Bucks County apples: Juicy, crunchy and sweet

Apple Pie

by guest blogger Susan Sprague Yeske,

Autumn means more than pumpkins at Bucks County farms and farm markets; it also means a parade of apples that change weekly, each with its own personality and flavor.

Manoffs apples; photo credit Lynne GoldmanWith enticing names such as Zestar, Honey Crisp, Cortland, Macoun, Mutsu, Keepsake, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Jonathan, Empire, McIntosh, Winesap, Stayman, Cameo, Sun Crisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Gold Rush and Granny Smith, the season marches forward.

At local farms you can find varieties with more flavor and crunch than most sold in supermarkets, with the added environmental bonus that no fossil fuels were used to bring them here to Bucks.

Not only are they better for eating and are fresher, but they make terrific pies, cakes, cobblers, crisps and applesauce because they have so much flavor and texture.

Amy and Gary Manoff, who own Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury, are among the local farmers enjoying a bountiful apple crop this season. Partly because of the rain, the crop is large, and the apples especially juicy.

With pie season upon us, Amy finds herself reaching for sweet Jonagolds, with a few tart apples thrown in give her pie added flavor.

For baking whole apples with a little butter, sugar and cinnamon, she recommends tart Staymans, an all-round great baking apple.

For those who like a sweeter taste, she suggest Jonagolds, which also hold their shape well in the oven when baked whole.

For sauces she likes to start with Golden Delicious, a sweet apple, and add in some Mutsu, Winesap, Keepsake or Fuji.

“That way you don’t have to add sugar,” she said. Using cider in place of water – the Manoffs began pressing their own this week – gives applesauce more flavor and depth.

No matter what you are making, you can use any variety apple you like to eat, for baking or sauce, she said. Some people like to make their pies out of Galas, traditionally a sweet eating apple, she said, which is fine if that’s what they like.

Bucks County has plenty of farms and farm markets that carry freshly harvested apples. For a full listing, see our post, The Apple Report.

Manoff Market Gardens
3157 Comfort Road
Solebury, PA 18963
215.297.8220


Baked Apples

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 Stayman or Jonagold apples
½ cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon (or spice of your choice)

HOW TO

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Core apple without removing bottom. Remove seeds and stem but don’t cut all the way through. Stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15-30 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender. Larger apples may take longer.

Apple Crisp

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds local apples (mostly tart and a few sweet)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
4 Tbsp (½ stick) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

HOW TO

  1. Peel, core and chop the apples; toss in a bowl with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; add to the apples and toss to combine.
  2. In another bowl combine flour, sugar and oats. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using.
  3. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Spread apple mixture in bottom of baking dish then sprinkle with flour mixture. Bake at 375°F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or cream.
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