Monday, October 5, 2015

National Apple Betty Day (aka Who Knew My Home Could Smell This Good?!)

For a person who doesn't do a lot of baking, I'm being set up to do a lot of baking. 

Awhile back it was Cherry Turnover Day.  Turns out I only needed, like, 3 or 4 ingredients.  Simple enough.  Then it was National Homemade Cookie Day.  OK - I could handle that...mostly.  But now it's Apple Betty Day.  I don't even know what an Apple Betty is!  Seriously. 

(Thank goodness for the internet)

Come to find out an Apple Betty looks like an cobbler or a crisp or something I've seen before. Cool.  I can handle that.  Plus, it's only 7 ingredients and includes room for erroneous measuring.  I can DEFINITELY handle that.  I also learned that an Apple Betty actually is different than an Apple Crisp or Apple Crumble.  They all seem the same, but each has the slightest variation from the other.  An Apple Crumble is a baked apple dish with an oat based streusel sprinkled and baked on top; whereas an Apple Crisp is the exact same dish, but with no oats in the topping.  Meanwhile, an Apple Betty has the same streusel topping as a crisp (so no oats), but there is a layer of the topping under the fruit as well as on top.

Pretty cool, huh?

However, none of this is going to help me when I come to find out that I have absolutely no apples in my house. 

Easiest thing to do would be to head on over to the nearest grocery store for a bushel of apples....

Pfft!  Where's the fun in that?

It's a lovely autumn day, the weather is awesome, the car fueled up and ready to go. So instead of a 20 minute drive to the store, we're off to get our apples before they end up in the bin.  Before they have stickers put on them.  Heck, before they're even pulled off the tree!

We're going apple picking!!!!

With caffeine in hand and husband behind the wheel, we make our way to lovely Oak Glen, California. 

There are at least a dozen different u-pick apple, pear, pumpkin and berry farms out in Oak Glen; each one is just as great as the next; but we decide to stop at Riley's Apple Farm.

The property is expansive and gorgeous. 

And not only do they grow apples, but also pumpkins, pears and gorgeous flowers to pick and take home:

But we're here for the apples, so we get to pickin'!

Armed with bag in hand, we hit the orchards.

Apple picking season has been in full bloom the past couple of weeks, but there are still plenty of trees to pick from.  The fun is in the hunt for just the right apple.  And though Riley's grows a wide variety of apples, not all are available at one time.  Today's selection includes Golden Delicious:

Red Fuji:

and Standard Delicious:

The air is so crisp and clean up here - I swear there are some areas where I can actually smell cinnamon and nutmeg amongst the trees.  And such a fun atmosphere; kids are running from tree to tree trying to grab the perfect apple just out of reach, parents laughing and taking pictures of the merriment.  And you can make a whole day of this - there's not just apples and pears to be picked.  There are activities including candle making, archery, tomahawk throwing and hay rides.

With our bag filled our bag to the brim, we make our way back home.  Apparently arriving early is the key - by the time we leave, the parking lot is filled, and there are cars parked for miles along the roadway.

Once home, I unload our bag of apples on the counter and proceed to prep them for baking.

Somehow it didn't seem like I had quite this many apples when I was looking at them in the bag.  Hmmm.  Apparently I will be keeping the doctor away for the next several months.

Apple Betty:

  • 4 cups sliced pared apples *see step three before you start paring and slicing

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1 cup sugar (you can use granulated, white or a combination of both)

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick - cold)


1)  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.


2)  Take the butter and generously grease a pie dish or ramekin.  When finished, cut it into smallish pieces and put in a bowl.  Set aside.

3)  Pour the orange juice into a separate bowl.  As you pare and slice your apples, place them in the bowl with the juice.  The acidity in the citrus will keep your apples from turning brown too soon.  These can hang out for a moment while you finish creating the topping.

4)  Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl with the butter.  Using a fork or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a nice crumbly texture. 


5)  Sprinkle some of the sugar topping into the bottom of your baking dish.  Next, remove the apples from the juice and pile them into the dish. 


6)  Cover the apples with the remaining topping.

7)  Bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown.

And that's it.  The perfect dish to complete an exciting fall day out in the orchards.  From tree to table in one day.  How often can you do that?  I can pretty much guarantee you won't have this type of shopping experience with your kids at the store around the corner. 

Well....maybe the tomahawk throwing.  Depends on if someone is trying to sneak 17 items in the 15 or fewer line.

**recipe adapted from