An Apple a Day…
Not only do apples taste great, but they are amazingly healthy too. According to the website www.nutrition-and-you.com, apples have high fiber that can fight LDL cholesterol, they're a great source of vitamin C and beta carotene, and they're rich in cancer fighting antioxidants. And if that wasn't good enough, they are also low in calories and available to us year round.
All this makes me very happy because I’m just crazy about apples. I love this time of year when we go apple picking and I can munch on an apple that was just picked off the tree. The crunch, the taste, the juicy combination of sweet and tart; it’s the perfect flavor punch.
So, it’s probably not a big surprise that I love to cook with apples too. And since apples are plentiful in our area, we can enjoy the many varieties available and create everything from appetizers and entrees, to salads and desserts.
I’ve offered two of my favorite fall apple recipes below; a “take-off” of an appetizer from celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentis, Romano, Apples and Fig Jam Crostinis, and an old stand-by dessert known as Swedish Apple Pie.
The appetizer is great to take along to someone’s house when you want to present something really different. I’ve made it three times since Labor Day and it’s been a big hit each time. And, because I’m not a big pie crust maker, I love the simplicity of Swedish Apple Pie which requires no pie crust, just lots of great tasting apples and a “dough” made with flour, sugar, butter, raisins and walnuts. Couldn’t be simpler and I must say, my guests always remark it’s the best “pie” they’ve ever had. So little effort for such great praise.
Before you get started with the recipes below, make sure you start out with “good apples," and the right kind for baking. Although a good Macintosh is a wonderful tasting treat when eating it “as is”, the best baking apples need to stand up to the cooking. Some personal favorites include the sweet Fujis, Braeburns and Empires and the slightly tart Macoun, Pippins and my favorite all around apple, the Honeycrisp.
So, take advantage of the season, go apple picking, or visit your favorite farmer’s market, farm stand or grocery store, and enjoy the best of our local fall apples.
Pecorino Romano With Apples and Fig Jam (makes 24)
24 baguette slices
½ cup grated romano cheese
1 large apple (granny smith or braeburn), thinly sliced into 24 slices
More romano cheese, for shaving 24 pieces
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Place baguette slices on a baking sheet.
- Top each slice with a thin slice or 1 tsp grated cheese. Bake until toasted and cheese is melted and golden, about 5-7 minutes.
- Top each slice of toast with 1 tsp fig jam, a slice of apple and a shaving of cheese. Place in oven last minute for 1-2 minutes to melt cheese a bit before serving.
Swedish Apple Pie
4-5 apples, peeled and sliced – Braeburns, Fujis, Honeycrisps, Galas, Granny Smiths (not Macs)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¾ cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 beaten egg
pinch of salt
½ cup nuts
½ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix apples with 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon and place into a pie plate.
- Spread around evenly.
- Mix butter, sugar, flour, egg, and salt in a large bowl and blend well. It will be a sticky dough.
- Add nuts and raisins.
- Place dollops of dough over the apples and spread out as much as possible.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with ice cream.