'Apples: From Harvest to Table' book has plenty of good apple information

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BAKED APPLE CHIPS

This is one of the recipes from Amy Pennington's new "Apples: From Harvest to Table" that I'm looking forward to trying this season. It's marked "With the Kids," and I'm sure my kid will love making and eating them. She suggests making them in large quantities, "storing any extras in an airtight bag in the fridge, which will discourage molding from any natural lingering moisture."

-- Bob Batz Jr. (bbatz@post-gazette.com)

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 medium apples

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees or its lowest setting. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, coat with a few drops of vegetable oil, and spread to coat the paper. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add the water, sugar and cinnamon; set over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is just dissolved, about 5 minutes, and remove from the heat to cool.

To prepare the apples, use a mandoline or knife to slice them about 1/4 inch thick. Don't worry about coring or seeding your apples -- all will bake up to an edible chip. Add the apple slices to the syrup in the saucepan and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

Drain the syrup from the apple slices and place on the baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Bake until the apples are dry and their edges are just beginning to crisp, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and leave the apples on it to cool completely.

When the apples are thoroughly cooled, store in an airtight container or plastic bag until you're ready to use them. Apple chips may be stored in the fridge or moved to the freezer for longer storage time.

Makes 5 cups.

-- "Apples: From Harvest to Table" by Amy Pennington (St. Martin's Griffin; Sept. 2013, $21.99)



ROOT VEGETABLE & APPLE PIE WITH SAUSAGE

PG tested

The pretty new "Apples: From Harvest to Table" by Amy Pennington contains lots of good apple information, ideas for crafts and 50 recipes, many of which are quite easy.

This isn't one of those.

Not if you've never worked with phyllo.

I made a bit of a mess with the see-through-thin sheets of dough, especially as I brushed each with melted butter. After I thawed and unrolled my package of frozen "filo," I was worried that some of the sheets already were split. But I used them anyway, getting better at buttering without breaking them further, and it didn't matter once the sheets where stacked and folded around the filling.

The result was a fragrant, beautiful, crunchy and delicious, and different Sunday supper that's perfect for fall, and one that I'll make again.

Ms. Pennington, a Seattle food writer who also runs an edible gardening business, writes, "Many apples will work well in this recipe -- both those that hold their shape and those that break down. I like Pippin, Rome or Granny Smith."

-- Bob Batz Jr.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 10 sheets phyllo

  • 2 to 3 golden beets (about 1/2 pound), peeled and thinly sliced, about 1/8 inch thick

  • 3 to 4 medium apples (about 1 pound), cored and thinly sliced, about 1/4 inch thick

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 2 to 3 turnips (about 1/2 pound), peeled and thinly sliced, about 1/8 inch thick

  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion just begins to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is browned and the onion is soft and velvety, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sausage to cool completely.

To prepare the phyllo, in a small pan, melt the butter over low heat. You don't want to brown the butter at all. Set the phyllo sheets on the counter and cover with a damp cloth. Working with 1 sheet at a time, use a pastry brush to cover the entire sheet with butter. Put a second sheet of phyllo over the first and repeat -- brushing a thin layer of butter over the entire sheet. Continue working in this way until you have 5 sheets stacked together.

Lightly brush the bottom of a deep 9-inch pie pan with butter and lay the stack of phyllo across the pan. The edges of the phyllo will hang over the sides. Layer the remaining 5 phyllo sheets in this fashion, brushing with melted butter as before. Rotate the pie pan 90 degrees and lay the second phyllo stack across the pan, perpendicular to the first layer.

Add the first layer of beets to the phyllo, overlapping the edges slightly and covering the bottom. Repeat with half of the apples slices to create a layer over the beets. Season with salt and pepper. Now add a layer of turnips. Over the turnips add half of the sausage mixture.

Continue in this fashion to make another later of beets, apples and turnips.

When the last turnip layer is completed, press the filling down hard with your hands, making sure there are no big air pockets or spaces. Add the remaining sausage mixture to the top. If you're using the goat cheese, break it into small pieces and dot over the top of the sausage.

Working clockwise, fold in the corners of the phyllo, creating a pleated top for your pie. (Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect; I gave the top a few final brushes of melted butter.) Bake until the phyllo is golden brown, 45 minutes. Let the pie cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

-- "Apples: From Harvest to Table" by Amy Pennington(St. Martin's Griffin; Sept. 2013, $21.99)

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