by Chrysa Smith

Ah! I love the crisp cool air that floats through the screen windows; especially in the kitchen. It just makes you want to pull out the baking pans and get going. So I have!

First on the list is apples. And I like them three ways. The first is in a baked apple that I serve alongside pork or chicken dishes. What I recently learned however, is to first peel them before baking. It prevents that pruning that looks so unattractive when serving.

The best way to make them is to butter a baking dish, peel the apples, scoop out a hole in the top (much like you do for tomatoes, when stuffing them or peppers when stuffing them). Then take your favorite fall fillings: cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, oats, dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts and again—butter. Fill the crevices with your choice of fillings and let it ride at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour +/- depending upon apple and oven size. The aroma alone will increase your waistline.

The second way I make my apples for a side dish, is to peel apples and saute them in butter. As they brown, sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, a touch of nutmeg and continue cooking until the apples are soft and a sauce forms. Serve them alongside a turkey, chicken or roast pork—yum!

Then, from the Pennsylvania Dutch, an apple crisp dessert that I’ve been making for years. I can no longer find the cookbook, but from memory, here it is. Peel and slice about six apples, then pull out the butter, cinnamon, sugar and flour. Butter a baking dish and layer one row of apples. Top it with dabs of butter and a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon. Keep up this pattern over and again until you’ve used all the apples. In a separate dish, combine cold butter, flour and some brown sugar. Sorry, I don’t have measurements on this one, but it’s essentially a crumb topping that needs to be combined until —well, crumbly. Add it on top, bake at 350 degrees until slightly browned and apples are soft—perhaps 45 minutes, depending upon oven and baking dish.

Wondering where’s the pie? I love it. I eat it. I never bake it. Probably because of my aversion to pastry crusts. But maybe someone has a recipe to share that omits the angst of pastry-crust-making? If so, please do share. I’d love to do something with apples and a phyllo dough or frozen puff pastry.

All things apple can be found at