Typically apple picking season goes hand-in-hand with breezy days, cool evenings, sweaters and boots, but this year fall is a no-show in Southern California. Though it’s hard to complain about sunny sky 80 degree weather, we are craving a shift in season.  Tired of waiting for fall to arrive, we decided to take a small road trip to Julian to pick us some apples.

With John Denver on repeat we took our time with the long, windy drive.  Playing silly car games and taking in the small simple towns filled with wild honey and avocado stands.  Within a couple hours we arrived to the charming town of Julian.  Seeing that California is in a drought we didn’t know what to expect, but to our surprise the town was buzzing; bakeries bustling and the orchards were plentiful with apples literally falling off the trees.  We climbed trees and played red-light-green-light down the long isles of orchards all while filling our bellies and baskets full of freshly picked apples…Our kids didn’t quite understand the concept “you pick it you buy it” so lets just say we will be eating apples morning, noon and night for some time to come.

Rustic Apple Tart

This is one of my favorite ways to use up apples, it is simple, subtly sweet and presents beautifully.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
flour for surface
3 or 4 medium apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk beaten with one teaspoon water (egg wash)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface roll puff pastry out to a 8 by 14 inch rectangle, trim edges with a knife. Lay puff pastry on a baking sheet and place in freezer.

Peel, core and slice apples about 1/4 inch thick. Toss them in a bowl with sugar. Brush the puff pastry with the egg wash and begin placing apples on the puff pastry leaving a 3/4 inch thick border. Dallop apples with butter and bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Warm the jam in a small saucepan and spread over the tart after removing from the oven. Slice into squares with a serrated knife and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy those local hand-picked apples. Goes well with wine, cheese and fresh fruits.

Recipe adapted from here