by Heather Berry |

An apple a day is a delicious prepackaged treat!

With August’s arrival comes a hint of fall and the first harvest from apple trees. Apples are one of nature’s snacks that are as good alone as they are in a favorite recipe.

But which apple should you buy? If you want an apple to eat out of hand, it’s a matter of taste. Are you baking? Jonagold or Granny Smith offer that bit of tartness that reminds you of the apples Grandma used in her pies when you were a kid. Packed with vitamin C and a great source of fiber, apples are a healthy treat for everyone.

Choose your favorite apple and give some of these tasty recipes a try.


Apple Tart

(as seen in photo at beginning of this section)

14.1-ounce package of refrigerated pie crusts (you’ll only use one crust)
3 medium Honeycrisp apples, peel left on
Juice of one lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
1 large egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
3 tablespoons apple jelly, melted

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll dough to a 12-inch circle; lightly spray a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and fit dough into pan, trimming to fit. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork; bake in oven until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool while preparing filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Core apples and cut each into four pieces. Slice sections into 1/8-inch-thick slices using a mandoline slicer or a knife. Place apple slices in a large bowl, and gently toss with lemon juice, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat flour, egg yolk, salt, 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed in a bowl until completely smooth; mixture will be thick. Spread mixture in bottom of prepared crust.

Drain apple slices and reserve some of the smaller slices for the center “rose” spiral. Starting at the outer edge, shingle the apple slices, peeling side up, overlapping each other, in concentric circles around circumference of crust. Continue shingling apple slices, working toward center of crust, until almost filled to the center. Wrap the smaller slices around each other into a tight rose shape; place in center of tart and fill in around the rose with more apple slices until tart is tightly packed.

Cut remaining 1 tablespoon butter into pieces, and dot top of tart. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake in hot oven until crust is browned and apples are just beginning to brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Brush tart with melted apple jelly and cool.


Chicken Salad

4 pounds chicken (bone-in, skin-on thighs and breasts work well; you’ll need about 4 cups cooked, cooled chicken)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1 to 2 Honeycrisp apples, seeded and diced
1 cup almonds, sliced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Fresh lettuce, tomato and avocado slices, if desired
Fresh croissants or choice of bread, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the chicken pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees using an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool. Remove the skin then pull the meat from the bones and chop.

In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, grapes, apple, almonds, celery, scallions, dill and parsley.

In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon, and mustard. Add the mayo/mustard mixture to the chicken mixture and gently stir until well mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, place scoops of chicken salad over a bed of fresh lettuce with sliced tomatoes and avocado, or serve in a fresh croissant roll.

Grandma's Apple Strudel

(not pictured)

4 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, if desired
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water, plus extra for sealing dough
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, sugar, butter, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and water. Stir to combine. Cook at medium heat for about 7 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Set aside and allow the apple mixture to cool.

In the meantime, unfold your puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to make each puff pastry sheet about 15% larger in size.

Place half of the cooled apple mixture down the middle one-third of one puff pastry sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut horizontal strips along both the left and the right outer thirds of the puff pastry. Make 14 to16 strips on each side.

Lightly moisten the ends of all the strips with water. Then fold the strips over the top of the apple mixture. To create a braided look, first fold over a strip from the left, then a strip from the right. Continue left, right, left, right until all of the strips are in place. Seal both ends with a little water.

Repeat this process with the rest of the apple filling and the second puff pastry sheet.

Transfer both strudels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow strudels to cool slightly.

In the meantime, prepare a glaze by whisking together the butter, vanilla, milk, salt and powdered sugar. Start with 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar as needed to create a glaze that is thick but still can be drizzled. If the glaze becomes too thick, add a bit more milk to thin it. Slice and serve warm.

Mountain Dew Dumplings

2 sticks of butter
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled
Two 8-ounce cans of crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon to taste
One 12-ounce can Mountain Dew
Ice cream, optional

Butter the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan; set aside. Cut each apple into 8 slices. Roll each slice in a crescent roll and place in the pan.

Melt remaining butter, then add sugar and stir. Add vanilla, stir and pour entire mixture over dough-wrapped apple slices. Pour Mountain Dew around the dough-wrapped slices in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle juice from pan over top of dumpling.

Fresh Apple Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups) 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted Whipped topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir in apples and nuts. Add egg mixture into flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Batter will be thick. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean. Do not overbake. Cool in pan before cutting to serve. If desired, top cake slices with a dollop of whipped topping.

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