Special of the Day~ ‘Tis the Season for Apples

Pastry-wrapped Baked Apples with Almond Paste Filling

16 Nov Special of the Day~ ‘Tis the Season for Apples

Sydne George Special of the DayThe best apple I have ever tasted was an incredibly crisp, sweet Aztec Fuji an apple farmer sliced and presented to me as I was strolling through the Ferry Building Farmers Market on a mid-day break from an International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference I attended in San Francisco in 2013.

I’m guessing that prized apple was plucked from the tree not long before the friendly farmer spotted me admiring his produce display, and without skipping a beat, reached for his trusty pocket knife to proudly slice and serve up his gift to me. Fresh local produce from a farmers market is surely hard to beat!

And while it’s true I haven’t enjoyed any apple quite as much as the legendary one I did on that delightful day, I have surely appreciated my fair share of Honeycrisp apples, admittedly a close second favorite apple for me, and one that is readily available and at its seasonal best from August through the end of November.

Boasting a nicely balanced sweet-tart taste and a pleasing crunch, Honeycrisp apples are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium and healthy antioxidants. And because they were most likely harvested in September or October and store well in a cool environment, the time to enjoy them is now.

Honeycrisp apples are versatile as an ingredient for use in both sweet and savory dishes alike, so what fun it was for me to let loose in the kitchen last week creating enticing apple recipes for breakfast, dinner and dessert, too.

It’s high time to pick up some apples at the market for this week’s Special of the Day~ ‘Tis the Season for Apples! and recipes for Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon, Chicken Sausage, Apple and Fennel Skillet Supper, and Pastry-wrapped Baked Apples with Almond Paste Filling. Enjoy!

Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Apples and Walnuts

Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Apples and Walnuts

Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon

Recipe by Sydne George

(makes a 9 x 13 inch pan)

3 tbsp. butter

2 cups steel-cut oats (Albertsons cereal aisle, top shelf)

4 cups water

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

½ cup brown sugar

2 ½ cups milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 cups apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.

Add steel-cut oats to melted butter and toast oats, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Bring water, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and milk to a simmer in a large cooking pot.

Add toasted steel-cut oats and simmer briefly.

Remove from heat.

Add vanilla, walnuts and apples.

Stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to greased baking pan.

Bake in upper middle of oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven.

Spoon into serving bowls and serve with a drizzle of cream.

Enjoy!

Chicken Sausage, Apple and Fennel Skillet Supper

Chicken Sausage, Apple and Fennel Skillet Supper

Chicken Sausage, Apple and Fennel Skillet Supper

Recipe by Sydne George

(serves 4)
2 tbsp. butter

12-ounce package chicken apple sausages, sliced into bite-sized pieces

½ cup fennel root, chopped (sometimes labeled anise in the produce department)

2 cup apples, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

3 tbsp. maple syrup

½ tsp. Kosher salt

½ tsp. fennel seed
Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat.

Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, then turn with tongs and cook other sides.

Add fennel root and apples and sauté briefly, just until slightly softened.

Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring constantly until sauce is slightly thickened.

Serve hot over buttered wide egg noodles.

Garnish with fennel fronds.

Enjoy!

Pastry-wrapped Baked Apples with Almond Paste Filling

Pastry-wrapped Baked Apples with Almond Paste Filling

Pastry-wrapped Baked Apples with Almond Paste Filling

Recipe by Sydne George

(makes 4)

 

Poach apples:

4 small honeycrisp or gala apples, peeled

4 cups water

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup sugar

Combine water, lemon juice and sugar in sauce pan big enough to fit apples over medium heat.

Stir to combine.

Set apples upright in poaching liquid.

Bring to a simmer and poach apples for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer poached apples to cutting board.

Let cool.

Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each apple to make it stand upright.

Remove core with seeds from each apple.

Fill apples:

7 ounce package almond paste (Albertsons baking aisle)

½ cup sliced almonds

2 tbsp. butter, softened

½ tsp. almond extract

2 tbsp. sugar
Combine all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer.

Beat ingredients until well-mixed.

Fill poached apples will filling.
Wrap apples:

17.3 ounce package puff pastry, thawed

¼ cup melted butter

¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Set oven rack in upper middle of oven.

Unfold and lay out puff pastry sheets on work surface.

Brush pastry sheets with melted butter and sprinkle with almond slices.

Use a rolling pin to press almond slices into puff pastry.

Cut puff pastry into thin strips, about ½ inch thick.

Butter rimmed baking sheet.

Start at bottom of each poached filled apple and carefully wrap a pastry strip all the way around each apple, working your way up to the top of the apple.

Press strips to adhere to apples.

Transfer pastry-wrapped apples to buttered baking sheet.

Leave space in between apples. Bake apples in preheated oven for about 18 minutes, or until pastry is lightly browned.

Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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