I don’t know about you, but, come September, I’m ready to trade in flip-flops for flats, lilies for mums, Harry Potter for The Help. Oh, and peaches for apples. This year, I’m particularly enthused. “Apples will be excellent,” reports Linda Concklin of the venerable Orchards of Concklin in Rockland County. “There’s been enough water, and the spring wasn’t super-hot. The trees are nice and healthy.”
Good for the trees—great for us. My flats will soon be planted below farmers’ market crates of early-season apples: Macs, Cortlands, and my coveted Honeycrisps and Ginger Golds. Those last two spill juice and sweet/tart flavor from crisp, firm flesh; the panacea for Fire Island yearnings. And both varieties will do as well in a pie plate or compote dish as they will in your hand.
Proof is on glorious display at Red Barn Bakery (4 S Astor St, Irvington 914-231-7779; redbarn-bakery.com), in Randell Dodge’s sumptuous landscape of scones, tarts, pies, and muffins. Dodge typically uses three apple varieties in her products, and Honeycrisps are often one of them. “They have an explosiveness about them,” she says. “A brightness that I love, particularly in pies.” A favorite combination is Mutsu, Macoun, and Honeycrisp for their variations in taste, from tart to sweet, and in texture. “Some apples are softer, some have more snap, so once baked, your palate is challenged by the different textures.” Taste and textures may vary, but her apples’ pedigree does not. “They’re all organic, from upstate farms,” she says. And it’s not just apples: her other ingredients are organic as well, and her flours—some gluten-free—are local and fresh-milled.
Dodge sees it as a return to a slower, more nature-centric time, and her bakery’s name is part of that. “Red Barn, apples—they’re Americana,” she says. “It’s like going back home.” I’m with you, Randell; one bite of a September
apple, and I’m on my way.
Apple-Cranberry Whole Wheat Scones
(Courtesy of Randell Dodge, Red Barn Bakery)
(Yield: 6 scones)*
2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus more
â…“ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup heavy cream
3 medium apples (Honeycrisp, Gala, and Fuji mix suggested), peeled, cored, and grated to yield 1 cup
½ cup dried cranberries, plumped in hot water for 5 minutes, then drained
3 tsp cane sugar mixed with ¼ tsp
ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour and next three ingredients in mixer bowl with paddle attachment and mix on low speed (or mix by hand).
When combined, stop mixer and add cream. Mix on low speed until dough is formed, about eight seconds. Gently combine grated apples with cranberries and cane sugar/cinnamon mixture, and then fold into dough. Do not overmix.
Dust countertop with flour and turn out scone mixture. Pat dough into a 1 ½-inch-thick circle. With cookie/biscuit cutter, cut dough into six even rounds. Place rounds onto parchment-lined sheet pan.
Top each round with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan once during baking.
*Note: organic ingredients suggested