Of all the beautiful fruits and vegetables grown in this region during the short farming season, nothing says New England fall better than a local apple. And while everyone can agree on the pleasure of biting into a crisp, freshly picked fruit, the consensus stops there. Some like them sweet, others tart, some prefer only whole fruits, others head to the kitchen for simple, comforting savory dishes and confections.
Pies are grand, a bit difficult to perfect, but an open-faced crostata is easier — only a single round to roll out — and you can serve it plain, topped with almonds, baked with dulce de leche, or sprinkled with a cheddar- and rosemary-flecked streusel. For a savory treat, layer apples in an open-faced French sandwich called tartine, topped with bacon, white sauce, and Gruyere, and toasted till golden. Or for a main course, cook turkey kielbasa with apples, sauerkraut, and grainy mustard. Begin the day with apple-bran muffins and end it with a slice of crumb-topped apple cake. An apple a day keeps the baker happy and busy.