It’s apple time! Local orchards are full and ready for picking. Apple cider is fresh and tangy and most fun when purchased from a roadside fruit stand -- I’ve always preferred the fresh pressed, unpasteurized, straight-out-of-the-barrel kind because the taste is so much more intense. Grocery store shelves are overflowing with several varieties of apples, including those “not-so-pretty” local varieties. In fact I just read about one orchard featuring “heirloom apples”...yes, they were deformed and misshapen, but apparently just delicious.
Apples are an important part of Polish cuisine and here is a favorite dessert that Peter's Mom made for him as a child.
Apple and Rice Pudding
4 cups, semi-tart, peeled, cored and shredded apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
4 cups cooked rice, not precooked or instant rice
1½ cups sour cream
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Note: try to use those ugly local apples...they taste great, are often cheaper and more plentiful in the fall, and they support your local produce farmers.
Preheat oven to 375 °F. In a bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar with the shredded apples and mix well.
Grease a 9-inch baking dish (or glass pie pan) and spread out the rice and apples in the pan , in alternating layers (rice/apples/rice/apples/rice.)
Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Mix the sour cream and sugar onto a sauce and set aside.
Let the pudding cool down a bit. Serve warm in small bowls, topped with the sweet, sour cream sauce.
Note: the top layer of rice may get a little crunchy, but that gives it a great texture.