An apple a day isn’t what keeps the doctor away; no one makes house calls anymore. However, apples are still delicious, nutricious and easy to eat. Don’t bother to peel them; take a nice, big bite!
In addition to the joys of eating raw apples, you may try a plethora of apple-based and apple-enhanced desserts to tickle your pommephilia. The simplest of these is sliced apples dipped in honey. Simply core and slice your favorite variety of apple (those which are both tart and sweet, such as the Honeycrisp and the Winesap, work best) and dip them in honey.
For a simple European-style dessert, serve sliced raw apples with soft cheese, such as Camembert, Brie or Gruyere. For a tempting warm variation, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then cut Brie into wedges. Score the top of each wedge about halfway through, so that a thin slice of apple can be inserted. Bake for ten minutes and serve warm with a drizzle of blueberry vinegar and another drizzle of maple syrup.
Baked apples are softer and sweeter than raw ones, so you should use the crispest, tartest variety you can find. Core but do not slice. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet, or bake more than one in a shallow baking pan, with enough distance between them that they don’t steam instead of baking, at 400 degrees until a tenative poke with a spoon makes a dent, revealing that the apple is now soft enough to be eaten with such a utensil. If you’d like a stuffed baked apple, widen the core-hole by scooping out thin slices, which you can use to plug up the bottom. Stuff with a small amount of ricotta cheese, seasoned to your liking or even unseasoned, or sweetened cottage cheese if that is what you have handy. Drizzle a little maple syrup over it and serve.
You can, of course, stuff a baked apple with something other than cheese. Chocolate chips and crushed walnuts, both coated in a little flour, make a nice stuffing, as do graham cracker crumbs softened in melted butter.
Now for some slightly more complex concoctions. Apple pie is an old standard. You’ve got your favorite short crust or crumb crust recipe, and both kinds of crust can be bought ready-made or rolled up and refrigerated.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a nine-inch pan with the bottom crust of your choice.
Thinly slice tart apples (green ones, such as Granny Smith, are good; golden Delicious do not work well), with or without skin according to your preference, into two- to three-inch strips or crescents, and squirt them liberally with lemon juice. This will not only moisten them for the next step but prevent them from turning brown and mushy while you work. Lightly dredge the slices in a dry mixture made from a quarter cup of flour, a half teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ginger, and a quarter cup of fine, unlumpy brown sugar, for half of which you may, if you like, substitute confectioner’s sugar to refine the texture. You should have some of this mixture left over after dredging.
Lay the dredged slices, slightly overlapping, in concentric circles, at the bottom of a crust-filled pan, until the bottom of the crust is covered. Apples come in different sizes but you will probably need one and a half or two apples for this layer. Sprinkle liberally with golden raisins and chopped walnuts (optional) and then arrange a second layer of similarly prepared apple slices. Continue to alternate layers until you they are an inch from the top of the crust.
If you are using a crumb crust, combine the remaining dry ingredients with enough melted butter to form little crumb balls, which you may drop randomly across the top of the filling. If you are using a short crust, use enough melted butter to make crumbs but then add a little milk to the remaining dry mixture until it attains the texture of batter, and drizzle it over the top of the filling so that it seeps through the laters. Then cut another crust into strips to criss-cross across the top of the filling and seal the ends to the top of the bottom crust.
Bake for at least half an hour, checking periodically after that to see if the bottom crust has changed color; when it is a nice golden brown, it’s ready. Cool and serve with whipped cream, or à la mode.
None of the above is likely to convince your doctor to make house calls, but you can certainly invite him or her over for dessert.