Apples are ripe for the picking—and eating—in pies, soups and other fall dishes (recipe)
This time of year, an apple a day isn’t nearly enough. Stroll through a farmer’s market and, if you’re lucky enough to live in northern climates, you’ll have a huge array of apple varieties to pluck from. Better yet, head to a pick-your-own place and make it a family outing.
But even your local supermarket, no matter where you live, will offer a slew of choices, perfect for fall baking. Darryl Mosher, assistant professor at the Culinary Institute of America, offers advice for those who are confused as to which apples are best to cook with.
For starters, it depends on whether your dish calls for a sweet or a tart apple.
“If you’ve worked with apples you’ve never cooked before, take one, slice it thin, and cook it alongside one that you are used to cooking with,” he advises. “That will give you an idea of the texture and taste. You also want a balance of sweet and acidic.”
For pies, a classic dessert this time of year, Mosher’s a fan of a combination of the tart Granny Smith and sweet Golden Delicious apples.
Near the Institute’s headquarters in Hyde Park, N.Y., there’s a farm that grows 65 varieties of apples, he notes.
“Here’s an interesting fact: Right after the Civil War, we had around 6,000 varieties of apples,” Mosher says. “Now we have only 600.”
While Mosher’s a fan of eating apples out of hand, the chef says they’re incredibly versatile in the kitchen.
“I like savory foods, so they go into stuffing for the turkey, I use them in soups or I’ll dehydrate them for snacks,” he says.
If you work a lot with apples, a good peeler and corer will save you a lot of time, the pro says.
Here are a few items that will make your apple prep a bit easier, along with Mosher’s recipe for Curried Squash and Apple Soup.
- Sur la Table Stoneware pie plate, $19.95, surlatable.com: What we love about this classic pie plate is that it comes in an array of colors. We’ll take one of each, please.
- Apple peeler and corer, $24.95, crateandbarrel.com: Whether you’re working with only a few, or have a huge bag of apples to deal with, this handy tool takes care of the time-consuming task.
- Rösle crosswise swivel peeler, $27.95, crateandbarrel.com: The professional quality peeler will swivel as you peel those apples, making the chore go by quickly.
Here’s one of Mosher’s favorite apple recipes, from The Culinary Institute of America’s Vegetables cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman, 2007). This soup tastes best after it has had a chance to mellow in the refrigerator overnight. The resting period gives the curry a chance to come to the fore. The lime gremolata, however, is best assembled immediately before you want to serve the soup.
CURRIED SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 cups leeks, white part only
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups diced pumpkin or Hubbard squash (peeled and seeded)
- 2 cups chopped apples (peeled and cored)
- Salt and pepper as needed
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. grated lime zest
- 1/2 tsp. minced thyme
Add about 1/2 cup of the broth to a soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the leeks are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until blended.
Add the pumpkin or Hubbard squash and the remaining broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the squash is tender enough to mash easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the apples and continue to simmer until they are hot and tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes before pureeing with a handheld blender. Strain the soup through a sieve and reserve the liquid if you are using a counter top blender or food processor. Add the solids to the blender jar or food processor bowl; do not overfill. Add a little of the liquid, replace the cover (without the vent from the lid or feed tube), and puree until smooth. Add more liquid if necessary to help puree the solids. Transfer the pureed soup to a clean pot. Continue to puree until all of the solids are pureed. Blend the soup and adjust the consistency by adding some of the remaining reserved liquid. Cool the soup quickly and refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 24 hours before serving.
Combine the ingredients for the gremolata just before serving the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper, and serve in chilled bowls or cups, garnished with the gremolata.