tart wild thing

September 7, 2013
wild apples

Last night, just after dusk, I heard a pack of coyotes howling. It’s such a classic call of the wild – first the high-pitched yipping – then the howls. Then the dark silence, as though it never happened. Except it’s so haunting that the sound stays with you a while – lingering on – giving you just the slightest sense of unease.

This morning it was the wild geese. They’re gathering on the river just beyond my house. Every fall they do this. They congregate for days until, I presume, they reach some critical mass, when they take off and head south in their classic V-formation.

Wild seems to be a theme in my life just at the moment.  Things are a bit wild – a bit messy and out of control – too many deadlines – too much on. I’m overwhelmed. Even my misuse of hyphens seems to have become a little more wild than normal. 

The week before last, I took my youngest daughter on a road trip.  We drove up north, passing hundreds of wild apple trees laden with fruit. Every tree we passed looked better than the last. Eventually, because they were irresistible and because I love foraging, we stopped and picked a bag full. I took them home and tested one to make sure it was a cooking apple. It was. It ‘fell’ almost immediately. These apples are tart and tiny and full of flavour.

We made them into a tart wild apple crisp. It’s like autumn in a dish. Serve it with a little maple syrup. Perhaps some whipped cream. And if you haven’t got wild apples – just use regular tart apples – or whatever other wild tart fruit you can get your hands on. But find some wild ones if you can.

baked wild apple crisp

Tart Wild Apple Crisp

8 cups sliced, peeled tart wild apples (or use a variety of apples, pears, blackberries, cranberries, etc.)
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter (or vegan margarine)
1/2 tsp salt

Lay the fruit in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Try to avoid the temptation to toss sugar on it. It won’t need it.  Mix together the flour, sugar, oatmeal and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Scatter over the fruit. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until the fruit has fallen and the topping is nicely browned. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Or even better, just pour the maple syrup on it.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jessica September 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    WOW that looks yummy! I LOVE apple crisp, but for some reason I’m not a big apple pie fan.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Jessica! Elly helped pick the apples – and get this – she drove us to the Bruce Trail where we picked them. The crisp was so good. I used way too much butter. Then we drowned it in maple syrup. YUM.
      So glad we saw you this summer. Hope your semester is going well. xox

      • Reply Jessica September 8, 2013 at 2:18 am

        She told me she drove a bit! Super proud!
        Semester is going to be really busy

  • Reply apuginthekitchen September 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I’m intrigued, how do you test an apple to see if you can eat it? I have never foraged, and would have thought all apples would have been edible, The ones you picked are just beautiful as is your crisp. It makes me happy that autumn is around the corner!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      I think you can eat all wild apples Suzanne – but only some will fall when you cook them. I tested it by cutting an apple in quarters – then dropping it a little boiling water in a saucepan to see if it would soften. Some never do soften. Some fall tender almost immediately – and then you know – you’ve got a cooking apple!
      And yes – autumn in upon us here. The coyotes howling and the geese flying south are a sure sign of that.

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn September 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    You had me Googling, again! It’s a crumble! I didn’t realise the same desserts/cakes are known as something else. Have to say they’re one of my all-time favourite desserts. And it’s just getting cool enough at night here to make ’em! Now to find that thin custard recipe. It’s on my HD somewhere.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Yes – you’re right! Of course! 😉 Technically the difference is that there are no oats in a crisp and there are oats in a cobbler. But, I don’t know – it feels like an apple crisp to me somehow. And yes, would be so nice with custard but it’s tart enough that just pouring pure maple syrup on it was pretty fantastic.

  • Reply Jennifer Smeltzer September 7, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Another wonderful post, Lindy…. sure sounds delish!!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Jen – thanks. Out of control over here. Will come up for air soon. xx

  • Reply bakeaffairs September 8, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Sounds like a wonderful place to live! Every year in September, over a period of a few days, hundreds of swallows gather on the wood pylon next to our house and I look forward to it every year 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful post and delicious recipe.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

      I love your description of the swallows gathering – and the fact that you look forward to it every year. How beautiful. And thank you for your lovely comment – much appreciated.

  • Reply Judit + Corina @WineDineDaily September 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Really sounds like you do live in a beautiful place with rich nature and wild life! Love what you did with these gorgeous wild apples….

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you – and I just looked at your fantastic website – WOW! Beautiful!!

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality September 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    This sounds fantastic Lindy! I cannot wait for apple season to be upon us down here! Now I need to discover where I can find wild apples to pick! 🙂 I also love the idea of maple syrup with this! Yummy!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Kenley – I always LOVE hearing from you. Thank you! It’s already apple season here – last night along my walking trail the wild apples were all over the ground already – almost finished. And the coyotes – oh Kenley – you would not believe their howls – achingly beautiful. And a little frightening too…
      Lindy xx

      • Reply Green Door Hospitality September 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        I love hearing the coyotes too. We have several here that howl and I especially love it when the pups are young and they try to howl to mimic the adults but it comes out sounding hilarious (and less frightening, hehe).

  • Reply Karen September 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    It does sound like you have been experiencing the wild side of nature and in a nice way. Your wild apples look good and I’m sure your crisp was delicious. You see wild apple trees all along the roads here in New England.

  • Reply The Novice Gardener September 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    The wild howling of coyotes … that sends shivers down my spine. Actually can’t remember if I ever heard it live, but just the thought of it. But I can definitely remember foraging for wild apples cos I just did it a few weeks ago. There was a huge apple tree behind a gas station with hundreds of apples, so tempting! I’m surprised nobody would pick them, so I did. Don’t worry, I asked first. 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen September 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Isn’t it fabulous foraging like that. Always a thrill for me. Your blog is LOVELY!

    I'd love to hear from you...

    %d bloggers like this: