It’s a date! Make it apple picking & baking
We know it’s true: as soon as “Sweater Season” hits, Montrealers flock to the apple orchards in and around the island. It’s the quintessential fall activity that’s just too wholesome to resist. Crisp, fresh air, sunshine, rows upon rows of green trees and bright red bulbs; it truly is beautiful. It also happens to be a cute date idea, what with a built-in short road trip, a few hours spent outdoors, and then some time alone to enjoy a hot apple cider and create baked goods from the fruits of your labour.
Here’s what’s in the cards for a sweet day away with the apple of your eye!
Prepare for adventure
Apple picking season is best from early September to mid-October. Remember to dress accordingly! Wear comfortable clothing and shoes you don’t mind getting a little muddy. Before you leave, research the farm to see if they provide bags or if you should bring reusable ones, if they have any new activities going on (or more importantly, unanticipated closures), and the methods of payment they accept. Keep your phone tucked away; enjoy living in the moment!
At the apple orchard
You know the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Before picking your weight in fruit, try to establish a limit to avoid walking away with more daily apples than you might need! Whip up a baking plan with your significant other so that you only pick (and pay for) the apples you’ll actually use. Trees are living things, so remembering to treat nature with respect and gratitude are important during your visit.
Not sure which apples to pick? Daniel Yetman shares 5 Baking apples to use in your recipes.
All is fair in love and bake offs
Before leaving the apple farm, shop their boutique (seriously… look for their cider section). With aperitifs taken care of, the baking begins! It’s time to put the spoils of your day to good use. Most recipes call for peeled and cored apples, which may take some time (we suggest you pair this manual work with a sweet playlist). While apple pie is the traditional choice that is sure to please, apple muffins are a quick win after a fun, though long, day.
I adapted this recipe by The Girl Who Ate Everything to include more protein by swapping out oil for vanilla yogurt (so the muffins still came out moist) and to reduce the sweetness. Honestly, there isn’t much taste difference going from two cups of sugar to one cup and a half, so it’s a great way to reduce your sugar consumption without sacrificing flavour!
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Brown sugar, to sprinkle on top
3 cups apples, diced (around 3 apples)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a bowl, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine baking soda, salt, flour and cinnamon. Then, gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl. When the batter appears to be very thick, add in the diced apples and it will loosen slightly. Once all the ingredients have been combined, add paper liners to a muffin pan and fill each tin 3/4 of the way with the muffin mixture. Sprinkle each muffin with brown sugar and put in the oven for 22 to 25 minutes.
These quiet autumnal weeks are such a precious time of the year. With snow just around the corner and threats of a second lockdown, it’s all the better to spend some much-needed time outside appreciating Mother Nature.