Dining Features

Simple Art of Cooking: Apple Season on the East End Brings Sweets

I love the fact that we live in a region of seasonal changes. I often hear how “the summer went so fast,” and doesn’t it always? Yet we are in what can be the most beautiful months on the East End, September and October. The midday warmth of autumn and cool nights make for very happy campers.

It’s also apple time and there is nothing like the bitingly sweet/tart flavor and texture of local apples. A basketful of colorful apples on a dining room sideboard or on a hall table is an appealing and timely decoration, and occasion to dig into your apple dessert files.

There’s plenty of time in the cooler months of autumn for baking apple crisps, cakes and pies—and if you’re celebrating the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays here are two delectable, no-bake apple desserts that will be nice to have around.

APPLE DELIGHT WITH RASPBERRY JAM SAUCE
This unusual recipe with Spanish origins features a crisp topping of sautéed breadcrumbs. The dessert can be prepared ahead and assembled 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup dark raisins
2 tablespoons dry Spanish sherry
2 1/2 pounds apples, Jonagold, Empire or Golden Delicious
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1-inch wide slice lemon peel
1 cup day-old coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce

1 cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Soak the raisins in sherry for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and core the apples and cut into1/2-inch wedges.

2. Put the water in a 3 to 3 1/2 quart saucepan large enough to hold the apples. Add sugar and stir to dissolve over medium heat. Put in the lemon peel and apples and bring to the edge of a boil. Adjust heat to a simmer and cook covered for 10 to 12 minutes until apples are tender but still hold their shape. Add the raisins and carefully stir to mix. Can be prepared several hours ahead.

3. Warm the olive oil in a small skillet and put in the breadcrumbs. Sauté over medium-low heat about 3 minutes until light golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

4. Heat the jam with the water and lemon juice, stirring with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

5. To serve sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs on the bottom of a serving plate, mound the apples on top and toss over remaining crumbs. Spoon sauce on top and serve at room temperature.

APPLE PRESERVES, SEPHARDIC STYLE

Apples, one of the first fruits of the fall season, is connected to the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, which began on September 24 at sundown for the 10-day period ending with Yom Kippur on October 4. In the tradition of Ashkenazi Jews, apple slices are dipped in honey for a sweet New Year. In another tradition, that of Sephardic Jews, apples are cooked in sugar syrup until they form a jam-like preserve.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

1 3/4 to 2 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith
2 1/3 cups water
1 1/ 2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Peel, core and grate the apples. Save the skin and seeds.

2. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a 3 to 3 1/2 quart saucepan, then remove from the heat and set aside. Put the cores, seeds and skins in a separate saucepan with enough water to barely cover, bring to a boil then cook at a brisk simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and add to the sugar water. Bring to a boil then uncover and cook at a brisk simmer until the syrup evenly coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 18 to 20 minutes. Add the grated apples to the sugar syrup, bring to edge of a boil then adjust heat to medium-low and simmer with cover ajar for 18 to 20 minutes, until mixture is the consistency of semi-thick jam. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and cool. Store in mason jars and refrigerate. Serve over sliced pound cake, pancakes or toast.

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