Flavors of the Fall

Last weekend, 15 girls in my dorm and I donned our rainboots and embarked on an apple picking expedition. We tromped through an orchard toting bags filled with all different kinds of apples, ranging from sweet Macintoshes and Red Delicious to tart Fuji and Granny Smith. We found the best apples on the top of the branches. Reaching up through crimson and orange leaves, the apples seemed to beg for you to twist one of them off, rub it against your jeans and take a bite right there. The apple’s dusty purple hue polished to a bright red sheen, glossy and perfect, until your teeth crunched through the taught skin to the fruit underneath. Tired and apprehensive of the gradually darkening sky, we left the orchard, dragging bushels of apples down the dirt path on the side of the hill. Now, after more than a week, we still have apples left, chilling in the fridge on each floor. In a dorm of over 30 girls, that’s a long time for food to last. To celebrate the flavors of fall, apple crumble makes a great treat and can be cooked in the microwave just as well as in the oven. Caramelized, cubed apples soak in cinnamon and brown sugar, softening until they slip out of their skins. Crispy granola toasts over the apples, the sugar bubbling up in between the crumbles. To start, grab a couple of apples and cut them into slices or cubes. Toss the chunks with a couple heaping spoonfuls of brown sugar and a thick dusting of cinnamon sugar, found near the toasters and waffle makers. The easiest way to mix the ingredients is to put them in a salad bowl, then cover that bowl with another salad bowl and shake. This way, nothing comes flying out. Once the apples have been tossed, let them soak in the sugar for a little while you prepare the crust. The base of the crumble is granola, which can be found downstairs by the cereal during dinner and by the yogurt during breakfast and brunch. Using a fork, smush a little bit of butter and brown sugar together, then mix the butter and sugar with the granola until it is evenly distributed. For the final stage of the preparation, spread the granola mixture over the apples, and press until the entire dish is even. Make sure that the granola covers most of the apples, or else the melting sugar will submerge the granola and prevent it from getting crunchy. Now, all you have to do is stick the crisp in the microwave for three minutes or so. If the sugar is bubbling and the apples seem to have taken on a caramel hue, open the microwave door and poke the apples with a fork. You’ll know that the crumble is done when the fork pierces them easily. Take the crumble out and let it cool. For the final touch, softly dollop some whipped cream on top of the apple crumble. Congratulations—your first real microwave dessert! Bon appétit!