August 17, 2009

Sebastopol, California, is apple country. Located about 60 miles north of San Francisco, apple lovers flock here every summer for an apple fair to celebrate the local Gravenstein apple, which ripens in late July/early August. (Green and red Gravensteins are originally from Denmark but in the U.S. are found primarily in Sonoma County.)

The fair itself is right out of a movie set, with farm animals, horse-drawn wagon rides, pie-eating contests, hay bales, and, of course, apples. We spent yesterday stuffing ourselves with all things apple: apple fritters, apple pie, apple butter, apple juice, apple cider, caramel apples, apple cake - all made with sweet and juicy Gravensteins. Moist apple cake, hot, crisp apple fritters, sweet apple juice were our favorites, and I left with bags of apples and couldn't wait to get in the kitchen to try this recipe from Carol Kozlowski of Kozlowski Farms in Sonoma County. Carol's family started the farm in 1949, so they know a thing or two about apples. Be sure to stop by this organic farm if you're in the area; all of their homemade jams, salad dressings, and pies are to die for. You can also order online.) Looking for more info on Gravenstein apples? Check out the site.

GRAVENSTEIN APPLE COBBLER CAKE

6 cups peeled and sliced apples, 1/4-inch slices (5 to 6 medium apples)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup apple cider

1 lemon

2 cups sugar, divided

1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the fruit: combine the apples, cinnamon, 1 cup sugar, juice of the lemon, and apple cider in a saucepan. Mix well, coating apples in the sugar base. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Prepare baking dish: melt butter in a glass 9x13 baking dish (melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave and pour it into the dish).

For the cake: whisk the remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk together slowly to prevent clumping. Gently pour flour mixture over the baking dish. Spoon apples over the batter. Batter will start to rise up between the apples to the top. Pour remaining syrup over top of cobbler cake.

Bake for about 45 minutes until top is crisp and golden brown.

Serves 12; recipe courtesy Carol Kozlowski

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