Since most Sarasota residents are transplants, many of us have memories of picking apples on a cool autumn day.
While Southwest Florida may not be brimming with apple orchards, you can find a large variety of fresh apples from the Midwest and New England in our grocery stores and produce stands.
Jonathans are crisp, juicy and tart and a great all-purpose apple. They’re best for cider, pies and crisps and snacking. Golden Delicious apples are sweet and mild, with a hint of spice that works well when preserving. Red Delicious apples are the milder counterpart—sweet and crunchy, just right for slicing in a salad or serving on a cheese plate.
McIntosh is my personal favorite, very sweet and perfect for applesauce. Granny Smith has a wonderful green color and crisp texture. These apples hold up best in pies, strudels and when baked—a perfect dish for a cool fall day.
Baked Ginger Apples
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
6 Granny Smith apples (make
sure they are the same size)
½ cup oatmeal (not instant)
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons crystallized gin-
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 6
1 cup apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine cinnamon, oatmeal, chopped pecans, crystallized ginger and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Core apples. Make sure not to puncture the bottom of the apples, so that the juices will remain. Remove skin from 1/2-inch around top of apples at the opening. Fill each cavity with the cinnamon, sugar and oatmeal mixture. Top each apple with a teaspoon of butter. Place apples in casserole dish and pour apple cider around them. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 5-10 more minutes. Remove from heat, place in individual serving bowls and top with cream or ice cream and dried cranberries. Serve immediately.