Tasty Tuesday–Apples!

The apple dessert contest on Sunday had me thinking…how many apple recipes have I shared over the years? There are actually more than I remembered, and they’re not all desserts…I even have a main course on the list!

How do you like to use apples in your cooking and baking?

The 9th Annual Apple Dessert Contest

At the end of August, I saw a contest that STL Today (the online home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) was running. They were looking for apple recipes in two categories–pies, and other desserts. I entered a recipe in each category, and promptly forgot about it.

Then while Ryan was out-of-town, I received a phone call telling me that my apple-pumpkin bread had been chosen as a finalist in the dessert category! I was shocked, if only because I had put the contest out of my head, and also excited. Today was the big day (the contest was part of the St. Louis Builders Home and Remodeling Show), so after smelling the bread all throughout church, Sunday school, and choir rehearsal (I kept it with me all morning, because it was just too hot to risk leaving it in the car!), we headed west to the lovely Convention Center in St. Charles.

Now, I make this bread at least once a year in the fall, every year. I have done so for at least a decade. But I was really nervous about baking it yesterday, and I was worried that it was underdone and overdone, all at the same time. I also fussed over the presentation, until I came up with this (which I think looked pretty nice!):

If making the bread wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, waiting through the judging process was a nightmare!

But I had the best cheering section there (thank you family, for making me laugh when I felt like I was going to be sick!), and they were just as excited as I was when I placed second!

Even without the prizes (which were a wonderful surprise!), this was a fun thing to do. One thing you have to say about me…I’m always putting myself out there, and sometimes, like today, it pays off pretty well!

Tasty Tuesday–Pie!

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving-ready pie recipes:

If anyone’s wondering, I just use the standard Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe…nothing too fancy there!

Tasty Tuesday–Caramel Apple Pie

Since Thanksgiving approaches, I thought I’d share the recipe for one of our Thanksgiving standards…caramel apple pie. It even won second place at a church pie contest a while back!

20 individually wrapped caramels
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 large Granny Smith apples–peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350.
Unwrap and cut caramel candies in half. In a large bowl, mix candy with flour. Stir in apples, ice cream topping, and lemon juice. Pour filling into pie crust.
Place in oven on a sheet of foil to catch the drips. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

 

Tasty Tuesday–Apple Strudel

Since Reformation Day is this week, here’s a nice German-ish dessert to add to your menu!

P1080544

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Heat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges. Starting at the short side closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal. Brush with the egg mixture. Cut several 2-inch long slits 2 inches apart on the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Slice and serve warm. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Tasty Tuesday–Spiced Apple Cranberry Pie

This was a new recipe I tried out for Thanksgiving. I wanted something similar in taste to the wassail I make at Christmastime, and with the apples and cranberries, plus the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, this definitely fits the bill. Around here, we’re even calling it “wassail pie!” The blend of spices is perfect, and I love finding another use for fresh cranberries.

  • 2 unbaked pie crusts (I use store-bought)
  • 3 1/4 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 10 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Egg wash: 1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar

To make the apple-cranberry filling, in a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven, stir together the apples, brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch until the apples are evenly coated. Set over medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and vanilla, and let cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, stir together the cranberries, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the water. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have broken down slightly and the liquid has thickened to the consistency of a loose jam, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry mixture to the apple mixture and stir to combine.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven, place a baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 400.

Let the pie crusts come to room temperature for about five minutes. Line a pie plate with one crust, and spoon in the apple cranberry filling. Gently place the second pie crust over the pie. Trim the edges flush with the rim of the dish and press the top and bottom crusts together to seal. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.

Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 1 hour, covering the edges with aluminum foil if they become too dark. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving. Serves 8.