Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall in the Finger Lakes: Part One

Fall is here, but rather than being SAD (or suffering from season affective disorder), I'm actually quite happy about it. Fall is my favorite season. And I was lucky enough to spend the first true "fall-like" weekend wandering among the vineyards and farm stands of the Finger Lakes. It's harvest season. Around one corner, row upon row of grape vines dripping with purple-black fruit. Around the next corner, row upon row of corn stalks, some still featuring corn, others drying out in the sun. And around the next, an honor-system farm stand featuring the last of the season's tomatoes next to the first of the season's apples. And while the local grape traditions -- from stomping and pie -- abound, when it comes to baking, I have to say I prefer apples. The first-of-the-season apples were super crisp and just a little tart. I attempted to make a riff on the Dutch apple tart served at Winkel in Amsterdam, where a thick pie dough rises to encase the apples. I followed this recipe but unfortunately was a bit stingy on the dough (stretched one recipe to fit two pie plates), so the end result was more pie than cake. But luckily, apple season, like the fall, is young. So there is lots of time left to get it just right.