Celebrated with fests, fairs and trick or treating, October is one of the most festive months of the entire year. It is also a month for celebrating the apple. Not only are apples candied, carameled and the filling for one of the most popular pies in America, no other fruit is found so frequently in art, literature, and everyday speech as the apple.
There is no doubt that the apple is beautiful, delicious and tempting. Remember how Snow White fell into a deep sleep when she succumbed to the poisonous apple offered her by the wicked witch? Fortunately, she was kissed and awakened by Prince Charming and lives happily today in Fantasyland charming little girls.
And we have not even talked about “an apple a day, keeping the doctor away.” Apples are beneficial for helping to prevent several cancers and Alzheimer’s. They help manage asthma and diabetes, lower cholesterol and are beneficial in weight loss programs and more.
Our local Central Markets have been celebrating the apple all week during “Applefest.” And are there ever some wonderful apple dishes for sampling. The bakery has an “apple upside down” cake that, pardon me Snow, “is to die for.” I bought a jar of Blake’s Apple Pie Jam. Oh my! It is delicious on a hot biscuit and on a peanut butter sandwich.
The apple pie jam along with the new crop of Honey Crisp apples is what inspired me to bake a caramel apple crisp.
The Honey Crisp is the apple of my eye and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular eating apples ever. They are also a good cooking apple, holding their shape and flavor. However, they can be pricy. Unless you find them on sale or a really good buy, you may want to select a different apple. Make sure the apple is a good cooking apple such as Granny Smith. Do not use Red Delicious. They are beautiful and sweet, but they do not hold up well to cooking as they loose their shape and become mushy.
My “go to” Food Network chef, Ina Garten, also suggests McIntosh and Macoun apples for cooking. McIntosh is plentiful in our area, but Macoun is a native New England apple and I have not seen it here, although I admit that I have not looked.
Baking an apple crisp is so easy and for those who would rather not work with pastry dough, this is for you as a crisp is sprinkled with a crumbly topping rather than ensconced in a pie shell.
Make one for dinner tonight or make one for your pastor. October is also pastor appreciation month.
Caramel Apple Crisp
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 9 x11 oval baking dish with non-stick spray.
2 pounds Honey Crisp Apples (about 4 apples)
3 tablespoons Blake’s Apple Pie Jam (available at Central Market)
3 tablespoons apple jelly, 1 tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp ground nutmeg
15 Kraft caramels unwrapped and cut in two or three pieces
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats)
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Peel and slice apples. Discard the core.
Toss apples with the jam and arrange in baking dish.
Top with caramels.
To make topping:
In electric mixer using the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, oatmeal, salt and chilled diced butter. Start slowly and increase speed gradually. Result will be a crumbly mixture.
Scatter topping evenly over apples. Bake for one hour until crisp is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a truly unforgettable fall dessert.