I hope you are as happy as I am that fall has finally arrived.
What a delight to walk outside and feel cool, crisp air instead of hot, heavy humidity. In the kitchen, I love that it is now the season of soups, stews, braises and slow-cooker dishes.
One of my favorite ingredients to cook with during this season are apples — and I love pretty much all of them. When cooking with them, it’s fun (and advisable) to mix it up and use different varieties.
Apples are delicious whether they are used in a sweet dessert or paired with pork and enjoyed in a savory way.
Here are some tried and true favorite apple recipes that are sure to get you excited about the fall season.
Honey custards are the perfect ending to a fall meal. Not too sweet and spectacularly creamy, these custards scream “fall is here!”
Honey custards with caramelized apples
3 cups milk (preferably whole)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
2 apples (your favorite variety)
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons rum (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need six to eight oven-safe ramekins. In a medium saucepan, bring milk just to a boil. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk eggs with honey and salt. Cool milk slightly. Slowly add milk to egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Add vanilla. Divide equally among ramekins. Sprinkle each with a little bit of nutmeg. Place ramekins in a rimmed baking dish. Carefully pour in very hot water until there is about 2 inches of water. Carefully place in the oven and bake about 45 minutes until the center of the custards is just set. Remove ramekins from oven and water bath. Cool slightly and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about six hours or overnight.
For the apples, peel, core and chop the apples into small cubes. Heat butter over medium-high heat. Add apples and a bit of water and saute until apples are tender. Add honey. Chill cooked apples. To serve, top the custards with a spoon of the cooked apples and sprinkle with cinnamon and add a dollop of whipped cream.
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Pork chops with apples and apple cider sauce
4 pork chops, preferably bone-in
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup apple cider plus 2 tablespoons
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, minced
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and when melted sear pork chops on both sides until golden brown, about two to three minutes per side. You may have to do this in batches.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add ¾ cup apple cider to skillet with the pork chops and then put them into the oven for 10-15 minutes.
In another skillet, heat remaining butter over medium-high heat and add apples. Cook until tender, about five to eight minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons apple cider and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pork chops from oven and place pork chops on serving platter. To skillet, whisk in sage and mustard. Add cooked apples and pour on top of cooked pork chops.
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Apple sauce is not just for babies and young children! Homemade apple sauce, especially when left chunky, is a delicious side dish for a pork roast or roasted chicken. The slow cooker does all the work. In addition, you can freeze the apple sauce for the future.
Slow cooker applesauce
3 pounds apples (about 6), your favorite variety or a combination
1/2 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peel, core and chop all of the apples. To the slow cooker, combine apples, water, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and salt. Cook on high for four hours. Remove cinnamon sticks. Puree or leave chunky.