Enjoy the crisp crunch of apples in autumn

The traditional fall fruit adds a tasty, savory or sweet touch to meals as well as a nutritional boost

    One of the most delicious fall fruits is apples.
    And this time of year, there’s nothing better than heading out to a pick-your-own orchard to gather your favorites or visiting the local farmers market.
    Apples are crunchy and crisp, making them perfect to eat in hand or in a salad, but they are also delicious cooked in entrees, side dishes and sauces, and baked into desserts.
    Try apples and pork for a classic dinner combination, or apple crisps and pies for a delightful end to a meal. Applesauce is a fall tradition, as is apple cider.
    To add complexity to a dish, use a number of different varieties. Just remember some apples that are best suited to baking — think Jonathans and Courtlands — others for cooking, including golden delicious, and still others for eating in hand, such as Honeycrisp.
     Although red apples are what most people visualize, apples also come in shades of green and yellow — think Granny Smith and golden delicious apples.
    They not only taste great but also provide essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, with health benefits that make them a super food. After all, as the old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
    Just remember to eat the peel as well as the flesh, since many nutrients are found in the skin.
    According to the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, eating an apple a day for four weeks can help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels as much as 40%.
    Apples can also help increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, the association states.
    The freshest apples are available from September through November, although most varieties are available year-round. Purchase colorful apples that are firm with a fresh, not musty, fragrance and smooth skin without bruises or gouges.
    Some apples have dry tan or brown-colored areas on the skin, called scald, that typically have little or no effect on the flavor.
    It’s generally recommended that before using, lightly scrub apples in cool water to remove the wax-like coating and any leftover insecticides.
    Don’t forget to brush lemon juice onto cut surfaces to prevent them from quickly turning brown.
    Make sure to store your apples appropriately. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than when kept refrigerated.
    Apples should be stored in a cool, dark place. If you don’t have a cold cellar, place apples in a plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
    Following are recipes from thekitchn.com.




Apple, Sausage and Smoked Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound uncooked breakfast sausage links
3 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium firm apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
10 large eggs
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, green part only, sliced thin

    Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. When shimmering, add breakfast sausage and cook according to package instructions. Transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set the skillet aside without draining. When the sausage is cooled, cut on a bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
    Place cut sausage, bread, apples and cheddar to the undrained skillet. Stir to mix everything together.
    Beat eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in milk, cream, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Pour eggs into the skillet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until eggs are set and top is light golden-brown. Let cool five minutes. Top with scallions and serve hot.


Apple, Cheddar and Chicken Melts

8 1/2-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons honey mustard
2-1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 small Gala apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
4 ounces Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    Place a baking sheet on the middle oven rack and heat oven to 450 degrees.
    Spread butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread. Spread honey mustard on the opposite side of four slices.
    Remove hot baking sheet from the oven. Place all the bread slices, butter-side down, on the sheet. Evenly distribute shredded chicken among the honey-mustard bread slices and cheese on the remaining bread slices.
    Return ] baking sheet to the oven and bake about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
    Combine apple, Brussels sprouts, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
    Remove baking sheet from the oven and transfer the bread slices with chicken to a cutting board. Evenly distribute the apple and Brussel sprouts slaw over the chicken. Place remaining bread slices, cheese-side down, on top of the slaw to close each sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.


Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Hazelnuts and Brown Butter Dressing

1/4 cup hazelnuts
12 ounces Brussels sprouts
1 small or 1/2 large crisp, red apple
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

    Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden-brown and the skins are peeling away. Wrap nuts in a clean dish towel and let steam for a minute. Rub nuts with the towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Coarsely chop nuts and set aside.
    Use a mandoline to shave the Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible. Place shaved sprouts in a large bowl.
    Halve and core the apple, then use the mandoline to cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place apple slices in a small bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then set aside.
    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until butter is dark brown and smells nutty. Immediately pour into a Pyrex or heatproof measuring cup to stop the cooking. Let cool slightly.
    Place vinegar, remaining lemon juice and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the brown butter until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Whisk in the oil. Taste and season as needed.
    Pour dressing over the Brussels sprouts and mix in thoroughly with your hands. Add the apples and nuts and toss to combine.

Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup

4 pounds butternut squash
8 to 10 sage leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/6 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/6 cup heavy cream
1 large apple, finely diced

    Halve each butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven, cool slightly, then scoop out flesh.
    Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add shallot and sauté over medium-low heat about five minutes, until tender. Add  squash, chicken stock, apple cider, brown sugar, Worcestershire, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.
    Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to pot, taste and adjust seasonings.
    Stir in heavy cream and garnish with diced apple just before serving.
    Makes eight serings.


Mini Apple Rose Pies

1 pie crust
6 honeycrisp apples
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
1 to 2 small drops red food coloring, optional

    Chill a mini-muffin tin.
    Prepare pie dough as instructed. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface, then use a 3-inch cookie cutter to punch out rounds. Gently press rounds into each cup in the mini-muffin tin. Place tin in refrigerator.
    Core apples then, using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut apples into half-moon shapes 1/16-inch thin. Place in a large bowl, add lemon juice and toss to coat.
    Place brown sugar, jam and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring until ingredients are melted and combined. Remove from heat and add food coloring, if desired. Pour mixture the over apples slices and toss to combine. Set aside for five to 10 minutes so apples become pliable. If not pliable, microwave in 15-second bursts until they are pliable. Strain and discard liquid.
    To create roses, arrange about eight apple slices in a straight row with each slice overlappingthe other to create a 12-inch line. Starting at one end, gently roll apples. Transfer rolled apples into a pie crust. Repeat rolling apples until all pie crusts are filled. Refrigerate.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven about 30 minutes, until crust is golden and apples have cooked. If apples start to brown faster than pie crust, lightly place aluminum foil on top.
    Makes 16 mini-pies.

Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp

For topping:
1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For filling:
6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

    For topping, place flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add melted butter and stir until the butter is completely incorporated and the mixture is wet and crumbly. Set aside.
    Coat the insert of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray or butter. Add apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice, stir to combine, and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over apples.
    Place a large sheet of paper towels over the slow cooker, making sure it covers the top but does not sag onto the crisp. Cover and cook on high for 1-1/2 hours or on low for 2-1/2 to three hours.
    Remove lid and paper towels and cook, uncovered, about one hour, until topping is browned and crisp and the fruit is tender. Let cool at least 15 minutes uncovered before serving.
    Makes 6 servings.
    Store crisp in a covered container in the refrigerator for as long as five days. Serve cold, at room temperature, or warmed in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes.


Baked Apple Dumplings

For crust:
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch kosher salt
4-1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup milk
For filling:
Juice of one lemon
6 extra-small baking apples such as Gala
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
For caramel sauce:
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Pinch kosher salt
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

    For dumplings, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Add milk, 1/4 cup at a time, and stir until a shaggy ball of dough just begins to form. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle or square about 1/8-inch thick.
    Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6-inch square. Using the parchment paper as a guide, cut six squares from the dough, gathering scraps and re-rolling as needed. Layer dough on pieces of parchment paper and refrigerate.
    Add lemon juice to a bowl of ice water. Slice off the bottom of each apple so it sits level on the counter. Peel and core each apple and place in lemon water.
    To make filling, combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bottom of a dough square with sugar mixture. Place an apple in the center of dough, place one pat of butter in the core of the apple and sprinkle additional sugar mixture inside. Bring the four corners of the dough up around the apple, pinching the edges to seal and folding over excess if necessary. Continue with all of the apples.
    Arrange apple dumplings in a large cast iron skillet, leaving about one-inch between them. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust begins to turn golden brown.
    Combine brown sugar, water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling two to three minutes, stirring frequently.
    Remove par-baked dumplings from the oven and pour caramel over top and around the apples. Reduce oven to 350 degrees, return dumplings to oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until sauce is thick and bubbly and the apples are tender when pierced. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.



