Falling for Apples -Fall 2018

by: Diane Bastarache

Fall is, hands down, my favorite season. All the leaves from the trees and plants change into multi-colored works of art as they fall away, creating bare and vulnerable branches, revealing the true scenery underneath.

It also represents a beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth once the spring season comes around again. With cooler temperatures rolling in, saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall is not a hard thing to do.

It's also the perfect time to start baking, making soups and comfort foods and lighting a fire in the fireplace. This season creates a sense of comfort and warmth, where you can spend quality time with family and friends, get ready to watch some football and eat good food.

With the official start of autumn around the corner, it's just about time for the season's best fruit to arrive in farmers’ markets: apples. I think we can agree that the real fun is getting those crisp apples back to the kitchen, then cooking and baking them up every which way.

One of our favorite family outings when my kids were growing up was going apple-picking. Each year we would wait as close to Halloween as possible so we could also pick out pumpkins. There were several orchards in the area and we would go and spend the afternoon picking apples and pumpkins and watching doughnuts being made while enjoying fresh apple cider. Nothing quite speaks of autumn to me like the smell of cider and doughnuts in the air and pumpkins on the ground. Maybe it’s just the energy that the crisp air fuels, or simply that all things apple and pumpkin bring me joy.

There was always the challenge of what to make with the apples we picked. The first thing I always bake is apple pie. I can’t quite remember where I got the original recipe from, and I have certainly tweaked it over the years, but everyone still loves it and we always fight over the last piece.

The biggest debate is whether to bake a two-crust pie or Dutch style with a crumb topping. I happen to prefer the crumb topping and sometimes go ahead and make a Dutch crumb and a doublecrust pie just to please everyone.

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