Every fall, when I was growing up in western Pennsylvania, my parents took me and my younger brother, Angelo, apple picking.
We’d usually go in late September, always on a Sunday. Angelo and I loved picking—but even more, we loved the savory apple recipes and
sweet apple treats
that my mom made with the bushel of apples (roughly 45 pounds) stored in our downstairs fridge.
My favorite was my mom’s apple squares
filling spread thin inside two layers of flaky crust. But I also loved her apple crisp (see EatingWell’s version below) that
she made when my parents’ friends and their kids came over after the high school football games that took place just down the
street from my house.
When I moved to Vermont seven years ago, my husband, Jon, and I restarted the apple-picking tradition. This is the second
year we’ll be taking our little boy, Julian. Just as I remembered it, apple picking is good family fun. And I still
appreciate having a bounty of apples to bake with. (Find out
why you might consider picking and buying organic apples.
) Here’s what I make (in addition to Mom’s squares, of
It’s fast and easy (and even yummier when you scoop some low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt on top). As soon as
we get home from picking, I simmer up a big pot of vegetarian chili and get busy slicing apples for crisp.
2. Apple pie:
You can’t get more classic than apple pie. But traditional recipes can have up
to 750 calories a slice, not to mention loads of saturated fat—mostly in the crust. To cut back (and to add a little
nutrition), I like to make a healthier apple pie
with a crust that uses
whole-wheat flour and canola oil in place of some of the butter.
Like most toddlers, Julian loves applesauce—and I like to make a Maple-Cinnamon
from scratch. For myself, I love to add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce on top of steel-cut oats
and to stir it into yogurt for a little all-natural sweetness.
4. Mom’s Apple
Traditional recipes for apple squares often use plenty of trans fat–laden shortening in the crust. We
replaced it with a mixture of canola oil and butter and swapped out half the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat pastry flour
to add a little fiber. They are best enjoyed slightly warm. Gently reheat any leftovers in the oven or toaster oven to
recrisp the crust.