Friday, July 27, 2007

The bees and honey

Last year was, what I considered, a bumper crop of honey but little did I know that it would pale in comparison to this year. With all the worries about disappearing bees it is wonderful to watch Werner's bees thrive. The honey flow earlier in the summer was incredible and I watched as Werner added super after super. Those are the little boxes that they stack on top of each other.
Last night he donned his new white bee suit and went to check on 'the ladies' returning an hour later to share that we would need at least another 5 of the 5 gallon buckets. Amazing. We will spin it out of the combs in August.
We bottle this raw, which means we do not heat it before filling the honey bears or bottles. Heating the honey first allows it to stay in liquid form without crystallizing, but it destroys all the beneficial pollens. We prefer it raw and love the rich flavor of true wild flower honey.

One of my favorite recipes that benefits from this deep flavor is more of a fall one. Mother and Dad, while travelling in the Black Forrest years ago, had dinner in one of the traditional old farmhouses that are so popular there. For dessert they ordered something called honey apples. These were apples sauteed at the table in honey and served with whipped cream. Over the years I have played with this idea and we now do a honey and brandy apple that is the perfect accompaniment to a cinnamon raisin stuff french toast.

Honey Apples with Brandy and Lemon

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 Tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter
1 lemon, juice and zest
3 Tbsp brandy

In a skillet melt the butter and add the apples sauteing for 5 min
Add the juice from the lemon and the zest
Continue to saute till tender
Right before serving warm the brandy in small pot. Do not boil.
Carefully light the brandy and pour flaming over the apples
Stir until the flames die down and the alcohol is burnt off.
Serve warm over french toast or as dessert with a dollop of honey cinnamon whipped cream

Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 teaspoon good cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)

Whip the cream to soft peaks gently adding the honey by drizzling it in.
Add the cinnamon and finish whipping being very careful not to whip too far and turn it to butter!

Serve over the warm apples