Food writer Jennifer Bartoli lives in Montreal, where apples are a centerpiece of fall cooking. She sent us a few of her favorite recipes for fall, and here they all are — a collection of delicious apple dishes. Time to get picking!
Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. There's just something so soothing about things quieting down after a warm summer and scarf weather slowly making its way in. Fall, in the Quebec region, means watching the trees slowly rid themselves of their green foliage and making way for canvas-like shades of crimson, amber, orange and yellow. Apple-picking is definitely one of the best food-related activities to enjoy during these months.
You get to be outdoors, enjoy the crisp weather, the beautiful scenery and get a little closer to where your food is grown. Living in a city, it can sometimes be a difficult to connect to where the food you put on your table everyday comes from. Even if you shop at your local farmer's market, you can become pretty disconnected from the true place of origin of produce. Apple-picking is just one of the small ways to change that.
For, me it's also been a great way to learn about different varieties of apples that you might not come across in your everyday food purchases. At the peak of apple season, there are dozens and dozens of varieties available, from late summer apples to true fall apples. From sweet, to tart, to juicy, to crisp there really is one for each and every palate. Some apples are better for baking, others to enjoy raw, so make sure you ask your farmer to differentiate them.
A true pleasure of apple-picking also lies in the different sizes and shapes you'll find yourself heading home with. If you're used to perfectly round and shiny supermarket apples, you'll be in for a ride.
I selected some of my favorite apple recipes here, from sweet to savory. I also usually display apples in wooden baskets or glass vases in my apartment. They bring a nice touch of earthiness and fall flavor to an interior at this time of year and do wonders to decorate a dinner table.
Oven-Baked Apple Donuts
Adapted from cooks.com
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups bite-sized chunks of apple, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Preheat your oven to 350&edeg;FF. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugars salt and and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the cold chopped butter. Rub the pieces of butter with the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the milk and fold in the chopped apples. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir using a spatula or spoon making sure not to overmix. Place a spoonful of batter into each mold of a buttered mini muffin pan.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the donuts are just golden. Remove from the oven, unmold and lightly brush each donut with the melted butter. Dunk in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon mixed in. Shake off excess sugar and serve immediately.
Tuna, Arugula and Apple Sandwiches
2 small cans tuna packed in olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 handful arugula
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
4 mini ciabatta rolls
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Slice the ciabatta rolls lengthwise. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toast for 3-4 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and crusty. Take off the heat and reserve. In a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise, grainy mustard and lemon juice and reserve.
In a bowl, add the tuna (drained from most of the oil). Using a fork, press down on the tuna to separate the chunks. Fold in 3/4 of the mayonnaise mixture and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Divide the tuna mixture and add it to each half of ciabatta. Top the tuna with a few slices of apple and top with arugula. Spread the mayonnaise on the other side of each piece of ciabatta. Close the sandwiches and serve.
10 apples (I used a mix of McIntosh and Cortland)
3/4 cups of water
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
A pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons of loosely packed brown sugar
Peel and core the apples. Cut them into bite-size chunks. In a stock pot, on medium low heat, add the apples, water, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the apples are soft. If you like your apple sauce chunky, remove from the heat when the apple chunks are soft but still hold their shape. If you don't, cook for a few minutes longer, or until the chunks completely break down. Taste and adjust seasoning, add a little more cinnamon and lemon juice if needed.
Cool down, and serve. You can then keep the apple sauce in the fridge for several days, as well as freeze it.
Apple and Potato Fritters with Sour Cream and Herb Dipping Sauce
150 grams grated Russet potatoes
1 large Macintosh apple, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons Parmesan
2 tablespoons rice or cake flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Grate the potatoes and apple into a small bowl. Place the mix into a kitchen towel and drain out the water. Transfer back to the bowl and fold in the flour, Parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the egg yolk and gently mix so all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Add a good drizzle of vegetable oil to a non-stick pan or skillet. Once the oil is hot, drop a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture and flatten to form a disc with the back of a spoon. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the side in contact with the skillet is nice and golden brown. Flip the fritters and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk the sour cream and parsley in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and serve alongside the fritters.
Chocolate Cake with Apples and Hazelnuts
Adapted from Valrhona, serves 8
2 small Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup of hazelnuts, chopped
250 grams of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks
4 teaspoons of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of liquid honey
3 egg whites
Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
Prepare an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan (at least 2 inches deep) and grease the bottom and the sides. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/2-inch dice and set aside.
Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a light boil and immediately remove from the heat.. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until the chocolate and cream form a homogeneous mix. Once the mixture has cooled, slowly mix in the egg yolks and cornstarch until thoroughly incorporated. The mixture will be smooth and slightly thick.
In a separate bowl, add the honey to the egg whites and whip until soft peaks form.
Using a whisk, add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten the mixture. Don't worry about breaking the whites at this point, just whisk in the whites to make the batter more malleable. Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two batches, and avoid over-mixing. White streaks of egg white should still be visible in the chocolate mixture.
Pour the batter into the greased springform pan. Top with the chopped apples and hazelnuts and dust lightly with confectioner's sugar. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet or sheet pan and bake immediately.
Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook or the cake will become flaky and dry.
Let the cake cool in the springform pan for at least 15 minutes before unmolding. The cake is best enjoyed while still warm.
10 apples (I used Spartan)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Wash the apples and thoroughly dry them - if they are still wet the caramel will not stick to the skin. Remove the stems and insert a wooden stick at the top of each apple, about half-way through. The apples should securely cling to the stick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a saucepan on medium heat, add the sugars, butter, corn syrup, molasses, salt and half of the cream. Swirl the pan to make sure all the ingredients mix homogenously. Once they have, add the remaining cream. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until the temperature of the mixture reaches 240F.
Remove the caramel from the heat and wait for the liquid to slightly cool (2 minutes). Using a swirling motion and carefully tilting the pan, coat the apples with caramel, leaving an untouched circle of apple where the wooden stick is inserted. Let the excess caramel drip off, and place the apples on the parchment paper. Immediately place the apples in the fridge to harden. You may have to do this in batches so that the first coated apples don't stay at room temperature for too long: the quicker they get in the fridge, the better! If the caramel starts to harden and is not thin enough to coat the apples, simply place the saucepan on the heat for a couple minutes before coating more apples.
Leave the apples in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to harden. Once they have hardened, leave at room temperature. Package as you please!
(Images: Jennifer Bartoli of Chocolate Shavings)