Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple Picking time

What a beautiful weekend to go apple picking!  The apples are luscious and ready for picking.  Starting in late August through early November, apples ripen and become ready for harvest.  Some of these are good eating apples, while others make wonderful pies and desserts.  What is the difference?

When chosing an apple that will be cooked, consider if it will retain its shape.  Also consider if the fruit has a nice balance of tartness to sweetness.  Our family prefers Granny Smiths or Cortlands for pies and tarts however the Ida Red is also an excellent choice.  For those that like a sweeter all purpose apple, the Golden Delicious has a nice flavor.
There are hundreds varieties of apples.  Low in calories yet high in fiber and flavonoids, there is a grain of truth in the old maxim, 'An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.'  Recent research suggests that a diet including apples could be benefitial in preventing cancer and other maladies.  All I know for sure is nothing beats an afternoon spent with your family picking apples in the clear Fall air.

Except maybe a fresh, warm pie...

Fall  Apple Pie

6 to 8 tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about six cups)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Tapioca pearls (dry tapioca)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 Tbsp lemon juice (keeps the apples from turning brown and adds a wee kick to the flavor)
chilled butter
Pastry for 2 crust 9" pie (it's okay to cheat: Pillsbury makes a wonderful frozen crust for those of us who are pastry impaired)

Preheat the oven 400F degrees.  Combine the filling ingredients, coating the apples well.  Spoon the apple mixture into the pie shell, dot with butter, then apply the top crust to the pie.  Be sure to cut a few vent holes in the top so the pie can breath while it cooks.  Bake at 400F for about 50 minutes or until done. 

This simple filling can be used for a variety of desserts.  If you want to kick it up a notch, add 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries to the apple mixture.  Remember: the dried fruit will help soak up some of the liquid, so you may want to slightly decrease the amount of dry Tapioca.  Enjoy!

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