Monticello Staff Recipes: From Orchard to Table

tasting 2The apple was a standard, everyday fruit at Monticello during Jefferson’s time, especially during the autumn months. Jefferson cultivated his apples with exceptional attention to detail; they were often featured in meals and desserts served in Jefferson’s Dining Room. The apple still remains one of the region’s crowning jewels; many Virginians enjoy apple picking at their favorite orchards in the Shenandoah region.  Here, Monticello staff share some of their favorite apple recipes and tips for bringing apples from the orchard to the table!

Gabriele’s Apple Bites

Many apple dishes require minimum preparation and produce delicious results. Gabriele Rausse, Monticello’s Director of Garden and Grounds, uses his favorite Virginia apple– the Albemarle Pippin– in this simple recipe below. Rausse notes that if you don’t have the Albemarle Pippin, the recipe works great with apples that aren’t quite right ripe or several pear varieties.

GabrieleMED[1]1) Peel the Albemarle Pippins. Remove the core.

3) Put them in a pot and add red wine until the apples are partially submerged (the wine has to be good).

4) Add one tablespoon of sugar per apple.

5) Add a leaf of noble bay to give aroma to the dish.

6) Let them simmer until the wine becomes syrupy and the apples are tender.  Voila!


Amplify Your Apple Crisp

lily-fox-bruguiereLily Fox-Brugiere, Garden and Outreach Coordinator for the CHP, recommends using heirloom apples in an apple crisp. “I love all of the old apple varieties we grow here at Monticello! They have such wonderful, bright flavors, and are perfectly crisp and crunchy. My favorite apple dessert to cook is apple crisp–so easy and delicious! Depending upon which recipe you prefer to use, start with a base of tasty heirloom apples, no peeling necessary. The crisp topping absolutely has to have oats, toasted walnuts, brown sugar, and a mix of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg, and plenty of butter.”


Apple Bonne Femme

Pat Brodowski, Monticello Vegetable Gardener, suggests a recipe she adapted from chef Jacques Pepin. “Although Pepin’s recipe is for large apples served one per person with a pound of cake or sour cream, I’ve made this dish with extremely small apples, as a finger-food appetizer. I have also experimented with adding cranberries and/or chopped nuts to the central core, and adding flavors such as hickory syrup, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, or lemon juice.”

IMG_1697[1]1) Core the center of your apples completely to leave a clean tubular opening.

2) With a small knife, pare an incision in the apple skin about a third of the way down from the top of the apple and about 1/4 inch deep. The incision permits the apple to expand which baking, so a third of the apple above the cut lifts up.

3) Place the apples in a nice ovenproof dish, and spoon apricot jam over the opening in the apple.

4) Pour 1/3 cup maple syrup over the apples, and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.

5) Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Baste with the juices, cook another 25 to 30 minutes. Apples will be plump, browned, and soft; serve them in the baking dish once they cool.


Want to learn more about apples?

Be sure to check out Tom Burford’s Apples of North America, his tasty guide to heirloom and modern apples of merit. The book features information on planting, pruning, grafting, and more. This wonderful reference will encourage you to seek out new flavors you’ve never explored.

Peruse our Monticello Apple Harvest Collection blog for more delicious apple treats and apple-inspired decor.



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