Apples, apples everywhere! That’s how I’ve been feeling over the past week. My kids brought home two heavy bags from apple-picking with their father. Our backyard apple tree is overflowing. And the farmers market has apples aplenty.
With all these apples, what shall we do?
While I’ll admit I was nervous about the number of apples that have invaded my home in the last few weeks, I’ve also remembered how easy it is to incorporate apples into cooking.
So far, I’ve made three dozen muffins, eaten a few and cooked some into a delightful stuffed squash dish. My daughter has sliced them and dipped them in peanut butter and Nutella as well as made an apple crumble. My son ate a few, too.
There’s still applesauce, apple bread and apple cakes (plural — we’ll freeze some for later) to make. But apples shouldn’t be limited to sweet dishes (the stuffed squash I mentioned is proof positive of this). Apples are also delightful in savory dishes like sauteed Brussels sprouts, in salads or roasted with meats. Apples and sausage, for instance, are a winning combination — but really apples with any kind of pork works.
The key is knowing which apples work best in which use. And that in of itself is a little tricky since there are nearly 20,000 known varieties of apples in the United States — including 2,000 to 3,000 grown in Maine. The Maine Pomological Society has a guide to some of the more popular varieties of apples on their website (maineapples.org) that’s worth checking when deciding what to do with the varieties you have.
For the recipe I’m sharing below, any apples will work but an apple that keeps its shape when cooked like a granny smith or russet would be best.
Buttery Apple Crumble
3 cups peeled, cored and cubed apples
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup uncooked oats (not instant)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Spread into a glass baking dish (a round pie plate or an 8×8-inch dish will work. Spread into an even layer.
3. In a small mixing bowl, add the oats, flour and sugar. Add the butter and use either two knives or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over the apples.
4. Slide the baking dish into the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes, until golden on top and bubbling at the sides. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.