…I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
Autumn is apple season, and here in Northwest Arkansas, the apple is a big part of our history, having been one of the region’s principle crops until about 1920. (You can read more about Arkansas’ apple industry in this digital collection
from the Crystal Bridges Library) Far from being “of no worth,” cider apples become apple cider and apple ale to add a bit of warmth to these crisp autumn evenings. This month’s WOW recipes call upon these products of the cider-apple heap to add snap to dishes both savory and sweet.
The Saint Caramel Apples Ingredients 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup heavy cream 4 TB butter 1 TB The Saint Crispin hard apple cider 6 large apples (I prefer sour apples) lollipop sticks toppings: chopped peanuts or cashews, shredded unsweetened coconut (optional) Instructions
- In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the sugar, honey, cream, and butter to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue to stir the caramel as it cooks (it will produce large bubbles) for 15 minutes. Don’t reduce the cooking time, this is the trick to creating a sticky caramel.
- Turn off the heat and add the Saint Crispin Cider. The caramel will bubble as the alcohol reduces. This is a normal reaction. Allow the caramel to cool for 5 minutes before using, stirring a couple of times as it sits.
- While the caramel cools, poke a hole in the top of each apple (I use a chopstick) and insert the sticks. Set aside.
- Pour the caramel into a tall bowl. Dunk each apple in the caramel and roll in chopped nuts or shredded coconut, if desired. Place the apples on parchment paper. Enjoy!
Caramel Tip: To test the caramel, place a 1/4 of an apple in the caramel. If the caramel runs off the apple it hasn’t fully “developed.” Simply repeat the heating process for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently as it boils. Caramel should stick to the apple and harden.
Redd’s Apple Ale Braised Carnitas Ingredients 2 dried New Mexico chiles 4 lbs skinless, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces 12 oz Redd’s Apple Ale 1 cup water 1 Spanish onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed 4 tsp kosher salt
- Toast the chiles in a large pot over medium heat until slightly puffed and lightly darkened on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove from pot; let cool. Stem chiles and halve lengthwise; discard seeds.
- Bring the chiles, pork, onions, beer, garlic, salt and 12 oz. Redd’s Apple Ale to a boil in the same pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, 60-80 minutes.
- Uncover the pork; simmer until the liquid evaporates and the pork begins to brown, 20-25 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot, until the pork is shredded and browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water to pork. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, for about 1 minute.