A main course, dessert and a cider float using local apples

Autumn has officially arrived and so has apple season! One of the most cultivated fruits; the apples bears a bountiful harvest. A diverse fruit in flavour and in its use. From crisp and juicy to sweet, soft and aromatic, for applesauce, baking, storing and for munching fresh. Currently, my kitchen is loaded with all kinds of apples from Galas to Golden Delicious.

Nothing beats biting into a fresh-picked apple, though the apple lends itself well to a little sugar and spice and folded into sweet pastry, or even cooked with savoury meats.

So, I’ve been thinking about all these apples and what to do with them…the only issue is figuring out which apples are good for what kind of eating?

Fortunately, I came across this handy visual guide to apples by Epicurious. The list includes several of the most common market apples and their best uses.

For more information on the many apple cultivars click here.

Apple season

A general rule of thumb is the sweeter and softer apples are good for making applesauce (like Pink Lady and Gala), the harder, drier are best for baking and storing (like Jonagold and Fuji), the tart, crisp and juicy apples are good for eating (like Honeycrisp and Braeburn), and then there’s apples best suited for cider making (like Stayman-Winesap).

Honestly, the sheer volume of apple varieties is enough to confuse any cook or connoisseur. However, with over 7500 cultivars of apples worldwide, only a fraction of those are cultivated commercially. Some of the most common cultivars are Red Delicious, Braeburn, Gala and the Canadian originated Spartan, Ambrosia and McIntosh to name a few. The colours of apples range from bright red to green to golden-yellow and pale pink, while the sweetness scale ranges from candy-sweet (Gala, Fuji, McIntosh) to mouth-puckeringly tart (Granny Smith and Gravenstein).

The apple really is King of all the fruits, dating back thousands of years. Not only are they good for you (full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium), apples are extremely versatile when it comes to eating. There are apples for all occasions; for fresh eating, for baking, for cider making and for winter keeping.

Here are just three ways to cook, bake and sip with apples.

Baked sausages and apples

Baked sausages and apples

Baked Sausage and Apples

Apple Variety: firm, semi-tart, crisp (Cortland, Braeburn, Jonagold)

This is a very simple, quick and delicious way to incorporate apples into a main course. The salty sausages pair well with the sugary sweetness of the apples.


8 pork sausages

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 750g bag of new potatoes

1 garlic bulb separated into cloves and bruised

4 sprigs of rosemary

2-4 red skinned apples cored and cut into wedges (Variety: Jonagold or Braeburn)

1/2 10oz bag young leaf spinach or bunch of Swiss chard chopped


Preheat a large roasting tin in the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Add the sausages to the tin; drizzle with the oil. Roast for 10 minutes, turning halfway.

  • Cut the potatoes into quarters. Transfer to a bowl with the garlic cloves, the chopped leaves from 2 sprigs of the rosemary and the apples; toss together.
  • After the 10 minutes, add the potato mixture to the sausages, in a single layer. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper and add the remaining rosemary sprigs. Return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning the sausages halfway, until everything is cooked through and golden.
  • Remove from the oven, mix in the spinach and set aside for a couple of minutes to wilt.
  • Recipe inspired by: http://sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/mains/pork/item/sausage-traybake

Caramel apple dumpling

Caramel apple dumpling

Delicious Apple Dumplings

Apple varieties: sweet-tart, firm (Cortland, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious)

A classic recipe that gives you all the apple-pie flavours with the rich buttery crust but also showcases the apple in all it’s glory.


6-8 apples (see above for varieties)

Pastry Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup butter unsalted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

2-3 tablespoon cold water

Sauce Ingredients

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoon butter


Make the sauce first to give it time to cool down.

Make the pastry and refrigerate until you have peeled and cored your apples.

Sauce directions:

Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high until it comes to a boil. When it begins to boil lower the heat to medium and let it thicken, stirring as you go (about 1-2 minutes).

Pastry directions:

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add milk all at once. Stir with a fork until the dough just forms a ball. Place in the refrigerator until you have peeled and cored the apples.

Peel and core the apples. You can keep the apples from turning brown by placing them in cold water while you work.

Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll each section out on a lightly floured surface individually.

  1. Place the apples on a dough square, fill the center with butter, (chopped walnuts and raisins optional) sprinkle sugar over top then sprinkle cinnamon over top.
  2. Mold the dough around the apple, making sure there are no openings. Place the apples in a 13×9 inch baking pan. Spacing them about an inch apart. Pour the sauce over the dumplings , then sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Spoon the sauce on the bottom of the pan over the apple dumplings after they come out of the oven.

Recipe adapted from: http://bunnyswarmoven.net/2013/09/barbs-apple-dumplings

Hard Apple Cider Floats

Two of my favourite products coming together in one drink! The hard apple cider float is not for the faint of heart, or for those that don’t care for sweets. However, the crisp, tart and boozy taste of the cider in this recipe adds a nice contrast to the rich ice cream.

Rumrunner Cold Comfort Float

Rumrunner Cold Comfort Float

Cider Float!I chose locally produced Sea Cider for their autumn inspired Rumrunner Prohibition cider. This particular cider is not only boozy (12.5%) but full of harvest flavours with hints of brown sugar, applebutter and, of course, rum. Aged in rum soaked Newfoundland Screech barrels, gives this semi-dry cider it’s rich, smooth flavour. I decided to pair the cider with Victoria’s own Cold Comfort Vanilla Bean & Penny’s Mincemeat Pie Ice Cream for the ultimate taste experience. The spiced mincemeat flavours and vanilla bean worked really well with the spirited notes in the cider.

This is truly a perfect fall concoction. It’s basically dessert with a major kick. Try pairing this float with with the apple dumplings and you’ll be one happy camper!


1 750ml bottle of Rumrunner Cider (found at Spinnakers Spirit Merchants

1 quart of Cold Comfort Vanilla Bean & Penny’s Mincemeat Pie Ice Cream (Note: This is a seasonal ice cream and not always available)

Garnish with apple slices (optional)


rocks glasses

fill 3/4 of the glass with cider

Add 1-2 scoops of ice cream on top

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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