Shanna Holding an Apple |

It’s Saturday. I’m awake too early, still in bed but eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, too excited to go back to sleep. Today we’re going apple-picking, which, for the joy it gives me, may as well be cookie-eating or treasure-finding, and right now, the sound of Tim’s breathing next to me, all I can think about are the bright blue skies, warm golden sunshine and endless apples that await us when we do.

Apple |

What can I say about apple-picking that hasn’t already been said? That there’s something wonderful about standing amongst rows of trees, many of them heavy with fruit, the yeasty smell of fallen, fermenting apples in the air? That trekking out with your friends or family to an orchard, a basket slung over your arm, feels like a celebration, just like carving a turkey or chopping down a Christmas tree? Or maybe that picking apples, to me, is one of those activities that’s so quintessentially autumn, so like pumpkin carving or sipping cider, that when you go out and do it, with your roommate or your husband or your friend and her kids, you can count on finding yourself, surrounded by harvest and clutching your cardigan, thinking, this, this!, is why there’s just no time like fall.

Tennessee Orchard |

It’s easy to sleep in on winter weekends, but on a late-September Saturday with apple-picking ahead, it only makes sense to get up early, pack a few snacks, log a few hours of work nearby and then call a few orchards so you can be on the road. That’s why, a little past noon had us eastbound on the interstate, me in my new Goodwill cardigan, Tim in his thick rugby shirt, and within 30 minutes we were at Breeden’s, 631 Beckwith, Mount Juliet, a modest orchard outside Nashville, past sloping hills and winding roads and thick clusters of trees.

Pick an Apple |
Tim and Shanna Apple Picking |
basket of apples |

Yellow apples were the only ones available for picking, and there weren’t a ton left, but at $1/pound, the whole situation was still pretty hard to beat. We strolled up sun-kissed aisles and filled our basket, taking seven or so pounds back home with us, along with fruit-sweetened blueberry jam purchased in the adjacent country store.

Freshly Washed Apples |

Back in our kitchen, we washed the apples a little more aggressively than normal, in a vinegar solution, since they were grown conventionally, and went ahead and peeled them, too. The first several became the topping for a dozen rustic apple tartlets, inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest a while ago.

Making Tarts |

The dough we made with einkorn flour, a new pantry staple we’ve introduced into our regular routine recently, and which I’ve been looking forward to sharing with you here. Einkorn is, essentially, one of the most ancient forms of wheat. (One of the biggest issues with today’s traditional wheat flours is that they’ve been so highly hybridized and hence hard on your body, but einkorn takes us back to the original form. It is considered easier to digest even than spelt, and for that reason, it may soon become the flour we use most often in our kitchen. For more information, see these posts from Nourished Kitchen and Healthy Home Economist)

So far what I’ve seen from einkorn—baking cookies, making pizza dough and turning it into the bottom of tartlets—is that it behaves similarly to spelt except that it absorbs a little more liquid, meaning recipe adjustments might require adjusting proportions slightly.

Apple Tarts |

Anyway, whether you use einkorn or not, the idea for these tartlets isn’t hard to mimic: make a pastry dough and roll it out nice and thin; use a biscuit cutter to slice out 12 rounds, then top them with sliced apples in a pinwheel pattern, drizzling honey and fresh thyme and cinnamon atop that. Bake. Drizzle with honey as a sort of glaze and sprinkle toasted hazelnuts.

Apple Tarts |

By Saturday evening, before sharing dinner with friends, Tim and I were popping these pretty tartlets, heating up leftovers, looking at all the apples in our fridge and feeling pretty thankful for this glorious season that is fall. Oh, apple-picking, you know how to do.

Psst — Do you already go apple-picking? What other ways do you embrace fall? And hey, to find an orchard near you, check out and Orange Pippin.

Rustic Apple Tartlets
Makes 12

As stated in the above post, these tartlets are made to be rustic and simple, but you could easily dress them up by cutting your apple slices uniformly (and being exact about it). We loved these as they were, but I’d also like to try tossing the apple mixture with a teaspoon of yogurt next time, just to see if that’d change the moisture and the topping’s ability to brown.

Pastry dough (recipe below)
3 apples, peeled and sliced as uniformly as possible, which, if you’re me, might not be uniformly at all
Juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for drizzling
fresh thyme, to your liking
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and honey and set aside.

Roll pastry dough out on parchment paper or floured surface and cut out 3-inch rounds, using a cookie or biscuit cutter. At the thickness we ended up with, we had 12 little rounds total.

