Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate Gravenstein Apple Pie: Topper's Apples

Topper retrieves Gravenstein Apples
I love Gravenstein apples. There really are no apples quite like Gravensteins. If you don't live in Northern California, you may not have tasted Gravensteins since they have a very short shelf life. They are tart and crunchy and sweet, all at the same time. Now's the perfect time to get some at the Farmer's Market or up in Sonoma county. They're great to eat, great for pies, and great for applesauce. Trader Joe's sells Gravenstein first press applesauce that's delicious.

Frank used to have a Gravenstein apple orchard in Sebastopol, so we planted 9 trees on our property here in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Many of the apples fall from the trees before we can pick them, and our golden retriever, Topper, loves Gravensteins as much as we do. He's always retrieving the ground apples and eating them. When there are no apples on the ground, he's learned a very smart trick to remedy the situation. He jumps up against the tree, shaking it, and causing the apples to fall. He's one intelligent dog. The photo above is of Topper with a Gravenstein Apple in his mouth. And Topper has taught our latest golden retriever rescue, Rosie. She dashes out in the morning foraging for apples.

So not a lot of apples left from our own trees, so last weekend we bought a flat of Gravensteins in Sebastopol. What am I making?  Chocolate Gravenstein Apple Pie.

CHOCOLATE GRAVENSTEIN APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart Gravenstein apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 70-85% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped

Directions
1. Apples: Peel, core, and slice thinly.
2. Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more).
3. Place 1 layer of apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar.
4. Spread broken chocolate pieces over top.
4. Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
5. Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make a cut on top--or prick with fork in a few places.
6. Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
7. Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

I tweaked this recipe a bit. I posted it on Apple Pie Day, but I like to use more chocolate and Gravenstein apples. It makes a difference. Adjust the number of apples in the recipe to the size of your apples. If you have any left over, eat them!

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