AN APPLE A DAY TRIO

Not unlike the change in morning air, thick and warm summers eventually give way to a cool, crisp autumn. Heavy, warm, dripping peaches are reduced to pit piles lying before three trunks in orchards or sunshine memories stuffed into canning jars. Emerging in their place are a new year’s crop of apples, crisp, cool, and juicy in a much different way than summer but somehow just as sweet. A welcomed change.

The old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” When apples are in full swing, praise the mighty apple in its wide array of varieties, flavors, shapes, sizes, and best uses. While some are best for eating raw and nibbling around (or straight through) the core, some are definitely better suited to baking. Some have fun names like Arkansas Black, Rambo, Winesap, and Newtown Pippin while others, like Gala, Granny Smith, and Fuji, are more familiar.

Though, for some, apples have become a humdrum fruit staple, they have so much more to off er than sitting in a breakfast fruit bowl or snacking with almond butter. Apples seem to have an infinite number of possible uses, but we want to show you how to enjoy apples for breakfast, as an important condiment at your Thanksgiving table, and celebratory bubbly brew to welcome the changing season and bounty of cooler weather fruits, vegetables, events, and pastimes.

BAKED APPLES

When the trees are full of apples, all manner of desserts come rolling out of the oven: simple apple galettes, apple crisps with plenty of sugared oat and nut topping, cobbler, cinnamon apple cake, apple strudel, pies with lattice and streusel toppings, as well as a number of variations of baked apples.

After years of hodge-podging recipes with variations galore, I’ve found the perfect baked apple: not too sweet, not too much like a single serving pie, and no unnecessary mask of butter, sugar, and oat streusel topping. These baked apples shine with true apple flavor, enhanced (instead of covered) with maple syrup and warming winter spices, making them feel like a dessert you can eat anytime of day without even a hint of guilt for eating pie for breakfast. I prefer them first thing in the morning atop a bowl of oatmeal or quinoa porridge, cup of yogurt with seeded granola, mashed and smeared on toast, blended with kefir and chia seeds into a smoothie, as is, fresh and warm, or chilled straight from the fridge (with or without whipped cream).