This week I went apple picking with Montague for the launch of their new apple, Smitten. It was the first cold Melbourne morning we had had in ages, probably since last Spring really but I got up, drove the hour to the orchard. As my GPS was telling me I’d arrived, I was facing a dirt road with a sign for apples. I thought my ‘maps’ had got it wrong. But there was a man there guiding a few cars further down the dirt road so I checked with him that I was heading in the right direction and continued on. The road narrowed and turned and I passed an old tractor. No apple trees anywhere or people for that matter. I continued crawling down the road in case a car came around a bend towards me; it was single lane after all. That’s when I saw the first row of apple trees. As soon as I’d had my first glance of the orchard, a huge kangaroo jumped out from the trees and bounded across the dirt in front of me. This isn’t uncommon in Australia especially where there’s land and bush but I did get a good fright! I continued on and was met with hundreds and hundreds of tiny little birds swooping and careering towards the road and straight back up into the trees again. It was like a frenzy and quite honestly, I was terrified that I’d run one over even if I was only travelling at 3km/hr.
Once I arrived at the end of the lush, green orchard, there were lots of people, a coffee van and parking spots. I jumped out of the car and met some other bloggers who all had the same fear about the little birds that I’d had just moments before, and quickly grabbed a coffee.
We picked and chatted and picked some more and by the end of the morning, I had bags of apples to bring home. On the hour journey home, I kept wondering what I’d do with all these. I always lean towards making the same sorts of things with apples. Maybe because I just know what I like, and why would I waste apples on something that might not be as good? So knowing that I’d probably make a salad of some sort of old-school apple pie with all the trimmings, I didn’t bother thinking any further about it.
Then once I’d arrived home, I shared a quick picture on Instagram of my basket of apples and my friend Gina suggested doing a modern take on turnovers. I honestly thought it was great idea. Like pie, but quicker! So with that idea in my mind, I began riffing ways I could update the classic turnover. And finally settled on salted caramel apples.
Even though salted caramel is apparently so 2008, I love it. But only when it’s good. Like really really good. Because caramel isn’t one of my favourite flavours to be honest.
But adding a generous pinch of sea salt flakes into that butter and sugar and watching it melt and thicken into luscious glistening ribbons of stretchy sweetness transforms it into something I really do love.
And I know you will too. Paired with apples that maintain their ‘bite’ even with cooking and baking and buttery flaky pastry, it’s love at first bite.
Happy cooking guys,