In Season Now: Apples

A glistening apple, so alluring and inviting, is held in the outstretched hand of a little old woman in Snow White. She takes it, not knowing the woman is really her Evil Stepmother, and collapses after a bite — poisoned.

In biblical stories, it’s the forbidden fruit. In mythologies, it holds many meanings. From folklore to art to legends, apples are intertwined with our history and culture in myriad ways. And perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise — the fruit has a long history.

Cultivated for at least 3,000 years, apples are available year round, according to “The New Food Lover’s Companion,” by Sharon Tyler Herbst, a venerable bible for food lovers.  You’ll often find them for sale at Maine farmers’ markets during the winter.

And, Snow White’s experience notwithstanding, they are quite good for you. A medium apple has less than 100 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C, among other nutrients.

When you’re buying apples, look for ones with smooth skin that’s free of wrinkles. And when you get them home, store in a cool, dry place. A refrigerator will do just fine.

In terms of variety, there are so many good ones. Just be sure that if you’re making this apple cobbler recipe, you choose apples suited for baking. Or better yet, choose ones that are both good for eating and baking. Honeycrisp apples, for instance, are a delight to eat but also behave beautifully in baking applications. So do Golden Delicious, Cortland and Pink Lady apples.

Apple Cobbler

Serves 4-6

4 cups fresh apple chunks (do not peel)

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Biscuit topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a 2-quart square glass baking dish, combine the apple chunks, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir well and spread out.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon. Using either two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk until the dough holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently knead until it forms a smooth dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a square approximately the size of the glass baking dish. Gently transfer it to top the apples.

Slide the baking dish into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until bubbling at the sides and golden on top. This is delightful served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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