Category Archives: Apples

Baked Apples with Apple Caramel

On a cool, fall day, nothing beats the aroma of cinnamon and apples baking.  In fact, sometimes I just place some apple peels, a cinnamon stick and some lemon on the stove in a bit of water to simmer – just so the house smells wonderful (fewer calories that way too)!  After a trip to a local farm, I decided to make baked apples for the family.  Baked apples are easy to make and healthier than apple pie.  these are so delicious, you won’t even miss the rich pastry of a pie.

Not quite a “recipe” but more a method, this makes 4 servings.

 

4 Apples, washed and cored, hollowed out – but not cut all the way through. 
In a small bowl, mix together:
4 Tabl. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tabl. Raisins or Currents
2 Tabl. Pecans or Walnuts (optional)

Place the apples in a 8″ X 8″ pan.  Divide the sugar and spice mixture between the four apples, stuffing it down in the hollow.  Place 1 tsp. cold butter on top of each apple.  Pour 1/2 cup of Apple Cider in the pan.  Without covering, place the apple sin a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until tender.

        

     

Remove the warm apples from the pan and plate.  Empty the remaining cider into a small pan and on medium temperature, reduce the cider by half.  Whisk in 2 Tabl. cold butter to form the caramel.  Spoon the caramel over the apples and serve.

Caramel Apples

Do you want to make some child(ren) very happy???  Can you be patient knowing that a big pay-off is coming?  Then you need to make these Caramel Apples!  I know you could unwrap store bought caramels, melt them down with a little water in the microwave and make a caramel for dipping apples, but…do you know how long it takes to unwrap all those little individual caramels?  Actually, Kraft now makes Caramel Bits which is a bag of caramels unwrapped for baking purposes.   Kraft has solved the unwrapping problem, but the taste of homemade caramel far surpasses the store bought.

Making your own caramel from scratch, while requiring some patience, is quite gratifying.  The recipe is simple, the process takes about a half hour, the dipping can be a bit messy…but the result is AMAZING!  Plan now to make these with your loved ones, or maybe for the neighbor kids ; )

Wash, thoroughly dry and place sticks in 8-10 apples*.  (I used wooden chopsticks in mine)  Place the apples on a parchment lined cookie sheet. *Use any crisp apple variety.

In a small, tall pan, melt:
1/2 cup Butter
 
Add to the pan:
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 cup Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
 
Stir continuously until the above reaches a boil.  Add to the pan:
1 can Condensed Milk (not evaporated)

Attach a thermometer to the side of the pan and while stirring on low heat, bring up to a temperature of 248 degrees F.  The process of getting to the right temp takes at least 20 minutes but more like 30 minutes depending on your stove.   When the temp gets to 248 degrees F, remove from the stove and add 1-1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract.  Stir to incorporate.

     

Dip the apples in the caramel, turning to coat well.  Place the apples back on the parchment to set.  Roll in garnishes if you wish: nuts, choc. chips, small candies, sprinkles, ,etc..

     

If you have any caramel left, pour it on top of parchment in a shallow pan.  Allow to set up and cut with sharp knife for individual caramels.  OR: wrap it in a plastic bag and re-melt slowly in the microwave for dipping again in a couple of days when the kids start pestering you for MORE CARAMEL APPLES!!!

Calvados Apple Muffins

The calendar and the weather are both telling us: Fall is here.  The beauty of fall makes up for the loss of the warmth of  summer.  We tend to find warmth and comfort in foods during these cold(er) months.

Each of us has heard of, tasted and/or made an apple cake, as they are quite popular.  I determined to make mine “better than” by replacing some of the oil with yogurt to add flavor and moisture and sauteing my apples before adding them to the batter.  A splash of Calvados or Applejack – an apple brandy, intensifies and accentuates the apples.

I made this recipe into muffins for a special brunch, but have made it in a bundt pan for years.  Just sprinkle the top of cooled cake with powdered sugar – it’s taste can stand on its own!

In a Saute pan, melt:
2 Tabl. Butter
 
Add to hot pan:
3 Apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 Tabl. Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Saute apples until just soft.

Toss into the saute pan:
2 Tabl. Apple Brandy (Calvados or Applejack) * Optional

Toss the brandy with apples, and allow to flame a bit (this burns off alcohol).  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

     
 
In a large bowl, whisk together:
1-1/4 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Yogurt, plain
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
 
  
 
In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients:
2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
 
        

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.  Add the cooled apples and stir to coat.  Place in muffin cups by scoop.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until done.

     

If baking in a bundt pan, bake in 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.  Cool cake and dust with powdered sugar.

Apple “Pizza”

There really are very few Irish Desserts.  That’s because traditionally, Irish people eat what they grow and what is hearty.  May of their desserts call for fruit, sometimes fresh and often dried.  Many traditional Irish desserts call for apples or oatmeal. I decided to give you this recipe which calls for both apples and oatmeal, and while it’s not necessarily “Irish”,  it is perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day meal.

