Friday, October 06, 2006

Apple Picking and Apple Recipes

We went apple picking last Sunday, but it's taken me awhile to get this post written! We go to a wonderful orchard called Barthel's--it's the same place that we pick strawberries and sugar snap peas in June. Here's some pictures from the picking trip (C. and T. each brought a friend):

In addition to the pears (yum!) and butternut squash we bought, we picked a LOT of Cortland apples. I've spent most of the week making things with apples. The recipes follow:

Apple Bread
from Penzey's
We love this! It's not too sweet, and is very, very moist. It makes a great breakfast bread and is wonderful with a cup of coffee!

4 c. apples, peeled, cored and chopped (4-5 large apples)
4 lg. eggs, beaten
1 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
2 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. granulated white sugar
(I added a touch of freshly-ground nutmeg, too)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 9x5 bread loaf pans and set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size (I make them slightly smaller). In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend. Turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand so the apples do not get too broken up. Divide the mixture between the two pans. (they then recommend a topping of 3/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. white sugar, 2 t. cinnamon and 6 T. butter, but I find it just fine without the topping) Bake for about one hour on the center rack of the oven. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle, or cook an extra 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans. It is easier to slice if you can wait until it is cool.

Upside-Down Caramel Apple Pie
a Pampered Chef recipe
(note that you will need a deep dish pie pan for this pie or you'll have a big mess!)
This was the first time I'd made this pie and it was DIVINE! :)

Glaze and pastry
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. corn syrup
1/3 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
1 pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
4 lg. apples
1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425. For glaze, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in deep dish pie pan; spread evenly on bottom. Chop pecans; sprinkle over sugar mixture. Top with one pastry crust; set aside. For filling, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in bowl; mix well. Peel, core and slice apples. Place apple slices in large bowl; sprinkle with lemon juice. Layer half of the apples in pastry-lined pie ;an; sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Repeat layers. Place remaining crust over filling. Fold edge of top crust under edge of bottom crust; flute edge. Cut several slits in top crust. Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes. Loosen edge of pie from pie pan; carefully invert pie onto heat-resistant serving plate. Scrape any remaining caramel topping from pie place onto pie. Cool at least 1 hour before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Apple Cinnamon French Toast
another Pampered Chef recipe
This smelled wonderful while baking, but I wasn't thrilled with the mushy/eggy texture on the bottom. I think I'd cut down the number of eggs (and milk) next time or cram more bread in, or use drier/older bread.

1 loaf (8 oz) french bread
6 eggs
1 c. milk
8 T. sugar, divided
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
(I added a dash of fresh-ground nutmeg, too)
4 apples
2 T. butter
maple syrup to serve

Grease 9x13 pan. Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices; arrange closely in single layer in greased pan. Beat the eggs with a whisk; whisk in the milk, 3 T. of sugar, vanilla and salt. Pour over the bread. Combine the remaining 5 T. of sugar and the cinnamon (and nutmeg). Peel, core and slice or chop the apples. Place half of the apples over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Repeat the layers. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 400. Cut butter into small pieces and arrange over the apples. Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve topped with syrup.

Chunky Apple Sauce
I've put this "recipe" together from years of attempts and I really don't have set amounts because it depends on so many factors, including how moist/dry the apples are and how sweet/sour they are...

The basic method is to peel, core, and quarter as many fresh apples as you have. Put them into a heavy-bottomed pan as you're cleaning them. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan up about 1/2 an inch. (you can always add more, but it's too hard to remove water!) Heat over medium heat, stirring and flipping often, until you get a nice, thick, chunky consistency. A potato-masher would probably work really well at this point. When the apples are at the consistency you like, add sugar (to taste), cinnamon, freshly-ground nutmeg, and (at the very end) vanilla extract.

Serve warm or cold, and freeze the leftovers (it freezes really well!)


Stefaneener said...

The applesauce sounds heavenly, and what a nice way to get the ingredients.

Abby said...

What a wonderful activity for a fall day. I wish I could come taste all those yummy treats!