Apple of My Eye

Recipes for Virginia’s fall bounty.

Photo by Fred Turko

Now through Thanksgiving is the time to pick apples in Virginia. Visit your local orchard, and try these recipes with your harvest.

Apple Fried Pies

4 cups all purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup lard

¾-1 cup ice water

6 Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons butter

zest of 1 lemon

½ cup brown sugar

2 ⅓ cups sugar

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons cane syrup (can substitute honey, molasses or maple syrup)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 ¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 egg

Mix flour and salt together using pastry blender or fingers. Rub lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add water ¼ cup at a time, until dough comes together but isn’t too sticky. Shape into a large disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two days.

Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Slice the quarters to about ¼-inch thick. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add apples, lemon zest, brown sugar, ⅓ cup of the sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and cane syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples become tender but not mushy.

Combine cornstarch, vanilla extract, and bourbon, then stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir into the hot apples and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool (this filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated).

Mix together remaining sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and set aside for dusting pies after cooking.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a large circle about ⅛-inch thick. Cut into smaller circles 6 inches across. Repeat with remaining dough (rolling out scraps) to make 10 circles total.

Mix egg with one teaspoon of water, then with a pastry brush smooth egg wash around outer edge of pastry circle. Place ¼ cup of apple filling in the center, then carefully fold the dough over the filling. Make sure no filling touches the rim of the dough. Crimp edges together firmly.

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry pies, one or two at a time, leaving room for them to float freely in the oil. Cook until crisp and lightly browned, about 8 to 9 minutes.

Remove pies to drain on paper towels, then roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Makes 10 hand pies

Butterscotch Apple Tartlets with Ginger Crème Anglaise

Photo by Erik Johnson

6 ounces butterscotch schnapps (such as DeKuyper ButterShots)

½ cup light brown sugar

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4-5 apples (such as Golden Delicious or Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and sliced

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 teaspoons all purpose flour


6 removable-bottom tartlet pans lined with pâté sucrée (sweetened short pastry) or favorite pie crust and blind baked (baked before its filled)

6 teaspoons turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the schnapps, sugar, and cinnamon. Place over medium-low heat and gently simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Add the apples, butter, flour, and a pinch of salt, and return to heat until butter melts and flour has dissolved. Remove from heat and divide mixture in prepared tartlet shells. Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with turbinado sugar. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until apples are tender and tops of tartlets begin to caramelize. Remove from oven and allow them to rest for at least 4 hours to set before serving.

For the ginger crème anglaise:

1 pint half & half

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and finely minced

4 ounces sugar

4 egg yolks

In a saucepan, combine the half & half, vanilla bean (scrape out the contents and include with bean shell in the cream), ginger, and 2 ounces of the sugar, and bring to a gentle boil, then remove from heat. Whisk together the remaining sugar and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Gradually pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking rapidly. Place the mixture over simmering water and heat slowly, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to get it hotter than 190 degrees, or it will curdle. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and place over an ice bath mixture of ice and water to cool. Chill and serve with butterscotch apple tartlets. Garnish with mint.

Makes 6 tartlets

Turnip and Apple Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, with leaves

1 ½ pounds turnips, washed, peeled, and diced

1 pound tart apples, washed, peeled, cored, and diced

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup apple cider

6 cups chicken stock

1 sprig fresh thyme


Melt butter in a large pot and sauté onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the turnips and apples and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the coriander, salt, and apple cider, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and thyme, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the thyme and cool. Purée and strain. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and garnish with red, yellow, and green apple slices and turnip and tarragon leaves to serve.

Serves 6

Apple Mignonette

by Jeff Farmer, Lucky Restaurant, Roanoke

2 cups Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, minced

4 Ginger Gold apples, finely diced

zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons mixed peppercorns

sea salt

In a mixing bowl combine Champagne vinegar and olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Add shallots, apples, and lemon zest. Coarsely chop peppercorns in a spice grinder. Sift the pepper, reserving only the larger pieces and add to vinegar mixture. Add a pinch of salt, bearing in mind you want the mignonette to complement, not compete with, the oysters. Chill for two to four days before serving. Serve ½ to ¼ teaspoon per raw oyster.

Serves 8

Commonwealth Classic

by Scott and Chris Clime, PassionFish, Reston

2 parts Kopper Kettle Whiskey

1 part apple-infused sweet vermouth

1-2 dashes orange bitters

1 piece apple peel, fresh or caramelized

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with apple peel. 

For more on apples, pick up a copy of our October 2019 issue.

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