In doing some research for today's column I find there are more than 7,000 varieties of apples.
That's an incredible number especially when you think that our local supermarkets only carry about a dozen. But a dozen seems to be enough to satisfy our needs for eating apples raw or cooking them in the hundreds of dishes that are blessed with their presence.
Apples are a wonderful snack for eating raw. Be sure to rinse them well to remove any dirt, dust or residual pesticides that may be on the skin. When choosing apples, as with so many other fresh foods, avoid those that appear to have bruises or blemishes on the surface. Most commercial apples have a waxy coating to make them shine, which is not natural to an apple. You may store apples in a ventilated plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to a week.
I'm sure most of us have been in the produce aisle and chosen what we thought was a bright, rich, tasty looking apple, only to find it to be mealy and tasteless. Do not despair, those apples are few and far between, but do be vigilant for their presence.
Many families make an annual pilgrimage to one of the local apple orchards. The owners of these orchards do their best to make their customers welcome and add a variety of other interests to draw in business. Besides apples, most orchards are now selling pumpkins and having all kinds of fall/Halloween events.
Today's recipe is Apple Crisp. This is one of those universally loved dishes that go back through the generations in the United States. Soft, sweet, rich buttery apples with a topping of brown sugar, oats and flour baked to a crunchy delicacy. I made this recipe over the weekend and the warm sweet aroma that filled the house still seemed to be present the following day.
This recipe makes a full 9 x 13 baking pan. That's a lot of Apple Crisp. So you may want to think about dividing it up into three or four portions. You can then bake it three quarters of the way done, take it out of the oven and let it cool on the counter. When room temperature refrigerate, covered, overnight and then place in the freezer. To finish baking allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then finish baking according to directions. About 20 at 25 minutes at 375.
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, about room temperature
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 to 5 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbl all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375, butter the inside of a 9 x 13 baking dish
To make topping:
In a stand mixer combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, mix a little and add butter, mixing until large coarse crumbles are formed. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the walnuts. Set aside.
Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a small bowl, pour on top of sliced apples along with the lemon juice and toss until thoroughly coated. Spread apple mixture into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish and gently sprinkle on the oat topping. Bake until topping is crispy and brown, about 15 minutes.
Serve warm Apple Crisp with scoops of vanilla ice cream.