Autumn spoils us with warm September sun and a blue sky. We spend as much time as we can outside in the green, do garden work, take walks in the forest and pick mushrooms, berries and apples.
Not far from our house there is an abandoned cottage. For the past ten, fifteen years, the owner hasn't used it. Behind the house, in the overgrown garden, there are standing three old apple trees. In the nights, the deer and elks come to feast on the windfalls. In the daytime, the wasps enjoy the quiet in the high grass.
The owner has given us permission to pick whatever grows in the garden, and today I went down to the cottage to pick apples for chutneys and jellies and came home with three heavy baskets filled with the nicest red fruits.
One thing I love to do during autumn is to make crispy apple chips. We have a food dehydrator that I often use for making classic dried apple rings, but for this recipe I dry the sliced apples in the oven.
Apples (I use a not too sweet variety, such as Belle de Boskoop or Gala)
Depending on the size, you will need about 4-5 apples per baking sheet.
1. Rinse the apples
2. In a small pot, bring the sugar and the water to boil gently. Turn off the heat and let cool a bit.
3. Slice your apples with the peel and the core. The trick is to slice them really thin - I use a mandoline or a sharp knife - or else they will get a chewing-gum-like consistence.
4. Add the apple slices to the sugar syrup and stir gently so that each slice is coated with the syrup. Let soak for five minutes.
5. Heat your oven, 100°C if you have a convection oven, 110°C if you use normal top and lower heat.
6. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and lift the apple slices one by one from the syrup and shake of the excess. Place each on the parchment paper - make sure that they don't overlap.
7. Put the baking sheet in the oven and dry the apple slices for 60 minutes. If you have an convection oven, you can dry several baking sheets at a time.
8. If they are done, the apple chips should be golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven, remove the apple chips immediately from the parchment paper and let cool on a cooling rack. When cooling down, the apple chips get crispy. If not, you might want to dry them for a few more minutes in the oven (on the cooling rack).
9. Store in an air-tight container.
*If I have half a lemon at hand, I use the lemon juice and add some water (150ml).
A friendly warning: The apple chips are addictive and have a very short shelf-life - simply due to the fact that you want to eat them in no time ;-)
Instead of apples, you can also use pear or quinces or add some grated green ginger, cardamon or cinnamon to the syrup. For an even healthier snack - minus the sugar, that is - you can simply skip the syrup and dry thin apple slices in the oven, the food dehydrator or simply on a string in a warm and dry place. They will turn out less crunchy and crispy (the sugar does the trick), but we love them like that simple, too...
I often put apple chips on a string and wrap them in cellophane to give them away as a little gift when visiting friends. They'd make a nice present for Christmas, too (instead of cookies) and are a great and easy-to-make gift when it is Sunday, the shops are closed (happens in the countryside) and I just need something small to not come empty-handed...
Sending you an autumn breeze,