October 23, 2011

Autumn in The Apple Orchard

The Maine House has had the opportunity to explore our favorite Apple Orchard for the past two years! We have welcomed family and friends in the autumn season since we arrived in Maine two years ago. I suppose we were fortunate to find what we feel is "the best" apple orchard near our little New England Village and put this on our "to do list" during the months of September and October.

A Maine House Mosaic

This year, we visited the orchard on a beautiful sunny day in October. Once you arrive at "Libby and Son U Pick" orchards in Limerick, Maine, you will feel welcomed and excited to begin your apple picking experience. Their 15 acres of orchards, which showcase 15 varieties of apples, are surrounded by beautiful mountains. Libby and Son U-Picks is a family owned and operated farm. This lovely family has been growing fruit in this area since the 1950’s.

Mrs. Mary Libby

Mrs Libby makes her own Blueberry Donuts, Apple Cider Donuts, Kettle Corn and freshly pressed Old-Fashioned Apple Cider. We picked up a few half-gallons of their cider along with a dozen apple cider donuts. Goodness gracious, these were yummy!  What is better comfort on a cool fall afternoon than a hot cup of spiced apple cider? We had a ball picking Cortlands, McIntosh and Golden Delicious apples! Miss Judy had never gotten to experience picking apples so she absolutely loved the afternoon in the orchard. The beautiful sights and smells that can be found in their acreage is simply stunning. What a wonderful, autumn day it was! Thank you Libby and Son....see ya'll next year!

Estelle's Apple Bread Pudding
3 eggs
 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 medium all-purpose apples, pared, cored and finely chopped
1 3/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups cubed French bread
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, beat eggs; add sweetened condensed milk, apples, water, butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in bread and raisins (optional), moistening completely. Turn into buttered 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Serve warm with fresh vanilla whipped cream! Oh, heavenly! You will kiss the cook on this one!

Estelle's Most Requested Autumn Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Cream Cheese Icing
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick (4-oz.) margarine, softened
1 (16-oz.) box confectioners' sugar, sifted
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the baking dish (or another 9'' x 13'' pan). To prepare the bread, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, orange juice, vanilla, and both sugars in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Pour half the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Then pour in the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until just blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 — 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the icing, cream together the cream cheese and margarine in a medium bowl until smooth and free of any lumps. Mix in the vanilla and lemon juice. Add in the confectioner's sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve each slice of bread with a dollop of icing and a sprinkle of orange zest.

Estelle's Spiced Apple Cider
1 gallon apple cider
Eight 3 inch cinnamon sticks
Four apples with studded cloves
10 whole allspice

In a large saucepan, combine the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, apples and allspice. Simmer the cider for 30 minutes. Serve hot right from the stove, using a ladle to fill cups. Want to be warm and toasty? Try a spiked version by adding 1/2 cup of light rum!

Precious Luke in the Apple Orchard last September

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