Friday, September 23, 2011

Apple Time

Fall just wouldn't be fall without apples.  And I wouldn't dream of letting fall pass without going apple picking at least three times.  The weekend our favorite apple orchard opens for picking, my husband and I are there gathering Galas.  Last weekend we went out for Jonathans and Cortlands, and, finally, in late October we'll head back for Winesaps.  The drive itself in autumn is magnificent:  Winding around the two lane highway, we are enveloped by the yellows and oranges of the fall foliage.  In the orchard we breathe in sweet apple scent as delicious as the pies and applesauce I'll make.   The Galas and the Cortlands are best for lunchboxes.  The Winesaps and Jonathans, also good eating apples, make the best pies.  Incidentally, of all the apple varieties, the rich red Jonathans are the most picturesque hanging on the trees.

Apple Crunch
My son's favorite.

5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup  (1/2 stick) soft butter plus extra for preparing the pan

Preheat oven to 350˚ and butter an 8" square baking pan.  Spread the apples evenly in the pan.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.  Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar for the topping; cut in the butter:  Spread topping mixture over the apples.  Bake at 350˚ for about 50 minutes.  Serve this warm.  It's really good with ice cream--chocolate, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, whatever your passion.

Good for using up the last apples.  Go ahead and mix varieties; the flavor will be even better.

2 pounds apples
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Wash, peel, and core the apples.  Cut them into eights and drop into the boiling water.  Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Simmer the apples until soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar, if desired.  The sauce will be chunky.  If feeding this to a baby, leave out the sugar and purée in a blender.  Cover and refrigerate.

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