In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree
The Irish countryside is full of surprises for the creative baker, especially when summer begins. Early apples are ripe on the trees: and the best of these are the heirloom apples, their trees often surviving half-forgotten in old suburban gardens or weedy vacant lots.
We’re lucky enough to have one of these trees in the overgrown paddock next door. The tree’s branches may be bent with age and covered with moss, but the apples hanging on them are not only Granny Smiths, but (because of extra branches grafted on more than fifty years ago) one of the very first dessert apples, the increasingly rare heirloom apple variety Beauty of Bath, with its characteristic pink circles and markings in the creamy flesh. Like many early apples, Beauty of Bath has a very short “perfect” time for eating out of hand — no more than a week. After that, you’d better pick as many of them as you can for cooking or pies…a favorite option, as their beautiful pink color intensifies when cooked.
Even if you don’t have access to heirloom apples, though, this upside-down cake is a favorite treatment for apples any time — especially in autumn, when the fruit is piling up. A tart cooking apple (like the UK Bramley) will work as well in this recipe as an eating apple.
Check out our basic Apple Upside Down Cake recipe and give it a try!