Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
NEW HAMPSHIRE: http://www.50states.com/newhamps.htm
State capital: Concord
Largest City: Manchester
Admission to the Union: June 21, 1788 although it was one of the first states to break from England in January 1776 making it one of the original 13 colonies
Economics: Its agricultural outputs are dairy products, nursery stock, cattle, apples and eggs. Its industrial outputs are machinery, electric equipment, rubber and plastic products and tourism. New Hampshire experienced a significant shift in its economic base during the last century. Historically, the base was composed of the traditional New England manufactures of textiles, shoe-making, and small machining shops drawing upon low-wage labor from nearby small farms and from parts of Quebec. Today, these sectors contribute only 2% for textiles, 2% for leather goods, and 9% for machining of the state’s total manufacturing dollar value (Source: U.S. Economic Census for 1997, Manufacturing, New Hampshire). They experienced a sharp decline due to obsolete plants and the lure of cheaper wages in the South. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire)
In my research on the state of New Hampshire, like many other states, tourism is a vital part of their economy. Here are a few sites for information and tourism.
When I think of New Hampshire two significant things come to mind. The first is of course is politics. Not only was New Hampshire one of the first colonies to break from England and earn the right to be the first to ratify the Declaration of Independence, but New Hampshire boasts the first presidential primary in the nation. A primary that essentially allows the state of New Hampshire to vote on who will become the Republican and Democratic front runners in presidential elections. Many candidates wisely choose not to run for office based on their performance at the New Hampshire primaries. A win in that state’s primaries ensures that the nation as a whole will support your candidacy. Although the argument against this is that New Hampshire doesn’t have a diverse ethnic population that is reflective of the nation as a whole. Whatever the argument for or against it- New Hampshire has the dubious honor of being first to vote on presidential candidates.
The second thing that comes to mind when I think of New Hampshire is one of it’s most famous residents- American poet Robert Frost. When I was a child being introduced to poetry for the first time, Robert Frost quickly became one of my favorites. Being an ambitious child I read Emily Dickinson, was tortured by Edgar Allen Poe, and even attempted to translate Shakespeare into an understandable language. But the poetry of Robert Frost was the easiest to understand. I could see in my mind’s eye the places that Robert Frost wrote about in New Hampshire as his use of language and rhythm painted a realistic picture in my mind. Somehow that gave me comfort knowing that poetry could be not only accessible, but that words could describe a place so exactly that seeing it in person wasn’t even necessary, because through the words of a great writer I could see, smell, hear, feel and even taste a place I might never know otherwise. Robert Frost made me want to become a writer. I could describe to you what New Hampshire looks like and how beautiful the scenery looks, but I think that Robert Frost does a better job. And his poem, “After Apple Picking” (http://www.online-literature.com/frost/741/ ) inspired me to make this recipe from New Hampshire.
CHUCK’S FAVORITE APPLE CRISP
Peel, core and slice 8 medium apples (5 McIntosh and 3 Cortland) and place in a 12” deep dish pie plate (make sure to eat a few slices while doing this).
Sprinkle 2/3 cup of granulated sugar over top and lightly stir in.
In a separate bowl mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 3/4 stick of margarine or butter (slightly softened) and 1 tsp. cinnamon until crumbly.
Spread this mixture over the apples.
Bake uncovered at 350o for approx. 1 hr. or until bubbly.
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream
this recipe can be found here; http://www.visitnh.gov/where-to-eat/recipe-cards.aspx
I am a bit of an apple connoisseur or as SGM Martha would say, I’m an apple snob. I figure if you’re going to put lipstick on a pig you might as well make it a bright red. So I started out at my local grocery store only to discover they didn’t carry Cortland or McIntosh apples. Oh, the horror! Since recently moving to the Portland Oregon area I’m straddled with Washington grown apples, which are just as tasty but not entirely accurate for this recipe. Having no choice I bought 6 medium Braeburn apples which are excellent for cooking pies and other apple dishes. If you can find these apples, be sure to use them, the Braeburn are delicious, but I would imagine the combination of Cortland and McIntosh would add a little more sweet tartness to the dish.Braeburn apples have a sweet tartness to them that mimics a good McIntosh and Cortland combination, so I don’t feel that the flavor was at all changed in the change of apples. I would avoid softer apples like any of the Delicious family (golden or red) they don’t hold up to heat as well as other brands. But if you like a very tart apple crisp I’m sure Granny Smith would be better suited to your taste buds. When I told SGM Martha we’d be having apple crisp for dessert he was overjoyed- he loves apple crisp on a cold winter’s night.
I had flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and brown sugar on hand, so after purchasing the apples I was ready to cook. I would imagine that margarine and Splenda can be substituted for the butter and sugar in this recipe for those of you keeping to your New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve never used either in my cooking so you’ll have to tell me if it’s just as good. I personally can’t imagine it would be very tasty, but then again I’m putting bright red lipstick on a pig so what do I know!
The most time consuming part of this recipe is peeling all the apples. I only used 6 apples because mine were larger than a McIntosh or Cortland apple would normally be, and I easily filled my pie plate. I peeled and cored each apple by hand before slicing them, use your judgement on how thick of a slice, remember the larger the slice the crisper the apple when cooked.
After slicing all the apples I mixed them with the 2/3 cup of granulated sugar being sure to coat all the apples with sugar. It’s a lot of sugar to be perfectly honest I think you can easily cut it down to about 1/2 cup and still enjoy the recipe. I also got nervous about there being no butter mixed in with the apples… I wasn’t sure they’d cook without it so I put a few pats of butter in with the apples. I was raised by a Southern cook, we use butter any chance we get. BIG MISTAKE! So I’m used to the apples having a soft texture in apple crisp- the kind canned apples would give you with a crisp flaky topping- that isn’t the case with this recipe. Although the extra butter did soften the apples a bit, it also left a bubbly mess on the bottom of my oven! If you put a cookie sheet below your pie plate you can avoid the mess, but the recipe really didn’t need the extra butter, which pains me to say.
For the topping you can mix together the flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon with your hands, I used a pastry cutter. Once it’s all crumbly like little peas you simply spread it directly over the apples in the pie plate then cook for an hour. With the peeling of the apples by hand and the total time it took to bake, I’d say it easily took me an hour and a half to make this dish. So not the most time efficient recipe- but very tasty!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ** very time consuming with peeling apples and baking time of an hour
Cost of ingredients: **** depending on the brand of apples you choose the cost will reflect it
Taste: ***** very sweet, very crisp apples, pure sugar
Nutrition: ** because of the high amount of sugar and butter not the most nutritious even if it’s apples
I’m used to a very different type of apple crisp, one with a more substantial topping either with oats or crumbled pie crust. The first bite of this apple crisp is pure sugar! After eating it I was afraid to go outside fearing I’d melt in the rain. As I discovered the extra butter wasn’t needed as the apples cooked up just fine without it. It’s best served warm, and vanilla ice cream cuts down on the sweetness. I would not serve this to my children before bed- but grandchildren who are headed for home can have a second helping!
Next week our journey will take us west of New Hampshire to Vermont. So until next Sunday- may all your journeys be safe and all your eats be good!