Apple Brown Betty1/2 c brown sugar 1 t cinnamon 1/2 t nutmeg 1/4 t ground cloves 4 c bread cubes 6 T butter, melted juice from 1 lemon 4 New England apples, cored and sliced 1/4 c apple cider or juice, or water Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish. In large bowl, mix together sugar and spices. Add bread and stir. Pour in butter and lemon juice and mix until coated. Cover bottom of baking dish with 1/3 bread mixture. Layer half of apples on top. Repeat, and top with remaining bread mixture. Pour apple cider over top, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 20 minutes or until apples are soft.
Apple Bread Pudding4 c bread cubes 1/4 c raisins 2 New England apples, cored and sliced 2/3 c brown sugar 1-3/4 c milk 1/4 c butter 1 t cinnamon 1 t vanilla 2 eggs Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8″ x 12″ baking dish. In large bowl, mix together apples, bread, and raisins. In small saucepan over low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk; heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Pour over bread mixture, stir, and transfer to prepared baking dish. In small bowl or measuring cup, whisk eggs with cinnamon and vanilla, and pour over apple and bread mixture. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is firm and apples are soft.
* * *FOR THE SECOND TIME in three years, New England’s apple trees are experiencing a very early bloom. Traditionally, the apple blossoms peak around Mother’s Day, or the second weekend in May. That makes this spring’s bloom roughly three weeks early, as trees have already begun flowering in some New England orchards. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this. The main concern for growers is that the early bloom period extends the time when the flowers and emerging fruit buds are vulnerable to frost. Apple blossoms can withstand temperatures in the mid-20s, but anything lower than that will kill the bud. In some places, particularly in northern New England, frost remains a risk as late as Memorial Day. In 2010, when an early April heat wave produced an even earlier bloom than this year, a May 5 snowstorm in northern Vermont destroyed some of the crop before the growing season began. An early bloom could result in an earlier harvest, too, depending on how the rest of the growing season goes; an early bloom often “catches up” to a normal harvest time over the course of the summer. So enjoy the blossoms — this is a spectacular time of year in the apple orchard — and hope that we’ve seen our last deep freeze until fall.
* * *SEE HOW POLLINATION WORKS in New England’s apple orcharts in this video: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr3S9cODwzU&context=C48fff5dADvjVQa1PpcFPqAJ7P25vk7DkUYzHVmLmHO99xOl3YrxE=]