Foothill gourmet: Apple time

By From page B2 | September 24, 2012

Donna Brown


A visit to Apple Hill, with a bounty of apples and irresistible baked apple desserts, is a lovely trip. We usually visit Apple Hill during the week to avoid the crowds. We purchase fresh apples and a single delectable apple dessert.

Apple pie and ice cream is considered the official national dessert. Celebrate the fall harvest of apples by eating apples or making an apple dessert.

Apple pie is not the only possibility. Apple desserts can be baked apples, bread puddings, cakes, cobblers, crisps, kuchens, strudels, tarts and more.

My research shows these apples are superior for eating or baking: Courtland, Fuji, golden delicious, Granny Smith, Rome and Jonathan. Save gala and red delicious apples for eating as the flavor weakens when cooked. MacIntosh apples are great for snacking and sauce, but tend to fall apart when baked.

Jeweled Waldorf salad — Ingredients: 3 large firm apples (we use Ginger golds purchased at Apple Hill, but golden delicious, or Jonagolds also work), cut in chunks, juice from 1 lemon, 1 can mandarin oranges, drained, 1 stalk finely chopped celery, ¼ cup craisins (dried cranberries), and ½ cup toasted, chopped nuts. Mix these ingredients well with the following dressing. Dressing: Juice from ½ lemon, ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ teaspoons orange peel, and 1 tablespoon mandarin orange juice to thin the mayonnaise and add flavor.

When you are out of time for baking yourself, Apple Hill has numerous desserts already made. However, if you like the fragrant smell of cinnamon and apples baking in your kitchen, most apple ranches have frozen pre-made pies to take home and bake.

Many ranches also sell pie-making kits. These kits include pastry, spices and toppings. Simply supply the sliced apples to create a fresh baked delicacy.

Our family’s favorite pie kit is buttermilk apple pie. The kit includes pastry for two bottom crusts, buttermilk that is sweetened and cinnamon spiced, and crumb topping for two pies. You only need to add peeled and sliced apples and soon cinnamon apple fragrance wafts through your home.

If you don’t have the time to get up to Apple Hill to purchase a dessert and you want to bake your own, try one of our family favorites.

Dutch crumb apple pie has a crumb topping and is our favorite. Pare, core and slice 6 to 8 firm cooking apples (about 3 cups). Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry and fill evenly with apples, piling them slightly higher in the center. Mix ½-3/4 cup brown or white sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and sprinkle over the apples. Top with dutch crumb topping.

Dutch crumb topping — Assemble ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and ¼ cup butter cut into small pieces. Procedure: With a pastry blender or two knives cut butter into flour mixture in a scissors fashion. Sprinkle topping evenly over pie.

Apple crisp — It’s faster than pie to assemble, has less fat, and heavenly cinnamon smells abound. Procedure: Place 4 cups peeled and sliced cooking apples in an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Combine 1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour, 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, ½ cup firmly-packed brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine mixing until crumbly. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the apples are tender. Crisp can be served warm or cold and is delightful with ice cream.

Donna Brown

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