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Use more than one kind of apple in this dessert

Recipe: Put several varieties together for mix and match apple crumble

Bowl of red and green apples
In this bowl are McIntosh, Rome, Granny Smith and Baby Royal Gala apples. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

So many varieties; what do you do?

It's apple season with literally dozens of different kinds of apples available at farmers markets, apple farms and our own backyards.

It can create a little challenge in the kitchen. Different apples cook at different rates. Some get soft in a hurry; others hold their firm crunch.

Most recipes call for using the same variety of apple throughout; that way, they'll cook more evenly.

But this recipe allows you to mix and match what apples you have on hand. The result: The filling has some chunks that are a little firmer than others, adding some texture.

Use all one kind or two or more. (For this recipe, I used a large McIntosh, two Romes, two Baby Royal Galas and a Granny Smith.)

Another plus: This crumble uses less sugar than many apple desserts, allowing the true apple flavor to shine, too.

Apple chunks
The filling cooks before the crumble is assembled and baked

Mix and match apple crumble

Makes 5 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds apples (about 6 to 8, depending on size and variety)
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter for baking dish

For topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup quick rolled oats
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, chilled
Cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
1 small apple (optional garnish)

Instructions:
Peel, core and chop apples into 1/2-inch pieces. (A mixture of apple varieties can be used for this recipe.) In a heavy pot, combine 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and water. Stir to combine. Add apple chunks.
Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat and cover. Let apples simmer until chunks are fork-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cinnamon. (Note: Some chunks will get softer than others, depending on variety.)

Apple crumble in baking dish
The apple crumble is baked and ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and rolled oats. Cut butter or margarine into cubes; add to dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly.

Put apple filling into prepared casserole dish. Spoon crumble topping over apple mixture until top is covered. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 400 degrees F. until top is golden and filling is bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool on a rack. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream and apple garnish if desired.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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