Stewed, mulled or baked in a savoury pie with shallots, apples are just the fruit to get you through winter
Even now, in the depths of winter, there is a crush around the apple stall at the market and, failing that, the greengrocer still has Russets in fine fettle. The Coxes, always late to the party, are at their heartiest right now and for a few weeks to come. You can rummage respectfully, taking care not to bruise, looking for something with a deep fragrance and skin unblemished enough to eat without peeling. I have never known this kitchen without an apple or two. An apple to crunch absentmindedly or to bake or to slice for a tart. Others to shave into a salad of walnuts and celeriac or to pair with cheese. And then there are those I cook for breakfast.
Firm, not overly sweet varieties, such as the Cox, are my favourite for stewing. A bowl of stewed Coxes sits in the fridge right now. I make it once a week in the cold months. If I have time, the fruit, roughly chopped and unpeeled, will have been simmered with a little bag of cloves, cinnamon and allspice berries. If not, then baked in a dish on the shelf under the Sunday roast, their snowy fluff scooped out of the skins and into a bowl.