YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Know Thy Apple : 'Like Wines, the Quality of Apples Depends On Many Factors -- Terrain, Weather and the Care With Which They Were Grown'

January 05, 1986|ROBIN TUCKER | Robin Tucker is creative director-food for Los Angeles Times Magazine.

Coleridge holds that a man cannot have a pure mind who refuses apple-dumplings. I am not certain but what he is right. --Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia

The tarte tatin of today may be the dumpling of yesteryear, but the principle remains the same: There are few dishes that cannot be improved by adding apples. Red ones. Green ones. Yellow ones. With crunchy, bite-size names. McIntosh, Idared, Winesap, Newtown Pippin. Chopped into stuffings and salads. Pureed into soups. Sauced into cakes and cookies. Baked by themselves, juicy with cinnamon, or into fritters or, as poet Eugene Field called it, served as "the best of all physicians"--all-American apple pie with cheese.

Although you might think that an apple is an apple is an apple, there are subtle distinctions. According to Olwen Woodier, apple fancier and author of "The Apple Cookbook": "Like wines, the quality of apples depends on many factors--latitude, terrain, weather, and the care with which they were grown, among others." All of which makes some better for pie-baking, some better for eating raw, making applesauce or freezing. When choosing apples, here are some things to remember:

Good pie candidates include: Cortland, McIntosh, Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy and Yellow Transparent. What to tuck into a sack lunch? Red Delicious, Stayman-Winesap, Empire or Granny Smith. For freezing, try Melrose, Golden Delicious, Idared and Rome Beauty.

If you like them tart, try Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonathan, Rhode Island Greening; for a sweeter taste, choose Golden Delicious or Empire. APPLE RING FRITTERS 4 medium-size tart apples 1-1/4 cups sifted flour 6 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 eggs, separated 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Oil for deep-frying Powdered sugar

Peel and core apples. Cut into crosswise slices about to -inch thick. Sift together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt.

Beat together egg yolks and milk. Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir egg yolk mixture into dry ingredients, mixing until smooth. Fold egg whites into mixture.

Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Coat apple slices with cinnamon sugar and dip into batter, coating thoroughly. Fry in oil heated to 360 degrees until golden brown. Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen fritters.

APPLE-STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS 1 whole chicken breast, split, skinned and boned 1/2 cup chopped apple 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon fine dry bread crumbs 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1/4 cup dry white wine Water 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch Chopped parsley

Flatten chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper to -inch thickness. Combine apple, cheese and bread crumbs. Top each piece of chicken with half of apple mixture. Roll up each chicken breast and secure with wooden picks.

Brown chicken breasts in butter in small skillet. Add wine and cup water, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked and no longer pink.

Remove chicken from pan. Combine 1 tablespoon water with cornstarch. Stir into pan juices. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Pour mixture over chicken and garnish with parsley. Makes 2 servings. CAT & THE CUSTARD CUP RESTAURANT APPLE CRUMB CAKE Unsalted butter 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 2 teaspoons brown sugar 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 9 apples, peeled, sliced, poached and drained 1 10-ounce jar currant jelly

Generously butter 9-inch springform pan. Combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pat half of crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of pan.

Arrange 1/3 apples in single layer over bottom crust and press down. Spoon 1/3 currant jelly over apples. Sprinkle with 1/3 of remaining crumb mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with crumbs.

Dot 1/2 cup diced butter on top of cake. Bake at 250 degrees 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until golden. Serves 10.

Los Angeles Times Articles