The local apple season typically begins with the floral and crisp Gravenstein apples showing up at the farmers' market around mid-August. Four weeks later the Gravensteins are all gone, but that's when the season really kicks into high gear. Every Saturday at the Ferry Building farmers' market during apple season, I can find no less than 25 different varieties of just harvested apples. Most are heirloom varieties. Every characteristic you would want in an apple can be found: tart, sweet, floral, spicy, herbaceous, winy, tropical, good for baking, cooking and eating out of hand.
Last weekend I picked up all kinds: Spitzenburg, Bramley Seedling, Cinnamon Spice, Connell red, Mutsu, Hawaiian, Winesap, Kino's Orange Red, Idared. I wish I could've brought home more, but my husband and I can only eat so many apples in a week.
My original intention was to make some applesauce with my bounty, but the apples were all too fresh and delicious to not grab and eat. So I didn't have any left to make my applesauce, but that didn't stop me from making this applesauce quick bread. Whether you use store bought applesauce (like I did this time) or make your own batch of homemade goodness (like I had originally intended), this quick bread, like the name implies, is so simple and easy to make.
It's a little strange to be writing about plums and apples in the same post since plums are typically a late summer fruit and apples are definitely an autumnal treat. I am quite sad that the summer stone fruit season is over, but I am very happy that autumn and the apple season is here.
When I was at the farmers' market a couple weeks ago, I found some tiny blue damson plums. Damson plums are normally used for making jam but I decided to use them in a "tart/cookie". For my "crust" I used the sugar cookie dough that I had leftover from the last Daring Bakers' challenge since the sugar cookie dough that we used was pretty much a pate sablee (sweet tart dough).
I cut my rolled cookie dough into 3-inch rounds and fanned out slices of the damson plums. I sprinkled them with some turbinado sugar and then baked them at 350 until the edges were lightly golden brown. It was a lovely way to use up the rest of the cookie dough and to celebrate the last of the summer plums.
Applesauce Quick Bread
(adapted from "The Bake Sale Cookbook" by Sally Sampson)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce*, at room temp
(*homemade or a no sugar added store bought)
4 ounce (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x3x5-inch loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and both sugars with the paddle attachment until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
Add the applesauce and butter and beat for 1 minute, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Add the flour mixture and beat until the flour is just barely incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the chopped walnuts and stir in with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour batter into your buttered loaf pan.
Bake at 350F until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature before serving.