On Your Table: Nothing says ‘Fall’ like apple pie

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times

Nothing beats a great apple pie this time of year

Being a Midwest girl from Northeast Ohio I am particularly drawn to apples.  Remember Johnny Appleseed?  When we were kids my father took us and our bag of dropped apples to a cider mill nearby where our apples were popped in a bin with everyone else’s and we certainly enjoyed that pungent juice comingled with many varieties.

Today most grocery stores have a full load of varieties in rotation: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Rome Beauty, Fuji, Jonathan and Gala, And that’s nothing compared to the 15,000 breeds that once grew in the US and are bountiful in our Chester County area.

Lady: One of the oldest known varieties, this tiny apple is said to have gotten its name because women would keep them in their purses to sniff when they encountered bad odors. Sweet and delicate, with no tartness. In other words, ladylike.

Baldwin: The Baldwin was among the most popular American apples until 1934, when a freeze wiped out most of its trees. (Growers reported actually hearing the tree bark snap in the cold.) Thanks to a smattering of farmers who kept cultivating this variety for themselves, it’s still found in northeastern farmers markets.  One bite yields sweetness with a hint of spice.

Esopus Spitzenburg Said to be a favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson, this heirloom was discovered in Esopus, NY, and is still grown at Monticello today.  Lovers of this heirloom  still bend over backward for its floral scent, buttery flesh, and trademark blue-tinged skin.

Macintosh:  The Macintosh is a thing of beauty that’s a powerful breeder. McIntosh is parent to beloved varieties including Empire, Cortland, and Macoun.

There’s nothing better this time of year than an apple crisp and here’s a recipe for one.

Apple crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 to 7 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg white
  • Additional sugar

Directions 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture; toss to coat.
  2. Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; trim pastry even with edge. Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry.
  3. Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges loosely with foil.
  4. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her award-winning blog Delaware Girl Eats

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