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.
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 to it.