September is pretty much the best month of the year. It’s the start of fall (even though Houston doesn’t get much fall, it still technically starts this month), it’s my birthday month, and apples are in season. Everyone else gets psyched for pumpkin this month, but I am all about apples. I am a huge fan of fruit desserts, especially apple ones. So this month we are covering apples in depth, including their perfect wine pairings. Check out next week’s post for my recommendations on wines to pair with apple desserts! This week we’ll talk about baking with apples. Apples are incredibly forgiving and can be absolutely delicious in a variety of ways. There are just a few things to keep in mind when you are baking with them.

First of all, it’s important to know what to look for when you are going to bake with apples. While you may love pink lady, gala, jona gold, or braeburn apples to eat raw, these aren’t always the best option for baking. When you’re baking with apples, it’s usually best to find one that holds its shape well while cooking so it doesn’t get mushy. You also want it to maintain its flavor. As you may have noticed with other foods, cooking can make them sweeter or even mellow out the flavor. You also want an apple that will soften without becoming too mushy. Some good apples to bake with are yellow delicious, granny smith, mcintosh, and honey crisp. If you’d like more detailed information on which apple to use for what you’re making, here’s a good resource:

Now let’s talk about peeling and coring apples. Most people like to peel apples when they cook with them because the skin is so much tougher than the flesh. If you leave the skin on, I do recommend cutting small pieces so the texture isn’t off-putting. This isn’t an absolute requirement; it just depends on your personal preference. If peeling apples sounds like the worst task in the world, you can get a device that will peel and core your apples for you. If you don’t have one of these, I recommend using a vegetable peeler or a knife. Both of these items are sharp, so keep your fingers out of the way.

You may have noticed that apples tend to brown after they are cut and peeled. This is caused by oxidation (air hitting the fruit). This does not mean the fruit is going bad; it just means that the flesh was exposed to air. While you cannot prevent this process, you can slow it down through a number of methods:

  • Toss the apples with a small amount of lemon juice as you are slicing them
  • Slice the apples under water
  • Keep the apples cold

Apples really are amazing for dessert making and can make absolutely delicious pies, cakes, candies, tarts, and cookies with just a little prep work. What’s your favorite way to eat apples?

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