Sometimes what I need more than anything is a little time away in the country - even if that means actually only just a short 40 minute drive away home. And that is how I came to find myself, with Mr K and the Zen's, at Glenbernie Orchard at Darkes Forest on a bright crisp autumn day, picking apples.
The Apple Shack of Glenbernie Orchard is a 4th generation family owned farm where you can purchase fresh fruits, juice, cider, honey and preserves - if you visit in the right season you can also pick your own apples, persimmons and raspberries.
The season for apple picking runs from from about November to April, so we made it right at the end of the 'pick your own' season. The apples on the trees were incredibly beautiful and of spectacular quality - the pink lady apples tasted fresh, tangy and sweet.
With a few kilos of fresh apples in my kitchen, I decided to make a milopita (Μηλόπιτα) or Greek apple pie for Mother's Day - which is this coming Sunday in Australia.
Milopita (Μηλόπιτα) or apple pie is more of a traditional breakfast, or mid-morning snack in Greece. It is full of sweet, juicy apples and spiced with plenty of cinnamon. My version makes a great dessert, as opposed to a breakfast treat, with the additional of some Caramel Metaxa Yoghurt on the side.
3 Pink Lady (or other tangy) apple
Fresh lemon juice
50g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinammon
1 teaspoon of Metaxa or other brandy
125g butter (at room temperature)
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
2 eggs, separated
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup whole milk
Icing sugar to dust
Caramel Mextaxa Yoghurt
2 tablespoons of Mextaxa
50g brown sugar
1 cup Greek Youghurt, preferably Dodoni
Method: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
1. Preheat oven to 160C and grease a pie dish.
2. Peel, core and slice apples finely. Toss well in lemon juice to coat, to prevent apples browning. Set aside.
3. Beat together 125g butter, caster sugar, orange and lemon zest, vanilla paste and egg yolks until pale, light and fluffy.
4. Add half the sifted flour and cinnamon, combine well. Then add milk and combine well. Add the remaining sifted flour and cinnamon and beat well to combine.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites into stiff peaks. Fold half of the egg whites through the batter to loosen the mix, then fold through the remaining egg whites. Spread the batter into the prepared pie dish.
6. In a small pan, melt 50g of butter, 50g of brown sugar, cinnamon and Mextaxa.
7. Drain the apples, discard the juice and then pour over the cinnamon butter mixture, toss to combine well.
8. Arrange the apple slices over the batter and drizzle over any remaining butter. You can also add some chopped unbalanced almonds or pine nuts for a little texture if you wish. Bake for around 50 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve with the caramel Mextaxa yoghurt.
Apple Shack at Glenbernie Orchard
259 Darkes Forest Rd
Darkes Forest NSW
Open Times: 7 Days 10am - 4.30pm