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Comfort Table Band

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
and other desserts
Michael Pollen
Apple Crate O

Chef Charile Trotter
December 2013
I mean -- Chef Gould was a
genius, no doubt about it.
But Charlie Trotter was Yoda,
playing jazz with food.
Collectors value crate art for
its colorful design and its
ability to trace the history of
American agriculture.
Te quest to sweeten the
typically bitter fruit ignited
a grower’s frenzy in the 19th
DE C 2 0 1 3 AP P L E S
High in the hills of Kazakhstan, where the
ancestors of malus domestica trees first began
experimenting with the shape and color of
their fruit, you can find an astounding variety
of examples of what the apple could have been,
from large purplish softballs to knobby green
clusters. But through its countless journeys
over the Silk Road many thousands of years
ago, carried by generations of wayfarers, the
apple adapted to meet the needs of its traveling
companions, evolving to become a portable,
durable conduit for sweetness.
Despite the wide variations of taste you find
in diferent cultures, a predilection for sweet-
ness seems to be universal. But sweetness is a
quality rarely found in nature. Most apples that
grow in the wild taste bitter; only a few trees
produce a fruit that is sweet. But we humans
have learned over the years to cultivate sweet-
ness in the apple, mostly by grafting the trees
that produced the tastiest fruit. Te apple, for
its part, protected its seeds by making them
distasteful, even slightly poisonous, so that we
wouldn’t eat or digest them and they would
When it traveled to the New World,
the apple reinvented itself once again,
mirroring its immigrant companions.
Written By Michalel Pollen | Photographs by Jonathan Brown
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Apple-Crisp Baked Apples
Fill a hollowed apple
with a fragrant mixture
of nuts, cinnamon,
cardamon, and oats.
Bake and serve with
a scoop of vanilla ice
cream on the side.
Winter Fruit Desserts
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Apple-Crisp Baked Apples
3 hourss • 6 Servings
Ingredients Method
⅓ cup walnuts,
chopped medium fine
⅓ cup pecans,
chopped medium fine
¼ cup firmly packed
dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground
¼ cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons cold butter,
cut into small cubes
6 medium apples
(firm baking variety)
1½ cups apple cider
1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a small bowl combine walnuts, pecans,
sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and oats. Add butter cubes
and toss to combine.
2. Peel the top third of each apple and, using a melon baller,
scoop out the stem and enough of the core so that the walls
of the apple are about 1/2 in. thick. Take care, however, not to
break through the bottom of the apple, or the filling will leak
out when baking. Make the hole a bit wider at the top.
3. Using a small spoon or your fingers, generously stuf each
apple; mound extra filling on top.
4. Put the filled apples in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour cider into the
pan around the apples, cover the dish with foil, and bake 45
minutes. Remove foil and bake, basting every 15 minutes, for
an additional 30 to 45 minutes, until apples are easily pierced
with a sharp knife (they may split open a bit at the bottom).
Serve apples drizzled with the sauce from the pan and with a
scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.

You can substitute 1/3 cup
golden raisins for the wal-
nuts if you like.
We recommend using Pink
Lady or Jazz (a popular new
hybrid) apples, which tend
to retain their color and
shape better during baking.
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Although the California soil may have been as rich as gold, fruit
farmers needed a way to market their golden globes to East Coast
buyers. To attract the eye of buyers, the fruit-crate label business
was born. In the 70 years between the 1880s and the 1950s,
millions of colorful paper labels were used by America’s fruit
and vegetable growers to advertise their wooden boxes of fresh
produce that was shipped throughout the nation and the world.
Collectors value crate art for its colorful design and its ability to
trace the social and political history of American agriculture.
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