With the pandemic keeping most of us from our usual fall activities, one thing is certain and that is Mother Nature has given us the beginning of apple season indicating that fall is on the way.
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When I was a pastry chef at NYC’s iconic Angelica Kitchen, owner, Leslie McEachern took the staff to an apple orchard for picking and picnic. Actually, the orchard was supported by Angelica. The memory of that wonderful day is one I adore. We picked apples, ate them right from the trees, and ate a picnic lunch of food from Angelica Kitchen. This orchard followed organic practices, in alignment with Leslie’s philosophy.
My daughter in Bucks County has been taking the boys (my sweet grandsons) apple picking since they were very young. Surely a memory they will come to adore. They love apples, and so do I.
I settle happily in Philadelphia for getting my apples from local farms at the Farmers Market and from Philly Food Works.
You’ve heard me say how much of a lover of summer I am. I know many of my friends do love fall, with its cooler temperatures and shorter days, but this generally does not have me doing a happy dance. Still, I appreciate nature and I do love crisp fall apples.
My Favorite Apple Varieties
Honey Crisp: these have been my favorite for a few years
- Yellow with red and pink blush and speckles. Crisp and aromatic with a delightful sweet-tart taste.
- The honey crisp’s crunchy texture makes it perfect for use in raw applications but it maintains its sweetness well when baked. I’d recommend peeling this one before making apple sauce.
Envy Apples: I first saw these when I was in New Zealand for a month.
- Mostly red with yellow specks. Crisp, sweet flesh that will stay bright white.
- Best for slicing and eating. Also works well in cakes and pies. Add to salads.
Alice (Lady Alice)
- Small and round. Bright yellow skin with red and pink striping. Crisp, juicy and sweet with a tart aftertaste.
- Truly versatile. Perfect for snacking and in both raw and cooked applications. Keeps well in the fridge.
- Vivid green in color with a pink blush but will turn bright red where exposed to the sun. Crunchy with a burst of sweet/tart flavor.
- Pink Lady apples are perfect for snacking but also make a great dessert apple. Use in pies, tarts, applesauce, and more.
- Firm, juicy, and bright green. They have a tart flavor with a slightly sweet finish.
- They are best for baking and cooking applications, especially when you need the apple to hold its shape.
I like using a mix of apples to make applesauce, cobblers, slumps, and any of these make an excellent Baked Apple too.
I’ll soon be picking the herbs on my terrace garden, so it’s likely that basil, mint, sage too, will be added to my apple desserts.
My favorite way to eat an apple though? Most of the time, that means right out of hand, sliced.
Tools for Apple Season
I do not use an apple slicer, preferring to just cut around the core, but I see the value, especially when cooking with children.
I don’t buy enough apples at one time to use an automatic peeler but my daughter does.
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Recipes for Apple Season
When you get tired of eating apples out of hand (does that even happen?) you, of course, want to add apples into your dinners and desserts. I mentioned Baked Apples which are one of my favorite ways to enjoy a cooked apple but I’ve gathered up a few of my other favorites to share with you today. Enjoy apple season to it’s fullest.
Top a warm baked apple with a small scoop of your favorite dairy-free yogurt and have dessert for breakfast. It’s a decadent tasting but perfectly delicious way to begin the day.
No matter which part you like best–the apple or the crumble–you can tailor this recipe so you get the most of your favorite part.
While these Latkes themselves do not contain apples, they go do well with a scoop of homemade applesauce and a dollop of vegan sour cream. This recipe is a great way to turn that fresh batch of applesauce into a meal.
Another great way to use applesauce is in these delicious breakfast muffins. Although apples aren’t the star of the show here, they do lend moisture and a hint of sweetness.
Your kitchen will fill with a divine spicy scent, reminiscent of gingerbread when you bake this Dark Moist Spice Cake, and serve it alongside roasted apples.
This Holiday Pudding is perfect for the fall holidays and can be adjusted to whatever you have on hand. I enjoy using apples and cranberries. And I am going to make it soon, again, and replace this photo with a nicer one!
Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Jewish New Year. Customs include sounding the shofar and eating symbolic foods. Apples dipped in honey are meant to evoke a “sweet new year”. They also taste so good this way. For as long as I can remember, my family’s tradition was dipping not only apples but challah too in honey. My daughter makes an excellent vegan Challah.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy apples? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.