We have apple trees here on Mackinac, the long lasting remnants of a time when there were farms here on the Island - can you imagine trying to farm such rocky "soil"?
Apple trees (and lilacs), seemingly out of place in the woods or fields are the sure sign of long ago farmstead, they are amazingly resilient.
Apple Custard Cake:
1 stick butter, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup flour, plus more for the pan
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
4 large apples
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9" square pan with foil, then smear with a think layer of butter. Dust with flour, turn the pan over and tap lightly to remove excess flour.
Melt the stick of butter in a small saucepan. In a bowl, whisk or beat together the eggs and half the sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half the long way; scrape the seeds into the egg/sugar mixture and put the pod in with the melted butter; let the butter cool while you prepare the batter and the apples. continue to beat the eggs and sugar, adding the remaining sugar a little at a time, until thick. Peel, quarter and core the apples, then trim their ends and slice thinly.
Remove the vanilla pod from the butter and beat the butter into the batter, the mixture should form a ribbon when dropped from a spoon. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir it into the egg/sugar mixture alternately with the milk. Add the apples and stir them in well, every piece of apple must be coated with batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even out the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes, then rotate the pan, bake an additional 25 minutes until the cake pulls away from the pan and is brown on top. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes, then serve long slices, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
We have been trying to eat more seasonally and locally; I just picked eggplant, zucchini, green beans and peppers from my own garden, here on Mackinac - yes, on October 23th!