Apple-picking California Style & Apple Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

Apple-picking is totally fall for me. So in my attempts to recreate my New England fall experience, I dragged some East Coast expats to go apple-picking. I had fun but it wasn’t the same.  For starters, I realized it’s not really easy to find an orchard in Northern California. At least not the kind of vast orchards I’d find back home.  We went to Smith Family Farms in Brentwood which is about an hour drive. It was about 82 degrees that day – the opposite of ideal apple-picking weather. We were all in shorts and sandals!

The website said to call ahead so I did. Four calls, two voice mails and three days later they got back to me. The lady was super nice and said they still had u-pick apples but very few apples were left.  I was really confused as to what she meant until I showed up. There were really only a few apples left. Chris and I left with 16 apples; some of them the size of golf balls – but they were literally ALL the apples left.

Though they did have pomegranates, persimmons and bell peppers available for picking. We were splitting up pomegranates left and right to eat and getting red sticky hands. It felt funny and strange like ‘hey why am I not sick from over eating apples and where are the delicious warm apple cider donuts?’ But all in all it was a fun day and definitely a new experience.

I didn’t know Pomegranates grew on trees! 

The advice we received in picking perfect, ripe and ready-to-eat pomegranates was to look for ones that were slightly cracked but still hard.
Look closely – you can see an apple 4 of 16 on the orchard.

Our bountiful stash. 
Armed with apples I decided to make some biscuits! That’s the usual connection, right? Apples and biscuits? Not apples and pie – that’s too predictable.  I decided to make some after seeing these Bacon Cheddar Scallion biscuits from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures but to use the apples I just “harvested” instead. It came out great and was so easy to make! 
Apple Cheddar Scallion Biscuits
Makes about 16 biscuits
For the biscuits:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 cold whole milk (I only had lowfat milk and it turned out well!)
  • vinegar*
For the add-ins:
  • 2 scallions (green parts only), sliced thinly
  • 2 small- or 1 medium-sized apple, cored and diced into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

*Side note: To make biscuits with a tangier taste, you could use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (which I normally don’t) you could do what I did – pour out milk to just shy of 3/4 of a cup and then add a splash of vinegar. Let stand for about 3-5 minutes. 
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
*In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. 
*Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to create the pieces of butter with flour. If you have a pastry blender you can use that to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is pebbly but I just used my hands. You will end up with pea size pieces. 
*Pour milk over the dry ingredients. Add the scallions, apples and cheddar cheese and grab a fork and gently toss the ingredients until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Don’t be tempted to over mix! It will all come together soon.
*Use your hands to gently knead all the ingredients together. I did this for about 5-6 turns. 
*Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. 
*You can use a rolling pin to flat out the dough to about 1/2 inch high but I just used my hands to pat down the dough into a large rectangle. 
*Instead of using a biscuit cutter, I evenly divided the dough with a sharp knife into two pieces and then divided those two pieces evenly four times until I got 8 semi-squares (16 all together). 
*Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown. 
Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days or place in the refrigerator to last longer.  I’d pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to reheat. 


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