It’s apple season and Long Grove is ready for its 21st annual Apple Fest Weekend, Sept. 27-29.
In the 35 years or more that the original Apple Haus operated in Long Grove, apple cider doughnuts became synonymous with the village.
“People always think of apple cider doughnuts when they think of Long Grove,” said Tiffany Schuler, owner of Sweet Whimsy Pastry Shop in Long Grove. “People are always looking for them, so I decided to carry on the tradition.”
She has. Schuler’s apple cider doughnuts will star during the fest. “They’ll be coming out warm, all day,” she promises.
Schuler even makes a Cider Doughnut Sundae by topping them with homemade caramel sauce, whipped cream, and gelato in burnt caramel and various apple flavors made by Angelo Gelato Italiano in Bensenville.
Schuler has other apple treats planned for the weekend, too. They will include apple-shaped sugar cookies and cake pops, apple oatmeal bars, cinnamon swirl apple-pecan pound cake, mini apple pies, cinnamon-apple scones, apple cranberry tostadas, apple fritters, oatmeal cookie sandwiches stuffed with a buttercream and apple pie filling mix and, of course, hot apple cider. A unique twist will be green apple macaroons and apple pie macaroons, which are the sweeter, less tart of the two.
“We’re doing it big,” she said. “We’ll be up to our eyeballs in apples.”
And apples don’t fall far from the tree: Schuler will use her grandmother’s recipe to make apple pie bars. “I use a lot of her recipes,” she said. Sweet Whimsy is a family operation. Her dad, Keith Schuler, will spent most of his time at the fest peeling apples again this year.
Schuler prefers to bake with green Granny Smiths. “They are nice and tart and don’t fall apart when you bake them,” she says.
Just about any ripe apple will work well on top of the Carmelized Apple Bacon Burgers at The Village Tavern during the fest. A thick slice of carmelized apple tops the burger patty like an onion slice. It is accented with Swiss cheese, a milder tasting cheese that doesn’t overpower the apple. Stronger-tasting cheddar cheese will top Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon Burger during the fest.
“We’ve been experimenting this week with different cheeses,” said The Village Tavern owner Mary Ann Ullrich, a Long Grove resident.
Apple enthusiasts will be experimenting at The Olive Tap, where owner Rick Petrocelly, also a Long Grove resident, will demonstrate uses for apple balsamic vinegars and other items.
Petrocelly likes to poach peeled, cored apples in a mix of apple juice and water in a pot on the stovetop. “I cut them in half so I can flip them over,” he said. He splashes the liquid over the fruit while it cooks. The result is a texture similar to apples in an apple pie — but without the crust. Petrocelly then tops it with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Gala and Honeycrisp apples both work well for this de-glazing method.
“De-glazing is a great technique, especially if you like apples in apple pie, but are not a big fan of pie crust or don’t have a lot of time to make the crust,” he said.
At the Long Grove Confectionery Co., look for apple cinnamon doughnuts, brown bag apple pies, caramel apples — and plenty of hot apple cider.