This dessert is part pie, part apple crisp, but totally delicious!! It’s “pizza” in that it is shallow,and free-formed. Kids and adults will love it. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or drizzled with caramel sauce.  Serves 8-10.

 

 

 


CRUST:
Combine:
1-1/2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Crisco
1 Tabl. Sugar


Add in small amounts to the above until the dough comes together:
1/4 cup Ice Water

Bring the dough together, press it into a disk and wrap in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour  (refrigerate for up to 3 days)

 

APPLE FILLING: –
Mix together in bowl:
3 Apples, peeled,cored and sliced (I use Honey Crisp)
2 Tabl. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Dash Nutmeg, optional
Dash Salt
 
 
 

Crumb Topping:
Combine in Bowl:
1 cup Oatmeal, Quick
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Dash Salt
 

  

With fingers, work into the oatmeal mix:

1/4 cup Butter, softened
 

  

TO ASSEMBLE “PIZZA”:

 

 

1. Roll crust out to 12″ circle 2. Roll edges of the crust up to form edge

3. Spread the apples on top of the crust, to edge.

4. Top the apples with crumbs.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Serve warm!

 

 

Apple Danish

I always keep Puff Dough sheets in my freezer.  Puff Dough is so versatile – you can use it to top chicken pot pie, make appetizers or as in this case, make wonderful pastries!  This was one of my best selling pastries at the bakery.  A piece of puff dough, your favorite variety of apple, a brush of melted butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar is all it takes to make this crunchy sweet treat.  These pastries are low in fat and sugar and since one apple makes 4 Danish, they are also very economical.

Since there is no real recipe these are the steps:

1)  Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut rounds out of partially frozen puff dough sheets, place them on parchment lined baking sheet.

2)  Lightly brush the pastry with melted butter.

3)  Peel, core and thinly slice apples (one apple/4 Danish).

4)  In a pinwheel pattern, arrange apples on top of pastry.

5)  Lightly brush the apples with melted butter.

6)  Sprinkle each generously with Cinnamon Sugar.

7)  (Optional) I also make a simple syrup glaze which is equal amounts of sugar and water brought to a boil and cooled.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown.  If desired, brush with simple syrup after removing from the oven.

German Apple Pancake

Mom often “surprised” us kids by serving up this “piping hot from the oven”  Apple Pancake.  Over the years, I made it for my 3 children ~ who also loved it!  It’s fast and easy and healthy, and it’s a perfect fall weekend breakfast!

In a large saute pan heat: (choose a pan that can go right into the oven)
2 Tabl. Butter

Add to melted butter and cook until apples are slightly softened:
4 tart Apples, sliced
3 Tabl. Lemon Juice
1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
In a blender or food processor, blend:
3 Eggs, whole
½ cup Milk
½ cup flour
½ tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Pour the batter over the apples.  Stick the entire pan into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for approx. 20 minutes or until puffed and browned.  Remove from the oven and flip the pan over onto a serving platter.  Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Cinnamon Apple and Maple Sausage Quiche

This is my favorite breakfast quiche that can certainly also be served with a small side salad for a delicious lunch.  The cinnamon apples are complimented by the hint of maple in the breakfast sausage.

 
BASE FOR QUICHE:
Whisk together:     
4 Eggs, whole
1 cup Half and Half
Salt and Pepper
In a hot pan sauté for 3-4minutes:
1 Tabl. Butter
2 Apples, thinly sliced
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Remove apples from pan, add to pan and cook:
6 Maple Breakfast Sausage links , cut into pieces

Place the Sausage on the bottom of your pre-baked HOT crust.  Pour the egg mixture above, on top of sausage leaving room to add apples.  Arrange the apples on top in a decorative manner (or not) . Bake in 350 degree oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean when stuck into the center.  Use a knife to trim the top edges of the quiche crust now that it has baked to make it nice.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving so it will set up a bit.

* You may have extra “base” leftover when filling a tart shell because of the ingredients you have chosen to add.  Don’t over-fill the crust.



Apple Crumb Pie

So you’ve looked at the last recipe for Double Crust Apple Pie, and you think, “But, I like crumb topped pie”.  Well, look no further. Mom made the best crumb topped pie: she called “Dutch Apple Pie”.  Follow the exact directions in the Double Crust Apple Pie recipe up to filling the pie shell with apples.

FOR CRUMB TOPPING:

Mix together until it forms fine crumbs:   

2 cups Flour

¾ cup Brown Sugar

¼ cup Sugar

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tabl. Vanilla Extract

½# Butter, softened in microwave, but not melted

Mix the above mixture lightly with your fingers (or fork if you don’t like to get messy) until it is incorporated and forms nice size crumbs.  Top the apples with crumbs, covering entire top.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes and then lower oven temp to 350 degrees and continue cooking until apples test done with knife – approximately 45 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

* Today’s Tip:  If the edges are getting too brown, you can place tin foil around the edges to protect them OR buy a crust guard OR BETTER YET, (what I did in the bakery)  take one tin foil pan and cut around the edge, starting from the inside.  This will give you a circular crust guard.  Place this over the top of the pie, around the crust edges.

