14 September 2007

Lavender and Apple

This article is also posted (semi)permanently on my recipe files under the same title.

I was very concerned when I saw this month's They Go Really Well Together: Apples aren't in season! I thought. It's the start of September. We're still eating peaches and tomatoes. I had not contributed to any of the previous TGRWTs: one was inconveniently timed, and most included ingredients I was not a fan of. But apples and lavender! Those ingredients are amazing! If only she had waited a month.

Little did I know that Nature and the Farmer's Market had conspired to force me to enter. That Saturday was the first day of apple season: every stand, all of a sudden, was overflowing with amazing apples. I bought close to a dozen. Lavender grows near my house, but one stand also had bunches of gorgeous dried lavender. So I came home that Saturday with all the ingredients I needed.

Besides, my roommate and I were planning on going out to Lavender Country Contra Dance, which was to begin with a potluck. What better to bring than an entirely experimental dish? I ended up making two recipes: the Vegan Apple Lavender Crisp I brought to the contra dance, and a Lavender Apple Iced Tea that I've been enjoying at home. I'll end with Reviews.


Vegan Apple Lavender Crisp

Preheat oven 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil for ease of removing the crisp later.



Slice
  • 4 cooking apples.



Take six stalks dried lavender; chop and mortar-and-pestle the flowers. Makes
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers.



Toss with apples. Also toss in
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch



Pour apples into prepared pan.

In medium bowl, combine with fingers
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Sprinkle over apples. Bake 350°F for 35 minutes, or until crust turns golden.




Lavender Apple Iced Tea

If you buy dried lavender, you will find yourself wanting to use the flowers in recipes, but most of what you bought is stem. Here's a recipe that can perfectly use up the extra.

Cut lavender stems into two-inch pieces.



Place in a half-gallon container.



Also add
  • 1 bag plain black tea (I use PG Tips)
  • 1 packet instant hot apple cider powder (it's cheating, but I had some lying around)

and fill with water. Refrigerate over night.


Reviews

The apple crisp was a huge hit at the dance. It did taste overwhelmingly of lavender, and it's not clear that the apple and the lavender married well. The cinnamon and lemon also each add their own zing; the four main flavors did make for a nice ensemble (and I'd be curious to try this with more honey in the crust). Overall, there were many compliments, and even more comments of the form "this is really weird". I liked it.

The iced tea, on the other hand, was divine. Without straining, you do get the occasional sip full of stem, but the flavors married amazingly well: it tasted of lavender and apple and tea without tasting of any of these individually. The adjective that comes to mind for the flavor is "smooth".

On the other hand, now a week later, the crisp is gone, and the drink tastes mostly of the tannins in the black tea, and the spices in the cider. C'est la vie.

3 comments:

african vanielje said...

It's always great to experiment theo, thanks for entering TGRWT #6

papin.c said...

I tried the tea, but used lavender flowers. Tasted great. From the TGRWT #6 comments, it seems that lavender needs to be infused to release the flavors.

Jason F. said...

That's looking goooooood...