Seasonal Favorites: Apples to Apples

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Article By: Calphalon Team
Originally Published: 10/24/2009

At Market: What to Reach For

Of the 7,500 apple varieties grown worldwide, only 100 varieties are actually grown commercially in the United States. The most popular types; Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith are available almost year-round. Here are a few other interesting types to try!

  • Ashmead's Kernel: An heirloom variety with a sweet, sharp taste and beautiful russet-gold flesh. Very aromatic with a slight spice of orange blossom?perfect in savory sauces or paired with pork, duck or chicken.
  • Cipps Pink (also marketed as “Pink Lady”): Its bright pink and golden yellow skin, tanginess and firm texture make it a colorful favorite for topping cobblers and cakes.
  • Braeburn: This pretty red variety is sweet enough for a satisfying snack, or as part of a recipe that plays up its spiciness (think: nutmeg and ginger), or even thrown into a salad with a Gorgonzola or blue cheese for a nutty balance.
  • Idared: Developed in 1791 in Idaho, this cheery, white-fleshed apple freezes well and is firm enough for baking pies, tarts and cakes. Hint: If used in an applesauce, cook with the skin on (you can strain later) for a sweet pink color.
  • McIntosh: White fleshed, crisp and tart. Great raw or in ciders and applesauce. Note: You can always adjust the acidity by adding sugar or lemon juice.

Unexpected Apple Pairings

Apple slices wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma

Apples and Cheddar will always hold a soft spot in our hearts, but here are five more combos that bring out the best in each other.

  • Apple slices wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma, Sopressata, or any cured salami or ham. A sweeter apple will pair best with these cured meats. Serve at room temperature to bring out the flavor of the meat.
  • Julienned apples stuffed in dates with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked. Choose a tart, firm apple and completely hide it inside the dates for an unexpected flavor and texture.
  • Foie gras terrine and apple crostini. A tiny bite is all it takes. Slice bread thin and toast. Stack top with a medium thick slice of Granny Smith aapple (pretty with the green skin showing), a thin small slice of foie gras then chopped pistachios. Yum!
  • Mini pastry shells filled with caramelized onions, chopped apples and blue cheese. Bake according to package directions. Top with walnuts if you like, or the smallest dap of horseradish.
  • Apples, Mâche, Beets, and Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer: Instead of bread, use apple slices as your base and top with a few leaves of mâche, a generous slice of warmed goat cheese and top with diced beets for fall color.