Free-Form Apple Tart

For crust:
1-1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces and chilled
1 to 3 tablespoons ice water
For filling:
2 to 3 large apples such as Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Gala, Cortland or Winesap
2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
For glaze:
1/4 cup apricot or raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon water or orange-flavored liqueur

    To prepare the tart dough, whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl until blended thoroughly. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
    Using a fork, stir in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, adding just enough for the dough to hold together without becoming wet. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
    Flour a large wooden cutting board or pastry slab. Roll dough into a 9-by-15-inch rectangle. If the dough splits or becomes too soft to work with, transfer board and dough to the refrigerator for five to 10 minutes. Transfer the crust tos baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
    Folding over the edges on each side of the dough. If desired, create a decorative edge by pressing with the tines of a fork or crimping the dough. The final crust should measure roughly 6-by-12 inches. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate 10 minutes.
    Peel, core and quarter the apples, then slice them into 1/8-inch or smaller wedges. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with the sugar and almond extract.
    Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator and neatly arrange the slices, overlapping as you go, in two or three lengthwise rows. Dot with cubed butter.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, sprinkling sliced almonds across the top halfway through. The tart is done when the crust is golden brown and apples have some color. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
    In a small saucepan, bring preserves and water or liqueur to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook two to three minutes, until thickened.
    If preserves contain large chunks of fruit, transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing with the back of a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
    When tart from the oven and brush warm glaze over the top. Slice and serve immediately.


Honey Custards With Caramelized Apples

For honey custards:
3 cups milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup runny honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For caramelized apples:
2 medium apples
1 generous tablespoon butter or margarine
2 to 4 tablespoons honey
1 to 2 tablespoons rum, optional
Cinnamon or nutmeg, optional
For serving:
Whipped cream, optional

    To make custards, place milk into a saucepan over low to medium heat and gently heat until just barely boiling. Immediately remove from the heat.
    Whisk eggs together in a medium to large bowl. Add honey and salt and whisk briskly until well-blended. Add warm milk  in a slow stream while whisking constantly. Once all of the milk has been whisked in, stir in vanilla. Divide custard evenly between six to eight ramekins placed in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Dust the top of each custard with a pinch of nutmeg and place baking pan in a 350-degree oven. Carefully pour very hot water around the custard cups in the baking pan, being careful not to splash any water in the custards. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until custard is set in the center.
    Remove and place pan on a cooling rack. Cool about 10 minutes, then carefully remove ramekins and place on a rack until cool enough to refrigerate. Cover each ramekin in plastic wrap and chill three to four hours or overnight.
    Peel, core and chop apples into small cubes. Heat butter or margarine in a skillet and toss in apple cubes. Cook, tossing often, until apples are tender. Add a small amount of water as the apples cook to keep them moist and prevent them from browning.
    Once the apples are fork-tender, drizzle in 2 tablespoons honey. Taste and add more honey depending upon your taste. Continue to stir, adding more water as needed and desired. Stir rum into the fruit, if using, and continue cooking until it has simmered away. Scrape apples into a bowl to cool slightly.
    Top each custard with a generous spoon of apples, a light dusting of ground cinnamon or nutmeg and a bit of whipped cream.
    Two apples is enough for a heaping spoonful of apples per custard. For little more topping, increase the number of apples. Use roughly 1 teaspoon butter or margarine and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey per apple.


Skillet Apple Crisp

For topping:
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
For filling:
2 pounds apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Place oats, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined. Drizzle butter and vanilla over the mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
    Place sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until lump-free. Set aside.
    Place apples in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and sauté about five minutes, until tender and juicy. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Scatter oat topping evenly over fruit.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the dish and the topping is golden-brown and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
    Cover and refrigerate leftover crisp for as long as three days. Eat cold for breakfast or warm in a low oven for 20 minutes before serving.




Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login