Looking to plan a creative, seasonally-themed event that appeals to guests of various ages, genders, and interests? Our Kiwanis Young Professionals club has monthly social events, and that was exactly what I was looking to do last month. We hosted a very autumnal gathering, but I think this concept could be applied to other seasons. ???
We started the day at our local apple orchard, picking apples and buying fresh-pressed cider. Then we brought the party home and started creating fall treats. Not only did we bake apple desserts, several of us also learned how to turn the raw apple cider into hard cider, one gallon at a time. (DO try this at home!)
Let’s start with the cider. To make it, you’ll either need a brewing supply store or internet access. If you don’t have either of those, you aren’t reading this blog right now. Procure the supplies below:
- one-gallon glass container (you can use a half-gallon growler, but you’ll of course need to divide all the ingredients even further)
- airlock and bung stopper (a #9 stopper fits standard growlers)
- tiny handful of wood chips, optional
- sanitizing solution, like Star San
- bottles and sugar cubes, if you want to carbonate it
Use one of these recipes below, which are from our local brew supply store, North Corner Brewing Supply.
First use the solution to sanitize your vessel. Swish some solution and water around inside it, and then pour it out without rinsing. Follow one of the recipes above. Store this cider in a dark place that has a relatively constant, cool temperature. When it’s finished, it won’t be carbonated. So if you’d like some fizz, you’ll need bottling supplies and equipment. Maybe your homebrewer friend can help you out.
How cute are Chelsea and Anthony? ?
While some of us were doing alcohol-related science projects in the garage, the rest of us were slicing, dicing, and baking like mad fools. Our dessert menu included mini galettes, apple zeppole, and those totally overdone but completely adorable apple roses that you make with puff pastry sheets.
Our apple zeppole recipe was very experimental (which is my favorite kind of recipe). Basically, we followed the same recipe that we used for our churros last month, but reduced the water and added grated apple. See below:
- Cut 80 grams (about 3/4 stick) of butter into small pieces and melt it in a sauce pan with 1/3 cup water.
- When it comes to a boil, add 2/3 cup flour (sifted with 2T sugar, 1/4 t cinnamon, and a pinch of salt) and stir over low heat until it forms a ball.
- Remove from heat and add 2 eggs one at a time.
- Add 2/3 cup of grated apple (try to squeeze as much juice out as you can).
- Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough into the oil of a deep fryer, set to 375°F, and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
With Nicole at the helm of the fryer, I knew we were in good hands. Related: Nicole has become concerned that almost every time she’s mentioned on the blog, she’s deep frying something. I’m failing to see the problem with this, but if you feel like you MUST prove yourself with a guest post on a non-fried dessert, I’ll allow it. Call me.
For a dipping sauce for these apple zeppole, I used Martha’s recipe for caramel whipped cream. It was super rich, and perfect for the little apple fritters.
Now, onto these apple rose tarts. I know, EVERYONE is making these. Even a lot of the guys who joined us said “Oh yeah, I saw those on Facebook.” We don’t like doing things that everyone else is doing, but man those tarts are just so cute! How can you resist? And I’m glad we made them, because now we have an idea about how to make them much better. That recipe will be featured on our Thanksgiving post. Stay tuned. ?
Important lesson learned during apple rose tart making: when they say thinly sliced apples, they mean it. You should be able to read a newspaper through your apple. Even after soaking and microwaving the slices, they wanted to break instead of bend. Here is the recipe we used.
If you can handle having a loud, messy, crazy houseful of people, throw a party like this. We had a ton of fun, the house smelled wonderful, and we ended up with awesome treats to eat and take home. What could be better? If only the hard cider was ready right away. I guess we’ll have to have a follow up party!