By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
As a young girl, my family took many long car rides north from Chicago to visit my aunt’s apple and horse farm in Wisconsin. As we pulled up the dirt driveway, the horses ran to the gate to greet us.
We spent each day of our trip working and visiting. Every morning, the sound of beer cans tied to the trees tinkling in the breeze like wind chimes woke us. (My uncle was convinced that the odor would send away the hungry deer.) We went into the orchard first thing, the better part of the morning consumed by gathering bushel after bushel of apples, my brother and I chasing after the best fruit that had already fallen to the ground. Afterwards, we would treat ourselves to an afternoon ride, with a small sack of apples we had saved for the horses. This was followed by evenings of baking and canning, reserving the apple peels and scraps to press for cider and throw to the dogs. The scent of a McIntosh apple and the loud crunch of biting into a freshly picked fruit, juices running down my chin, immediately takes me back to childhood memories of thick wool sweaters, mud-covered shoes and rustling around in piles of hay in the barn.
Read on to discover Chef Jenny's favorite heirloom apples and how to use them.