Fall Flavors: Apple Picking and Oktoberfest Menu Ideas

A few weeks into Autumn. The air is crisp, but not too cold. The leaves are changing and starting to fall. But the weather isn’t the only thing that is changing. Our taste in food changes a little bit as well. Fall flavors like apple, pumpkin and cinnamon are what we crave. Fall festivals like Oktoberfest offer mouthwatering menus we look forward to every year. Learn about the flavors of fall with these articles on apples and Oktoberfest.

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American As Apple Pie: The Apple’s Journey to America
For a country that’s second in the world in apple production, a nation with a proud idiom like “American as apple pie,” it’s odd to learn that all these apples weren’t around when colonists first settled on American soil. The apple’s journey to America is a curious one, intertwined with colonial tastes, the founding fathers and even a popular legend or two. Read on to learn more about the apple’s deep roots in our American history.

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What to Put On Your Oktoberfest Menu
With summer barbecues in our past and holiday parties ahead of us, we’re in that wonderful fall transitional period. Oktoberfest is to us what trick-or-treating is for the little ones. But you don’t have to pack your travel pillow and get on a 10-hour flight to take part in the festival. You can have your own fest at home. You know that beer is a must, but you need some snacks to go with it. Here’s what to put on your Oktoberfest menu.

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Apple Picking Guide
It’s that time of year when apples taste the sweetest and farms open to the public for apple picking. It is one of those fall activities for which everyone should set aside a crisp day and leave behind the cheap toys and chores to celebrate the beautiful autumn season. Here’s a quick guide to picking the best apples this fall.

Apple Dumpling Day: Recipe for Apple Dumplings

Apple-DumplingIt is National Apple Dumpling Day! If your only encounter with apple dumplings was The Apple Dumpling Gang, your idea of an apple dumpling might be misguided. An apple dumpling has nothing to do with orphans, golden nuggets or Don Knotts; it’s an Amish baked treat that can easily be substituted for an apple pie. It’s perfect for the cool fall weather and make a great holiday dessert.

Here’s how you make them.

For the Dough:

  • 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 6 TB cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 TB cold milk

(As an alternative, you can use a 9” store-bought pie crust)

IMG_4666Directions:

With a fork, mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and, with your hands, squeeze the butter and flour mixture together to distribute the butter. Keep working the mixture until you have what looks like lumpy cornmeal. Make a well in the flour. Pour the cold milk into the well. Using a fork, gently bring the wet and dry ingredients together until it’s just combined. Bring it all together to form a loose ball. Cover it in plastic and refrigerate it for one hour.

For the filling:

  • 3 or 4 baking apples (Granny Smith, Jona Gold, Cortland, Gala), peeled and cored (the smaller, the better)
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice mixed with enough water to cover the apples (it keeps the peeled apples from browning)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB butter, cut into cubes
  • Cinnamon and sugar for garnish (optional)

IMG_4668Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

With your hands, work together the butter, sugars and cinnamon until you have what looks like wet sand.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8” thick.Put one apple in the center of the dough and cut a t-shape out of the dough — each arm of the “t” should be as wide as the apple.

Apple-DumplingFor three apples, stuff ⅓ of the sugar mixture inside the apple and along the arms of the “t.” Bring one arm at a time to the top of the apple and cut off any excess dough. Squeeze together the dough to seal it. Garnish it with dough cutouts and sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon and sugar on top if you want.

Using the dough scraps, repeat the process for the remaining apples. Place the apples in an oven-safe dish. Bake the apples at 375°F for ten minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 25 minutes or until the dough is nicely browned.

IMG_4673Serve immediately. Apple dumplings go well with vanilla ice cream and coffee.