Melrose – Warm Apples Many Ways

warm apples

Apples + Blackberries + Cinnamon Raisin Bread + Winter Savory

As I drove to the market, I was watching the wind gusts shaking leaves off the trees that gathered along the pavements in large whirls of colour. On any other October afternoon, this would have been welcome for brisk walk, a hot beverage and some time by Crystal Lake in Melrose.

But, it had me thinking about how I’d manage the flame on the propane burner and cook the farmers’ market demo. As I arrived, all my fears were laid to rest. The managers Jeff and Julie had the team set up a large tent covered on three sides, this not only allowed me to quickly get to prep and cook but also became the most coveted spot on the field that offered some shelter against the cold.

warm apples
Crisp, tart and savory…

The day definitely called for a warm and comforting recipe, so I decided on apples from Dick’s Market Garden, blackberries from Kelly’s Farm and even though I initially I picked up some granola from Big Sky Bread, I swapped it out for some cinnamon raisin bread. Improvising to incorporate some cinnamon into the recipe, essential to anything relating to apples in the fall. The winter savory, a new herb for me from Muddy River Herbals gave the dish the right amount of peppery bite, with hints of rosemary that pulled the dish towards savory flavors and avoided the single note of sweetness.

As the afternoon grew along with the conversations, so did the ideas in which this recipe could be consumed. Consensus was that it would make a great baked stuffing for the holidays, or make a decadent base for a bread pudding or a trifle, anyone? Omit the bread from the recipe and it would make a great topping over some pancakes or over a hot bowl of oats. The simplest of course would be to serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream. You can swap the type of bread you use or cranberries for blackberries, basically this recipe can be anything you desire it to be any day of the week.

warm apples
Warm and gooey…

On a practical note; after tasting the recipe and having it sit in my bowl for about an hour at the market, at home I’d toast or broil the bread to help provide the crunch and it would hold up better to the warm and syrupy apples. And if you were to use it as a stuffing, add celery and onions during the sauté process to help bring forward the savory flavors further.

Hope you enjoy this versatile recipe as much as we did on the cold blustery day.

Serves 6-8

    3 cups of chopped apples
    1 cup of bite sized blackberries
    3 cups of chopped cinnamon raisin bread
    2 tbsp. roughly chopped winter savory leaves
    3 tbsp. honey
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ¼ tsp. crushed black pepper
    ¼ tsp. cinnamon powder (I did not have this at the market, but I think it would enhance the flavors further)

  1. Clean and chop the apples, blackberries and bread into bite sized pieces
  2. Strip the winter savory leaves off it’s stems and roughly chop them up
  3. Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan and drop in the apples – I used a mix of macoun, gala and mutsu to vary the levels of crispness and flavors
  4. Stir for about 3-4 minutes and add the winter savory and half of the honey with the salt and pepper
  5. Stir for another 5-7 minutes and turn off the heat, leaving the apples crunchy, just heated through and letting the honey coat all the apples
  6. In a bowl, add the chopped pieces of bread (better if toasted or lightly broiled to crisp up), blackberries and the remaining honey
  7. Add the warm apples and stir gently so as to not mush up the blackberries

Serve warm with ice cream, or bake to use as a stuffing or bread pudding with your favorite custard recipe. You could also omit the bread in the mixture and serve over pancakes or hot oats for breakfast.

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