Arrange apple slices on top of rounds, adding a little drizzle of honey and some thyme to each one. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until apples turn slightly golden. Garnish with more honey and chopped hazelnuts.

*Pastry Dough Recipe
Makes enough for one batch of tartlets

1 to 1 1/3 cup einkorn flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold, cubed butter
1/4 cup cold water

Combine flour and salt; cut butter into mixture until there are no more big chunks of butter. Add water, stir and then use your hands to work the dough into a solid dough, adding more flour if needed.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Laura

    The pictures in this post are SO BEAUTIFUL. I can feel your joy for the season just looking at them.

    Also, I was looking to see where I could source einkorn flour in Ontario and surprise! It’s apparently very similar to red fife flour (a staple in our house). I do love me some heritage wheat. Less tummy aches and bloat-y feelings.

    1. Shannalee

      Yay for heritage wheats, indeed! I’ve actually never heard of red fife but will have to research — thanks for the mention!

      Update: So fun to learn a little more about a new-to-us wheat! Red fife looks like a great heirloom wheat, probably on the level of spelt. One of the main reasons we like einkorn flour though is that it has only 14 chromosomes (for a good explanation of the chromosomes issue, visit the Nourished Kitchen link in the post.) Thanks again, Laura!

  2. Sarah

    I love visiting apple orchards! I go to the local one here and get a bag of honeycrisp every year. I’ve never gone apple picking though. Those look delicious!

  3. Erin

    I’ve been researching a lot in to ancient wheats and I’m so happy to see you using them as well!

    Also, your photography has been amazing as of recently- everything is just gorgeous!

  4. Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn

    We went apple picking a few weeks ago – it’s so true that the whole experience – the rows of trees and the apples and the sky and the secretly munching on apples in the anonymity of the orchard – it’s all amazing. These tartlets are right up my alley – straightforward and not too fancy – lets the apples do the talking! Yum!

    1. Shannalee

      It’s not as pressing as it is with other flours (although, to be real, we don’t always soak spelt either), but it is still *best* to soak it. Anytime you can increase enzymes, reduce phytic acid and aid digestion of flours, it’s best to do so. I didn’t soak it for these tartlet crusts because they were last minute, but I did soak it twice this past week for our kefir-soaked pizza crusts. Hope that’s helpful?

  5. Jacqui

    These images just burst of Fall and the way the light cast shadows a certain way, beautiful! I’ve heard of Einkorn, but haven’t used it yet. These little apple tartlets are tempting me to go source some!

  6. sarah kate branine

    I am probably repeating several things that others said, but, uno: your outfit is amazing! dos: these pictures are completely magical! and tres: I am SO wanting to go apple picking now so that I can make these!

    ( The reason for my Spanish outbreak? This morning at breakfast, Steve told Graeme that he needed to eat three more bites of egg. After G ate his first bite, Steve told him, “One is uno in Spanish.” And Graeme retorted, “uyes?” Kids. They’re so great :)

  7. Jodie Mo

    Being a Tennessean myself ( a native who has recently moved back) I know that apples in this state are something that many natives wait all year for. I grew up with an apple tree in my grandparents’ yard and to this day I still enjoy shaking each branch until every sweet juicy fruit hits the ground. There is nothing better than a fresh apple, all crisp and succulent. I love the simplicity of your recipe. It certainly highlights the deliciousness of the season.

  8. art and lemons

    I haven’t picked an apple yet this season. I keep thinking I need to do something about this before the trees are bare. It looks like a lovely day filled with warmth and sweetness. Yes, I too want those yellow pants (the boots too)! Terrific photos, you’re rocking it lady—and gent :)

  9. Kira

    I just made these and tossed the apples with some greek yogurt and it was delicious! And I was reading in the comments about soaking your flour… how does that work?

    1. Tim

      Hi Kira!
      That sounds great–the apples mixed with yogurt.

      Soaking grains and flour in an acid medium helps make them easier to digest, increases enzymes, and available nutrients. For certain grains/legumes like rice, oats, or beans, you can soak them in water overnight with either a tablespoon of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, or cultured dairy. For recipes, like pancakes or bread, many times you can let the batter soak overnight and that will do the same thing. Depending on the food, what is happening many times is that good bacteria are feeding on the sugars present and creating enzymes (like sourdough). Typically soaking wheat or flour definitely helps with digestibility and available nutrients so we like to do it, but you don’t have to. Einkorn already poses less problems than modern wheat since it is less hybridized (it only has 14 chromosomes and modern wheat has 42).

      Phew–sorry that was so long, hope it helps!

  10. Pingback: Einkorn Pitas + a Giveaway! | Food Loves Writing

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