Fall Boots.
Fall means it’s time to get the slow cooker fired up again, because it will be on constant rotation here. It’s also time to bake again. Fall fan, or summer lover like me, your seasonal allegiance doesn’t matter when it comes to Fall harvest season. Fresh apples, pumpkins, squash and corn. YUM!
This summer we were busy. We had the usual summer road trips and adventures. My one daughter was in a musical that took up a big chunk of our time with rehearsals and tech and dress and two solid weeks of performances. So fun was condensed between performances, at least until after the first long weekend in August. After a last minute stay in a Yurt near Wasaga Beach we called summer a wrap and came home to prepare for school.
Every Fall when my kids were small we would head to a local apple orchard to spend an afternoon picking apples, checking out the animals in their small farm, riding the adorable train ride, and hunting for pumpkins. When my youngest was little she would eat more apples than she bagged. Straight from the trees. Doesn’t get fresher than that.
Last year I was preparing for a fellowship in Zambia at this time and apple picking didn’t happen. This summer our travels have been closer to home, through Ontario and Quebec. Local love and farm fresh are both themes that resonate with me these days. For one, the older I get the more joy I find in small things. A fresh apple is pretty close to perfection in my books. In Ontario, we are rich in farm fresh apples, peaches, pears, corn, squash, soy beans and pumpkins. Local food and farm fresh food often means less travel time, less carbon impact on the environment. That matters to me and to my family.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Have you ever made apple pandowdy? #BornonTheFarm” quote=”Have you ever made apple pandowdy? #BornonTheFarm”]
Gay Lea has a local farm fresh story to tell too. Gay Lea is a dairy products cooperative that started in 1958 and is owned by dairy farmers. Their products are born on the farm and only available in Ontario and that’s what sets them apart.
After my younger daughter had her binders bought for back to school and her backpack ready to go, we drove to Apple Land for the afternoon to search out apples for a recipe I had in mind. Lately she’s showing an interest and eye for photography so she came prepared with her selfie stick and I let her shoot with my Sony camera. She’s also been torturing me with talk of Apple Pandowdy. More about that in a minute.
The corn maze at the farm preoccupied us for at least an hour. There are separate rooms and clues and a Minion theme this year. And there are a couple of new new varieties of apples including – Zestars – which are not quite ready yet. I might have snuck one anyways. Together we enjoyed spending a late summer, almost Fall day, getting inspired by our surroundings.
So, back to the Apple Pandowdy. This summer the musical Ainsley was in featured a joke in which apple pandowdy, or apple pan dowdy, (you can spell it either way) was sort of the punchline. So several days after the musical closed I heard her talking about apple pandowdy. I think one of us, or maybe two, said: “What even is that?” So we did what we always do and we googled it. Then we went to the apple orchard, talked to some of the farm staff, gathered the supplies and came home to bake some.
- 4 pounds of apples - peeled and cored and diced.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 11 tablespoons of Gay Lea unsalted sticks of butter.
- 1 teaspoon of water
- ⅙ cup of apple cider or juice
- ¾ cup of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of white sugar
- 1 cup of all purpose flour (and a bit extra to sprinkle on the cutting board and hands when rolling it out)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Start with the dough.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of Gay Lea unsalted butter in a blender on lower setting.
- Add the flour and the salt.
- Blend and then add 6 more tablespoons of Gay Lea unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon of water slowly.
- Remove dough from the mixer.
- Dust your cutting board or surface with flour. Coat your hands in it too.
- Roll it out thin with rolling pin. Continue to add flour to the surface so dough doesn't stick.
- Wrap dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for about one hour. You can fold it in half if you want.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife. (Alternatively roll into spoon sized amounts)
- Return dough to the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Bake dough in the oven on wax paper or parchment paper 5 minutes only at 350. Just to give it a bit of structure. This is optional. You can skip it and just add the raw dough straight to the recipe. I found that a bit doughy, so I baked some slightly because I liked it better that way.
- Remove from oven.
- Wash, peel and core the apples. Dice them. Place them in a bowl.
- Add remainder of the butter, brown sugar, and spices along with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Add cider or juice. If it looks too watery then pull back on the liquid and don't add as much.
- Mix the apple mixture together until apples seem coated.
- In a low casserole dish or deep pie dish add some of the apple mixture then layer a few pieces of the dough. Repeat until you used up all the apple mix.
- Top with dough squares, or balls, in haphazard pattern.
- Put 1 -2 more teaspoons of butter on top of the entire dish as long as it is in small pieces.
- Sprinkle granulated sugar on the top lightly.
- Bake covered over for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Stir gently and return to oven for 25 -30 more minutes without a lid on so it will brown up.
- Serve. Add ice cream if you want...Be sure to scoop through to the bottom to get all of that caramel good apple flavour!
Apple Pandowdy is More than a Punchline:
Did you know Apple Pandowdy is mentioned in this old song Shoe Fly Pie and Apple Pandowdy? It’s true. One of the cashiers working at Apple Land almost broke into song when Ainsley asked her if she had ever made apple pandowdy. Apple pandowdy is just one of the amazing ways you can bake with fresh apples this Fall. This Apple Pandowdy recipe relies on a lot of butter measured out carefully. That’s why I chose the Gay Lea butter sticks.
Gay Lea is a butter you can trust, because it’s made from only one ingredient – cream. And only in Ontario.
What’s your favourite Fall fruit or vegetable?
I created this post as a paid ambassador with Gay Lea Foods and PTPA for 2017. My opinion is all my own and it is truthful. I only work with brands I love and use.