Found Food: Ground Apples. Really?

My friend Arthur has an enormous apple tree in his yard, a granddaddy so tall that most branches are well beyond the average picker’s grasp, even on a 6’ ladder.  In the fall it’s wise to tread warily around this behemoth, since renegade apples are known to rain from the sky with little or no warning.
This year’s crop is so abundant that the landscape beneath the tree and spreading far beyond is a colorful canvas dotted with greens, yellows, oranges, and reds―a montage of apples in varying degrees of ripeness.
In short order and with a little patience, it’s possible to sort through these ground apples and collect enough in good condition for a quick pie or cake.   Yes indeed, similar to our previous post on ground cherries, here’s another case of instant gratification. This time of year, abundance rules: look up, look down, there is food that’s ready to be found. 

Here is one way to show off the lovely ground apple, or any other fall beauty such as Macintosh, Cortland, or winesap.  This apple torte is one of my all time favorites – true comfort food that’s rustic, eggy, and deeply satisfying.   

Enjoy this sweet dream any time of the day:  warm from the oven for breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or dessert with ice cream or whipped cream. 
Apple Torte
1/2       cup all-purpose flour
1/3        cup sugar
  1         Tbsp baking powder
 1/8        tsp salt
 1/2        tsp vanilla extract
  2         eggs, lightly beaten
  2         Tbsp vegetable oil
 1/3       cup milk
  4         baking apples (Macintosh, Cortland, Winesap), peel, core, thick slice (about 2 lbs.) 
  3       Tbsp butter, melted
 1/3      cup sugar
  1        egg, lightly beaten
Butter a 9″ springform pan or ovenproof quiche dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large bowl combine flour through salt and blend well.
In small bowl vanilla through milk and blend well.  Add liquid to dry and stir until well blended.  Add the apples and stir to thoroughly coat with batter.  Spoon into pan and bake until firm and golden, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare topping by combining butter, sugar and egg in small bowl.  Stir to blend, and set aside.
Remove torte from oven and pour the topping mixture over it.  Return to oven and bake until top is deep golden brown and quite firm when pressed, about 10 minutes.
Remove to rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Run knife around edge and remove sides or serve from dish at room temperature or warmed served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Serves 6.

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