I love almost everything about Northern California. The food, the wine, the outdoors, the Bay, the City – it’s all great.
Today, though, I’m thinking about food. Our eating habits have transformed in the four years we’ve lived in San Francisco. We expect nothing less than the best when we eat at restaurants – a subpar dinner out is a wasted food opportunity. At home, we eat fresh vegetables from our CSA and our garden.
Without a doubt, Northern California has a leg up (or several legs up) on Minnesota in the local agriculture department. We have access to delicious local food all year long. However, there’s one Minnesotan fresh food I miss dearly: apples.
If you’ve never had a Honeycrisp from a Minnesota orchard you haven’t experienced the upper limit of what an apple can be. There’s simply nothing better. Back when we lived in Minnesota, Mrs. Esquire would host an apple party each fall. We’d meet our friends at the apple orchard, pick some apples, and then return to our apartment for apple desserts.
Mrs. Esquire and I were reminiscing about those good old apple days while we sat at EggtoberWest. We decided to stop at our favorite Dixon farm stand on the way home from Sacramento and pick up some apples. Sunday night, we grilled up an old fashioned apple feast.
The large pie pan is holding an apple cake. One of the small bowls contains simply seasoned apples, the other is filled with filling for a small pie. The crust for the pie is above.
I started my applicious grilling with the apple cake. With the plate setter down, I grilled the cake for about 18 minutes at 425. I came out perfect! The edges turned crisp and the bottom didn’t burn.
Next I moved on to the bowl of apples and apple pie. I kept the egg cranking at about 425 and threw on the two bowls of apples and the bottom crust of the pie. After about 8 minutes I dumped the pie filling into the bottom crust and placed the top crust on top. I pulled the bowl of apples after about 20 minutes total. During the middle of all this our friends arrived and I threw on some collard greens and sliced tomatoes in the mexican redware. I lost track of my egg and the time a little bit and my temperature dropped. I’m not sure exactly how long I left the mini pie on the grill. But when it was done, it was delicious! The crust turned crispy and brown, and the filling was scrumptious. A victory!
I’ll definitely be baking with apples again!
Apple Cake (adapted from a submission to Sunset magazine by reader Peter Zensius of San Francisco)
3 tbsp. butter; 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar; 1/8 tsp cinnamon; 1 sweet apple, peeled, sliced, and cored; 3 large eggs; 1/4 tsp. salt; 1/2 cup each flour and milk; 1 tbsp. each lemon juice and powdered sugar
Melt butter in frying pan. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, swirling to combine. Stir in apple and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to an egg-safe pie pan.
Whirl together eggs, salt, flour, and milk until smooth. Pour over apple mixture.
Set Big Green Egg for indirect cooking. Preheat to 425 degrees. Cook for approximately 16-18 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and middle is cooked through.