In his Epigram VII, Plato wrote:
I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.
In Plato's day, if you threw an apple at someone, you were declaring your love for that person. And if the target of your toss caught it, it was a sign of their acceptance of that love. Today, there are over 7,500 cultivars of apples, each one unique and inviting, and I like to think of this blossoming culture of apples as a sign of our love for them.
For many of us, apple picking is a much-anticipated autumn tradition. If you've never visited the bucolic North Fork Valley of Colorado, I heartily recommend it! Especially in mid to late September, so that you can enjoy the vibrancy of the changing leaves while you pick your very own bushel of crisp apples. The North Fork Valley produces an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables, not to mention a few delicious wines, making it a delightful trip for epicureans. Most orchards will let you pick your own apples for around $1.25 a pound. Recently, I gathered 80 pounds of honey crisps in beautiful Paonia, Colorado. They may last the week—though knowing my brood, they might not...
6 medium honey crisp apples
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted ghee
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup cold butter, sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
2 cups gf flour mix
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup caramel
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
First, prepare the dough. Mix flour, salt, and sugar. Add in sliced butter until evenly distributed. Add in ice water until you have a dough. Split in half and wrap in wax paper. Put in the freezer while you prepare the rest.
Peel and core all the apples. Make sure you get all the seeds out. Set aside.
Mix currants, macadamia nuts, dates, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Add in melted butter. Mix well.
Take half the dough out of the freezer. Roll out. Wrap the apples halfway up in dough. Use your hands to shape it—pretend it's clay. Stuff the center of the apples with the mixture and let it overflow. Bring the dough up the rest of the way to meet the stuffing. Overlap the two.
Bake at 365ºF for 45 minutes.
While it is baking, in a small saucepan melt the caramel in water (you can substitute milk, if you like). Add the salt. Stir. Bring to a boil. Turn off and let sit. When you pull the dumplings out of the oven, pour the syrup over them.
Let the loving begin! Serve to those you adore and they, in turn, will adore you for your walk through the apple orchard.
Photo by Jaden Stryker