A Fresh Apple Bake, Macouns, and Orchard Sculpture

The apples are sautéd with sugar and a splash of bourbon before the batter is added. (Bar Lois Weeks)

THERE ARE ALMOST AS MANY WAYS to cook apples as there are apples, as is evidenced by the sheer number of cookbooks dedicated to this singular fruit.

One of the newest is simply titled, Apples, 50 Tried and True Recipes, by food writer Julia Rutland. Published in 2020, it includes a recipe for clafouti, a custardy dessert consisting of a layer of fruit topped with batter and baked.

Baked Apple Clafouti is delicious and easy to make. We made a few alterations to the original, using a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, for example, and keeping the apple peels on for added flavor, texture, color, and, most of all, nutrition.

Rutland’s recipe calls for half-and-half, but we had none in the house, so substituted whole milk mixed with plain yogurt. It came out just fine.

We used Spencer apples, choosing them instead of the Romes we are saving for Thanksgiving, since Spencers do not store as well and should be used soon, while they are still plenty firm and packed with flavor.

No matter how you make it (and with any variety), Baked Apple Clafouti is a delicious dessert (we even had some for breakfast!).

Recipe below.

Baked Apple Caflouti. (Russell Steven Powell)
Baked Apple Caflouti made with Spencer apples. (Bar Lois Weeks)

*          *          *

MANY APPLE LOVERS consider Macoun to be among the best, if not THE best, fresh-eating apple. Treasured for its crisp, spicy flavor, in 2023 this offspring of McIntosh and the heirloom Jersey Black will celebrate a century since its commercial release. Its wine-red color and boxy shape make Macoun as appealing to the eye as to the stomach. Bashista Orchards, Southampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Any way you slice it, Macoun is a beautiful thing. (Chris Rob Weeks)
Many of Fenwick’s subjects take human form, Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

*          *          *

A 50-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE of Vermont sculptor Mark Fenwick‘s artwork will grace the orchard at Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts, through Thanksgiving weekend.

Fenwick’s work is on display during the off year for Art in the Orchard; Park Hill has hosted the juried sculptural installation biannually since 2011.

Fenwick works primarily with first-growth pine, Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

“Climbing Sustentaculum,” Mark Fenwick, Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
Wooden sculptures mingle with the trees at Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)
The natural sculpture of the apple trees contrasts with the human-made ones, Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts. (Russell Steven Powell)

Apple Caflouti with Spencers

Baked Apple Caflouti with Spencer apples. (Bar Lois Weeks)

A delicious, custardy dessert, easy to make and full of apple flavor.

Adapted from Apples, 50 Tried & True Recipes, by Julia Rutland.

Preheat oven to 400ºF


4 eggs
3/4 c whole milk
3/4 c plain yogurt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c whole wheat flour
3 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla


4 Spencer or other New England apples, cored and sliced
1/2 c sugar
3 T butter
2 T bourbon or brandy

In a large bowl, whisk together batter ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, lightly stir apples and sugar together until apples are coated.

Melt 3T butter in a 10-inch, ovenproof skillet over low to medium heat. Add apples and bourbon. Sauté 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved and apples are beginning to soften.

Whisk batter again before pouring over apples to prevent it from separating. Place skillet in oven and bake 35-40 minutes, until edges are golden brown.

Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.