An Apple (or 10) a Day…

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My husband and son recently reprised their annual fall ritual: apple picking at Highland Orchards near West Chester, and lunch afterward at Victory Brewpub.

As is their tradition, they filled bushel bags with apples, in this case Mutsus, which were in peak season, and we have a glorious glut of apples in the house. We have shared them with neighbors, friends and total strangers, and are working on consuming a goodly share ourselves.

But the fridge is still overstocked with apples, and we do need the space for other necessities like milk and eggs. So, I’ve been actively seeking and creating apple recipes. This week, I came up with several that were hits in the White house.

In addition to the dishes detailed below, I have stuffed a roasted chicken cavity with a halved apple; it infused a lovely sweetness and moisture to the meat. I have yet to try it with beef stew and/or pot roast, but research indicates that the addition of quartered, cored apples adds a unique and autumnal flavor to braised beef.

Apple Slaw

Serves six to eight

I am a fan of slaw; it adds a healthy crunch to just about everything, and this version offers a seasonal tang. The addition of apples and cider vinegar gives a sweet/sour offbeat twist on the classic, and substituting yogurt for the more traditional mayo boosts the nutritional quotient. This dish is best made a day ahead to allow all the flavors to meld.

½ head cabbage, shredded

½ onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, shredded

2 tart apples, shredded

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

¼ cup plain yogurt

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss the shredded apples in the vinegar. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to optimize flavor.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples

Serves six

These can be served hot, at room temperature or even cold. The leftovers are wonderful in a green salad for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner.

3 pounds assorted root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas

2 tart apples

Juice of 1 lemon

cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop the root vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Peel and chop the apples, and spritz them with lemon juice.

Place all the ingredients in a large, shallow baking dish and toss well.

Roast the vegetables for about an hour, stirring occasionally while cooking. When done, vegetables should be browned on the outside and soft on the inside, and the apples should be very soft.

Curried Apple Butternut Squash Bisque

Serves eight

1 cup half-and-half or cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

½ teaspoon salt

Generous sprinkle of fresh ground pepper

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 medium onion, chopped

In a soup pot, melt the butter and add the onions. Sauté until they begin to soften, about three minutes.

Add the squash, apples and seasonings. Sauté until fragrant and well mixed. Add the broth.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower it to simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the squash is very soft.

Remove it from the heat and puree, either with an immersion blender, food processor or traditional blender.

Return it to the pot, adjust the seasonings and add the cream.

Apple Custard Tart

Serves eight

This tart requires several steps, but is not difficult. Pastry dough is like kryptonite is to Superman, but I don’t object to a simple dough that can be pressed into a pan, so this worked for me.

First, make the crust:

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup sugar

cups flour

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients on low until the dough forms into crumbly bits about the size of peas.

Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick all over with a fork.

Bake for about 15 minutes and remove it from the oven.

Make the custard:

3 eggs

¾ cup sugar

sticks butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add vanilla and cook it until the butter foams and then browns (do not burn). This takes about five minutes. Cool the butter for about 10 minutes.

Whisk the cooled butter into the egg mixture, then add the flour and salt.

Assemble and bake the tart:

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Line the tart shell with apples. Pour the custard filling over the apples.

Bake the tart at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until the apples are golden brown and the filling is puffed.

Cool the tart for about two hours, remove it from the pan and serve it with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.