Sunday, October 11, 2009
What to do, what to do? With one extra hour before picking up our son from football practice on a crisp yet sunny Monday, picking wild apples seemed the order of the day.
Wild apples, before moving to The Valley I had never heard of such a thing. When we had the Fall itch to go apple picking in California we would head for the foothills scattered with over priced "you pick" farms. Here in the mountains of Eastern Oregon apple picking is quite a different experience.
The mountains around our home are littered with old abandoned homesteads. Reminders of those exceptional folks who headed West on the Oregon Trail to settle this area. A few homes stand still, slowly being reclaimed by the forest around them. Far more often the only evidence that they were ever here is the orchards they left behind. Although these plum and apple trees still stand and produce fruit, it is not the large shiny specimens we find in the stores or even at those over priced "you pick" stands. Yet these small misshapen treasures pack quite a punch of flavor.
On this Fall day, we headed up Mt. Harris to a homestead overlooking The Valley. There along side of a gravel road, three of us picked. My husband pulled down the branches while our daughter and I quickly filled our tub with these small but sweet treats. It was then that my mind began to wander back. Back to the time when these trees got their start. Who planted them? What brave woman gave up everything she knew and loved to follow her husband and a dream? Did she relish the challenge of solitary life? Or did she lose herself and her mind somewhere along the way? (I have always pictured myself in this second grouping.)
So, as I put one last jar of Apple Butter in my pantry I am thankful. First I am thankful for those extraordinary people who settled the land I now call home. And secondly that God knew better than to make me one of them.
Bavarian Apple Cake
2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temp.
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 c. peeled and thinly sliced apples
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
3 tbls. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray Bundt pan with non-stick spray. Mix together all cake ingredients together with wooden spoon. Spread into bundt pan and bake 45-50 min. or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 min., loosen sides and center with rubber spatula and turn out onto plate.
Mix icing ingredients together. When cake is completely cool spread with icing.