Apples — The jewels of autumn

by Jeannette Ross

HAN Network

Until my daughter started working at a large fruit orchard and vegetable farm — Fishkill Farms ( — in New York, I had no idea how many varieties of apples there are. In addition to the kinds you can find in the supermarket — Cortland, Macoun, MacIntosh, Granny Smith, and seemingly everybody’s favorite, the Honeycrisp, there are also lesser known varieties like the Pixie Crunch, Golden Supreme — my new favorite — Ginger Gold, Spartan, Crimson Crisp, Roxbury Russet, Gold Rush, Ashmead’s Kernal, and Pink Pearl that have a lot to offer.

The Pink Pearl is undoubtedly the most beautiful apple you will ever see. Yellow on the outside with a pink blush, when you cut into it the inside is snow white and pink. It is crisp and sweet when you bite into it but then really tart. It is great for eating or baking.

Despite its beauty, the Pink Pearl is a little tart for my taste all by itself, so I was looking for something to do with a few extras I had on hand. This is a recipe for peaches I adapted for apples. I used a combination of Pink Pearl, Early Gold, and Jonamac, but you can use whatever you like.

Chunky apple cake

⅔ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour (I use half white, half whole wheat)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup sour cream or buttermilk

3 cups peeled, chopped apples (If using firm apples like Granny Smith, chop small; if using soft apples like MacIntosh, can be larger chunks.)

½ cup walnuts

¼-½ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternating with sour cream (or buttermilk), beating until smooth after each addition.

Mix in apples and walnuts by hand.

Pour the batter into the pan. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.