At this very moment my neighbor, Cassy, is awaiting delivery of a 100-year-old cider press she bought on eBay. She, like many of us, has apple fever. I made an apple galette at least twice this week. And I'm dreaming of the apple hand pies I used to buy in frosty weather from the famous bakery Poîlane on Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris. But even if you don't bake, you can get in on the apple frenzy at restaurants and bakeries. Now that we've got pumpkin desserts out of the way, inspired bakers are turning their attention to apples.
Cooks County pastry chef Roxana Jullapat has wanted to do an apple cider fritter for a while. Just after Thanksgiving she finally got around to testing one. Made from a loose batter thinned out with sparkling cider, the fritter is wonderfully aromatic. Round and puffy, it's tossed in sugar and served with a cider jelly for dipping. To make it, she loves Crisping Cider from Colfax, Calif., for its distinct apple flavor. Of course, she serves her fritters warm with a cider jelly ice cream to play cool against warm. Now if she can only get it to be wheat-free; she's working on it.
8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 653-8009, http://www.cookscountyrestaurant.com. Apple cider fritter, $10.
Jessica Koslow, Silver Lake's queen of jams, makes a sumptuous apple butter from the 17th century Dutch apple Gravenstein. Hers come from 100-year-old trees and are prized for their wonderful flavor. She cooks the apples very slowly over seven hours until they turn into this marvelous apple butter. You can have it on brioche toast for breakfast at the Sqirl Cafe and/or buy a jar to take home. Or give as a gift.
720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 284-8147, http://www.sqirlla.com. Gravenstein apple butter, $12.
Around the holidays, Elizabeth Belkind of Cake Monkey (you know, those adorable mini-layer cakes) brings back her stupendous Vermont cider roasted apple pie in a double cheddar crust. It's special order only, made with apples roasted with Vermont cider jelly, brown butter and vanilla bean. She also tucks her cider apple filling into a mini-layer cake for one. Or for the kid in everyone, she has pop pies filled with apple crumble. Every pie or cake is baked fresh to order with 48 hours advance notice. Pick up at her commercial kitchen in North Hollywood.
10844 Chandler Blvd., North Hollywood, (877) 640-CAKE (2253), http://www.cakemonkey.com. Cider roasted apple pie, $32; pop pies, $3.75 each; apple crumble mini-layer cake, $7.25. By pre-arrangement only, pick up at bakery.