My Favorite Time of the Year

These days… oh these days! Autumn in Virginia is something special, I tell you. And I lived in Vermont for 8 years.

In Vermont, Autumn was glorious but came with a sense of impending doom. You always knew, somewhere in the back of your mind, that Winter was coming soon. Spring is the season of celebration in the North. In the South, Autumn means sweet relief: the overwhelming heat and humidity are replaced with golden days, cool breezes, and insanely gorgeous forests.

Plus, cool weather = soup, sweaters, and apples.

We went apple picking last week at Carter Mountain Orchard. Located on the same mountain as Jefferson’s Monticello, this pick-your-own orchard is definitely a tourist hot-spot this time of year (on weekends, traffic up and down its steep, gravel driveway causes traffic jams on the road below). We went on a weekday. Still busy but not insane.

Amazing view. The only place we have found to get a good overhead look at Charlottesville.

I intended to turn our apple haul into applesauce for when Baby starts on solids, but decided it would be better to use organic fruit. Carter Mountain practices “pest management”, which we are not entirely clear on but seems to be more balanced then regular generic apple growing but still definitely includes pesticide use.

So, I made apple crisp.

And then I made it again because it was delicious.This time we remembered to get ice cream and it is possible that bowls were licked clean. And then I made individual serving apple crisps for guests at the Inn. They were gobbled up in record time. The guest who had previously declined a hot breakfast at all that morning changed his mind (they smelled amazing) and split one serving with his wife. And when that was gone, they decided to split a second as well.

Now, I am fairly certain that apple crisp is just a seriously good idea in general and I can’t exactly take credit for any sort of experimental cooking creativity here. But, in light of my recent grand successes in the field, I will add a few thoughts to the internet apple crisp archives:

  1. Butter butter butter! As is generally the case in life, a decent amount of butter is a good idea here. You can cut it back, but why would you?
  2. Apples. We picked fuji and that’s what I used at home. They were great, sweet and firm. At the Inn I used a variety including macintosh and gala. I liked how the fuji kept their shape instead of getting super mushy, but that’s sort of a personal taste decision.
  3. Many recipes call for flour. I’ve used it in the past, and I included it in batch number one this year, but then I forgot it for the rest and I actually can’t say I noticed a difference.
  4. The apple peeler/corer/slicer dealio* is a fantastic invention. I have the kind that clamps to the counter. The suction cup type seems to be more readily available, but I have been told that those are sub-standard and basically an exercise in frustration.


Apple Crisp

9×9 baking dish


5-6 decent sized apples
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel, slice and chop apples – pieces should be roughly the size of a quarter. Toss apple pieces in lemon juice and white sugar.

In separate bowl, stir brown sugar into butter. Add oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix well.

Pour apples into baking dish. Crumble oat mixture on top.

Bake for roughly 30 minutes, until top is nicely browned. The longer you bake, the more your apples will cook down. Just be careful not to burn the topping.

Serve hot or cold. Ice cream is highly recommended.

*link contains my amazon affiliate code.

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