Double Crust Apple Pie

Place all ingredients in large microwavable bowl and mix together:

5 Granny Smith or MacIntosh Apples *

4 softer apples such as Cortland                                      

¼ cup Brown Sugar

½ cup Sugar

1 Tabl. Lemon Juice

1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon

¼ tsp. Nutmeg

½ tsp. Salt

2 Tabl. Flour

Microwave the apples for 6 minutes until slightly softened.  Allow apples to cool.

Place apple mixture into an unbaked pie crust.  Dot with 2 Tabl. cold Butter, cut into small pieces.  Top with second crust.   Fold the edges under all the way around the pie pan.  Crimp the edge of the pie crust (using fork or thumb).  Cut slits (to allow for venting) into the center of the top crust.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes and then lower oven temp to 350 degrees.  Continue to bake until the crust is browned nicely and juices are running through slits, approximately 45 minutes.  You can test the doneness of the apples by pricking a knife through the slit.

While the pie is baking, combine in a small saucepan, 1/2 cup sugar and 4 Tabl water.  Bring to a boil.  Set aside.

Now for the professional touch: 10 minutes after the pie comes out of the oven, using a pastry brush, glaze the top of the pie.

 

* For me, it is the combination of firmer, more tart apples with softer, sweeter apples that makes this a perfect pie.  You can substitute your own favorite apples by using the apple chart to choose some crisp and some softer varieties.

Easy, Flaky Pie Crust

My preference for a tender, flaky crust is a combination of butter and vegetable shortening (my choice is Crisco).  It’s the combination of both fats that gives a crust its flavor and flakiness.  Pay careful attention to 2 keys that are necessary to making a great pie crust: COLD INGREDIENTS and SHAGGY dough.

Now ~ what do I mean by SHAGGY?  The biggest mistake people make when making pie crust is they mix it until it forms a nice, smooth ball.  Doing this will result in a tough, dry, non-flaky crust.  “SHAGGY” describes when the dough is mixed enough, which is to say, not a uniform ball, yet incorporated.   The dough will NOT be a ball at all, it will resemble a shaggy “mess”.

Here’s how to test if you have added enough water.  If you think it’s at the SHAGGY stage, but are not sure, stop adding water and pinch a bit of the dough in your fingers.  If it compresses and stays together its ready!  If it does not, you need to add a bit more water until the dough is able to do this.  Don’t worry, with some practice, you’ll be able to spot when you are at the SHAGGY stage.        

In a bowl measure:

3 cups Cake Flour

2 Tabl. Sugar

1 tsp. Salt

Place this bowl in refrigerator and allow flour to get COLD.

Grate: 1/2 cup COLD Butter into the flour and lightly toss with your fingers.

Add: 1/2 cup Shortening to the flour mixture and lightly toss with your fingers.

Mix together:

1 Tabl. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 to 1/2 cup Water, ICE COLD!

Gradually Add small amounts of the liquids to the bowl while tossing it with a fork –  STOP ADDING WATER the second the dough looks “SHAGGY”.  You want to see chunks of butter/shortening! As the chunks of the fat melt, the steam will cause air pockets ~ that’s what causes the flakiness!

Dump the bowl onto the counter, divide and carefully press into 2 disks (BE CAREFUL NOT TO KNEAD OR OVERWORK – that will make the dough tough).

Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours.  Alternatively, dough can be kept refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen for months.

Unwrap one disk of COLD dough, leaving it on the plastic wrap.  Dust lightly with flour and roll out into a circle.

HOW TO ROLL OUT PIE CRUST:

Start in the center and roll towards the outside.  Pick up the dough and rotate slightly. Rotating keeps the dough from sticking.  Add a dusting of flour if necessary.  Repeat this process of rolling and rotating until the dough is circular and rolled fairly thin and is slightly larger than your pie pan.

(If you are confident to roll directly onto the counter, lightly dust the counter with flour and follow the above directions.)

HOW TO GET THE PIE CRUST IN THE PAN:

Place your pan near the dough you’ve rolled out.  Now, pick up the plastic wrap and flop it over onto the pan.  Pull the plastic wrap off to release.

(If you’ve rolled your dough on the counter, place the pie pan near by the dough.  Fold your dough in ½ and then pick it up and place in 1/2 of pie pan.  Unfold the other 1/2 of dough.)

FINISHING THE PIE CRUST EDGES:

If this is going to be an opened-faced, crumb topped pie or custard filled pie, you can finish the edges of your crust: Fold the edges under all around the rim of the pie pan.  Using a fork, mark the edges all around the crust, or use your thumb to press indentations all around your crust.

If this is going to be a double crust pie, place the filling in crust and repeat the rolling process to make the top crust.  Then follow the above directions for finishing your crust.

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