Sunday, November 29, 2015

A lazy man’s Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tintin, in the cast-iron pan it baked in.
Tarte Tatin is the classic French apple tart, a splendid if finicky marriage of Pâte Brisée crust and Calville Blanc d'Hiver apples.

On Thanksgiving I had Calville but did not want to fuss with that crust.

So I took a leaf from Rowan Jacobsen’s book, Apples of Uncommon Character, and made his easier version, which he playfully calls “Tarte Tintin.”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ruby Red

Ruby Red Apple
What a show stopper! You can see why some apple breeders become obsessed with creating red-fleshed apples that also have good eating qualities.

Did they succeed with Ruby Red?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Spymac *

Spymac apple
Genius idea.

That was my first thought when I saw apples labeled "Spymac." Cross two classics, Northern Spy and McIntosh. I'll bet it's a great pie apple, too.

Spymac looks squarely in the Mac family, with a streaky-to-saturated red blush over green yellow, moderate ribbing, and large light lenticels.

Closer inspection shows a blush that is a little less purple, and less vivid, than McIntosh's.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Last call

The last farmers markets of the year will close up shop in a few hours.

Apples for sale
Last day of Farmers Market for 2015 in Davis Square, Somerville.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Suntan *

How much can I learn from a single flawed sample? A good deal, with some educated guessing.

Physically this Suntan is imperfect. Medium-sized, the apple smells promising but is lopsided and cracked, with spoiled parts. There won't be much to taste.

Probably this is a tapered apple with moderate ribbing, but it's hard to tell.

Superficially the apple is divided into three parts, as follows.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

D'Arcy Spice **

The appearance of this apple varies so much that I need two to show what they might look like.

Unrusseted, D'Arcy has a thin orange blush over green yellow, with some saturated red spots and splotches. There are faint stellations of tan lenticels. The peel is a little waxy.

The russet is a suede leather kissed with green, though over the blush it is thinner, patchier, more golden, and delicately patterned like the rind of a cantaloupe.

Click on either image for a closer look.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Apple Cider Press

It was hard to miss Apples, the large ceramic installation in the sculpture garden of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

But there’s another apple-related statue just outside of the de Young, which is in Golden Gate park.

Sculpture: The Apple Cider Press
The Apple Cider Press (Bronze, ca. 1994) Thomas Shields Clarke

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Katherine *

I had one job.

Take a decent photo of Katherine.

And look.

Sorry. This is the photo I have to share with no chance of another sample any time soon.

Perhaps it will prove sufficient when married to my written description.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The art of the apple

Sculpture of apples on the lawn
Apples (2005; glazed ceramic) Gustav and Ulla Kraitz
During my Californa trip I found these playful apples at the sculpture garden of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eureka Canyon *

This medium-sized apple, a discovery from my California adventure, may be a bit of a local wonder, as I cannot find any reference to this variety online.

Eureka Canyon

Is there more than one canyon named Eureka? The most likely candidate lies in Watsonville, California, the apple-rich country just south of Santa Cruz.

The apple has a blush that runs from streaky to a dark red over yellow. It has moderate ribbing and is oblate and slightly tapered.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Apple breeding: Could flavor be the Next Big Thing?

I revere the old heritage apples. I love the idea of apple-as-time machine. Just bite to experience the flavors that were in vogue 200 years ago.

But lately I have also been hopeful about a trend in the newer apple breeds: taste.

Now comes the New York Times with a bushel of new “full flavored” apples, such as Opal, Junami, and Kanzi, all from Europe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pink Parfait *

Pink Parfait
A parfait is a layered confection, and true to its name Pink Parfait has a pink layer within its off-white flesh (below).

From the outside, Pink P is a medium-sized green-tinted yellow orb nearly entirely covered by a translucent blush

The blush is flecked with many dark red spots and streaks. The apple is round with moderate ribbing

All apples have lenticels, the pores of the fruit, but they are essentially invisible on the Parfait. The peel is glossy.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Waltana *

WaltanaWaltana is a product of one of California’s most talented apple breeders, Albert Etter.

Partially named for Etter’s brother Walter, the apple has a reputation as one of the master’s best works.

Waltana challenged me to identify its unusual flavors.