An Ode to Apples
"For anyone who loves to eat, there's no greater symbol of fall than the apple. The first varieties of the year ripen in mid-summer, but the most delicious take time to accumulate flavor and develop their sweet-tart intensity.
The best-tasting tend to belong to old varieties with evocative names--Ashmead's Kernel, Duchess of Oldenburg, Newtown Pippin, Wickson Crab and Macoun (the best of the McIntosh family).
Certain wonderful apples, such as Sweet Sixteen and Cox's Orange Pippin, develop spicy flavors. Red, green and yellow apples are all beautiful, though some great kinds are russeted, meaning they're covered with a slightly rough, brownish skin. Two of those are Roxbury Russet and St. Edmund's Russet.
All of these varieties have the required acidity to be extremely delicious when cooked with sugar for dessert. Rather than dose them with lots of sugar, boil sweet cider to a syrup and use that for most or all of the sweetening for the purest, most intense apple taste." —Edward Behr, editor of The Art of Eating and author of the 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste, to be published later this month.
When apple season hits its peak, we have cinnamon and sugar at the ready for those desserts that fill our kitchens with the smell of autumn (pies, crisps, galettes--we're looking at you). Two simple preparations--one fried, one baked--bring out the fruit's natural sweetness in very different but delicious ways.
Beer-Battered Apple Fritters: Chef Daniel Humm's food at NYC's Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad is anything but casual, but his apple fritters are downright down-home. Lager-battered Crispin rings are deep-fried and coated with cinnamon and sugar--better than any apple doughnut we've tried.
Baked Apples: Chocolate. Calvados. Bacon. Oats. Boom. Our Test Kitchen didn't hold back when creating the ultimate fragrant, boozy, beautiful, stuffed, elegant-enough-to-serve-at-a-dinner-party baked apple.
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