Fall is right around the corner, and as cooler weather blew in this week, I started thinking about apples.

While the crisp, sweet fruit is available all year, I’ve always associated apples with fall and cooler weather — most likely because my family used to go pick apples at a farm in southern Indiana in late September or early October.

Apples are the perfect snack food, but they’re also great to cook with.

Applesauce is a favorite of mine, cooking a few pounds of sliced apples, including the peel, with some Splenda and cinnamon on the stovetop until the mixture is soft. It takes a little while, but homemade applesauce tastes so much better than jars from the store.

Apples also can be easily incorporated into savory cooking, too. EatingWell.com has a great recipe for skillet chicken with cranberries and apples that I enjoy each fall.

But I really love making apple desserts. Cobblers are a specialty of mine.

When my dad’s around for a visit, I usually make apple pie with a cinnamon crumb topping or his new favorite dessert — apple crostata, which is just a fancy way of saying pie.

Crostatas are actually easier to make than pie, because the crust is free form and bakes on a sheet instead of in a pie tin.

The apple crostata recipe below is the perfect introduction to the crisp, sweet taste of apples, and a warm way to welcome fall.

Apple crostata

Ingredients

  • 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • ½ cup sugar (or Splenda)
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (4 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions

  • Heat oven to 450°F. Remove pie crust from pouch; place flat on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Mix ½ cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add apples; toss gently. Spoon apple mixture onto center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edge. Fold edge of crust over apples. Brush edge of crust with water. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle pecans or walnuts over apple mixture. Bake 5 to 15 minutes longer or until apples are tender.

Serves: 8

Nutrition per serving: 210 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 145 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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