I grew up in a house that sat in an apple orchard. In the spring, we pruned and in the fall we picked. We grew all kinds of apples, but my favorite then, and now, is a variety called Fireside. This is what they look like.
It is the perfect apple. It was developed for northern climates, specifically Minnesota where I grew up. They wanted to make people think they could live in Minnesota even through the winters, so they developed this particular apple tree to grow and thrive in cold climates. They thought that if they could convince people they could grow an apple they could convince them to live there. Minnesota apparently had a reputation! (I can tell you from experience that it is a well-deserved reputation.)
Our current home in Oklahoma also has a Fireside apple tree in our back yard. A few years ago my daughter and I took a road trip to my old stomping grounds. While we were in Minnesota, we went by an apple orchard to get some Fireside apples…and came home with a tree stuffed between us in the SUV! This year for the first time it actually has a few apples on it that have survived the birds, the caterpillars and the windstorms.
Firesides are sweet and tart and crispy all at the same time. They are great for fried apples, but hard to find. Apple varieties cook very differently. If you have ever tried to cook with Golden Delicious or Red Delicious apples you know what I am talking about. They turn to mush. Then there are the Jonathans that hold their shape well, but there should be a pucker inserted here for Jonathans!
For this recipe (it is very simple), find yourself a good Cameo or Gala, or if you are lucky enough to be near an orchard in Minnesota, a Fireside. Most stores have Cameo now. I think apple pies lend themselves to great varieties of apples. But for fried apples, I like the Fireside type. They hold their shape, but have deep flavor.
Have the apples peeled and sliced. Melt the butter, and then toss the apples. You want to keep them moving, but not constantly. Think stir fry and don’t let them burn. After they have cooked about 1 minute, add the brown sugar and cinnamon. It makes a bit of a glaze with the butter. Cook it down until the apples are tender. About 5 minutes is all it takes for this tasty side dish. When the apples are soft but not mush, I spoon them over pretty much anything… I have put them in Ice cream, pancakes, pudding, or just eat them as a side with a meal. You can brown pork chops then finish them off in the oven with applesauce. You can find or make a good apple butter and breakfast has turned magical.
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. butter (more if apples are dry)
2 T. cinnamon
For our Halloween Party we put the apples in the bottom of the cup and then topped it with pudding and a little butterscotch sauce.
Here is what it looked like when it was done.
Apples plain are one of the best foods you can eat. Experiment with and taste different kinds of apples to find your own favorite. Don’t assume delicious is the most delicious! And if you can schedule a trip to Minnesota after the first frost, don’t pass up an opportunity to sample the Fireside apple.
Brenda from Great Stitch – ETSY