I thought this story would be about ……..
I thought this story would be about a spicy autumn apple-pie filled with apples from a secret garden. Do not worry, it will be about apple-pie, but recent events will first take part in this story.
Walking in the late autumn sun, me being a modern variety of our hunter gatherer ancestors, I spotted a secret garden on the side of the footpath I was on. It was a bundle of trees entangled in a green dance on a mild wind. What caught my attention was the natural modern painting in front of me, red dots on a bright green. A few beautiful apples were scattered in the grass under the trees in the light of a setting sun.
The light reminded me of another painting, called; ” Girl with a pearl earring” by Vermeer, or “The Vermeer girl”, like I tend to name it. It depicts a young girl that turns her head to the observer, lips slightly parted, once you have seen it, you wonder the rest of your life, what it is she is about to say. Well I have my own “Girl of Vermeer”, that is, I had my own “Girl of Vermeer’! One special guest in the Hospice where I volunteer as a cook, I tended to name her out of respect after this beautiful painting.
The lady involved was once young as a Vermeer creation, now coming to the end of her life she became brittle, but her inner beauty made her shine like Vermeers young girl. For those who entered her room she always had a kind word, and her easy going ways made her a delight to be with. I can tell you, making her favorite, being fresh pizza, only days before she passed, felt like a great honor.
The two well kept enclosed gardens at the Hospice are very important to our guests. All rooms have a direct view and access to these gardens. Doors will open frequently to these green outdoor rooms to let the sunlight, the smell of roses and lavender and the bird noises enter, and with that natures healing powers for the soul.
Maybe you have a garden of your own where you can spend time and find peace of mind, or a public green park, or even a forest where you can wander under the filtered light and take in all the greens. It seems a life necessity to lavish on the beauty of mother nature. When you are located in a more urban area you could start with guerrilla gardening by claiming an abandoned patch in the city and start with help from friends / neighbors a piece of green heaven.
Stepping through my modern apple painting into reality, it’s time to make a spicy autumn pie with the fresh picked fruits. Something to warm our inner core with a bit of ginger heat.
MY RECIPE FOR AN AUTUMN GINGER APPLE PIE
CARAMELIZED APPLE-MIX :
100 grams / 3.5 USA-ounce sugar
50 ml / 0.1 USA-pint water
7 cardamom pods, seeds taken out and grinned, than lightly toasted
5 cm ginger root finely grated
Caramelize on a medium fire the sugar until deep brown
Than ad the water and stir until dissolved
Toss in the pealed apples, preferable a bit sour ones (cut in chunks)
along with the cardamom and ginger
Stir occasionally on a low fire for 15 minutes, and allow to cool
150 grams / 5.3 USA-ounce of butter
150 grams / 5.3 USA-ounce of castor sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
225 gram / 7.9 USA-ounc plain flour, add a pinch of salt
2 eggs yolks and white separated
7 grams / 0.25 USA-ounce of backing powder
Mix butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest until fluffy
Mix egg yolks in one a the time, than the lemon juice
Beat the egg whites stiff in a separate bowl
Fold in alternately the egg white and flour in small portions
Carefully fold in the apple mix
Fill your greased and flour dusted 24 cm. backing tin,
or cupcake forms with the completed mix
Bake for 75 minutes on 175 degrees Celsius
Let it cool down for 30 minutes and enjoy
While cooking at the Hospice I sometimes see members of the volunteer garden-team digging in deep to maintain these well appreciated gardens. Recently one of the team members was involved in a serious accident. The path he and his family are on is a very difficult one, and any bit of love you can send them on the wind might carry them on their journey. Thanks.
The Dutch Cook