Fall provides an array of apples that are unavailable during the rest of the year. I especially like tart red-skinned apples for eating out of hand or for use in salads and quick simmers. They don't bake well, though; they tend to become mushy with long cooking. Green Granny Smiths, fortunately available year-round, are tart, hold their shape and work best for baking.
These apple recipes follow these guidelines, using tart red-skinned apples for the Waldorf salad and the briefly cooked apple compote with cranberries and switching to Granny Smiths for the pandowdy.
Pandowdy is straightforward and simple. An original Yankee recipe, this deep-dish apple dessert is topped with a crust and baked until it starts to brown. At this midway point, the crust is cut into squares ("dowdied") and pressed back into the apples. The dessert is then baked until well browned with the bubbling juices saturating the crust. Pandowdy is typically made with biscuit dough, but this version uses a pastry crust, which cuts up more attractively and bakes up crisper as it's moistened with the apple juices.
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 7 cups)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
Pastry for 1-crust (9-inch) pie
1 teaspoon milk or cream
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
For serving, vanilla ice cream
Combine vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt in small dish. Toss sugar mixture and apples in large mixing bowl until slices are well coated. Arrange in greased 9-inch glass pie dish or shallow 6-cup baking dish. Pour water around outer edge of apples. Gently tilt dish to distribute water. Cut butter into small bits. Dot surface with butter.
Roll out pastry dough on lightly floured surface to even (1/8-inch) thickness. Gently place over apples. Trim pastry flush with edges of dish. Brush pastry with milk or cream. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut several steam vents in pastry. Place on jelly roll pan (to catch any juices).
Bake at 400 degrees until pastry is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Remove pan from oven and cut pastry into 1-inch squares. Gently press squares into apples with back of spoon.
Return to oven and bake until deeply browned and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes more. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Can be baked 1 day ahead, completely cooled and refrigerated. Place on pan and reheat, uncovered, in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Each serving, without ice cream, contains about:
436 calories; 158 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 20 grams fat; 64 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.78 gram fiber.
WALDORF SALAD WITH WATERCRESS
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 tart red-skinned apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 cup thin-sliced celery hearts
1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
2 green onions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
5 to 6 cups loosely packed watercress leaves, washed, gently blotted with paper towels, chilled
Freshly ground pepper
To toast walnuts, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes, watching them carefully so they do not burn.
Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, walnut oil, honey, salt and cayenne pepper in small bowl until well mixed. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
Mix apples, celery, bell pepper, onions, walnuts and watercress in 2-quart bowl. Add all but 2 tablespoons dressing. Toss until salad is well coated with dressing. Adjust seasoning. Add reserved dressing and pepper. Toss well.
Divide evenly among 6 salad plates. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Each serving contains about:
175 calories; 224 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.19 grams fiber.
WARM CURRIED APPLE COMPOTE WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
This is a great accompaniment to simply prepared entrees like baked ham, pork, duck and chicken.
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
5 teaspoons curry powder
4 small tart red-skinned apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 to 3/4 cup water
Simmer juice concentrate, cornstarch mixture, curry powder, apples and cranberries in covered 2-quart non-aluminum saucepan over low heat until apples are just tender but still intact, about 12 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Stir in butter until melted. Remove from heat. Cool at room temperature, uncovered, adding water if mixture is too thick. Can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.
Makes 8 servings.
Each serving contains about:
98 calories; 22 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.45 gram fiber.