This time of year, I often grab an apple or pear for snacking. The fruits are packed with flavor and texture, and through the miracle of cold storage, they taste almost as good as they did last fall.
While the Honeycrisp apples at the farmers market are my go-to apple, I’ve also been biting into a couple of new varieties grown in Washington State.
The Junami is a Swiss variety that is particularly crisp, tart and thirst-quenching. The Lady Alice, a new apple variety discovered in Washington State, is perfect for eating out of hand, as it is slow to brown after cutting. Its dense flesh also holds its texture when baking.
The Junami won’t be available much longer, but you can find the Lady Alice through April at grocery stores such as Safeway. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some apple temptations, check out Amy Traverso’s “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” recently nominated for two IACP awards.
Traverso, who serves as food editor of Yankee Magazine, spent a few years on the West Coast writing for Sunset magazine, and her apple knowledge spans the world. Here’s a recipe from the cookbook for a crustless apple pie. The batter settles around the fruit as it cooks, so you end up with apples suspended in a cake-like filling.
Swedish Apple Pie
Makes 8 servings
4 large firm-tart apples (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoon salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie plate and set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices with the cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of the flour, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Arrange the slices flat and in an even layer in the pie plate (if using a 9-inch pie plate, it will look quite full; don’t worry, there will still be room for the topping).
In a standing mixer or with a hand-held mixer, combine the remaining flour and sugar with the butter and egg. Mix until combined. Use a spatula to spread the batter over the apples. Bake until the top is golden brown and crusty, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then serve warm from the pan.