Tag Archives: Apples

Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumplings

As I mentioned in my last post, we are hosting Thanksgiving this year and working hard at menu planning.  One interesting fact about Thanksgiving with Marc’s family is that it is mandatory that there are nearly as many desserts as there are adults joining us for the meal.  Marc’s mother is a great baker and his sister is a trained pastry chef so you can imagine how high the dessert bar is set.  So in addition to the obligatory pumpkin pie, we have a whole bunch of great desserts planned, including this one.

Fresh Apples

Fresh Apples

Of course, many people go the apple pie route.  It’s a great choice and a Thanksgiving classic.  We love apple pie around these parts which is one of the reasons why this recipe is a family favorite.  It has all the flavors of apple pie – the flaky pastry, the apple, and the sweet cinnamon-infused sauce – but in a neat little individual package.  Because the apples are whole you save time chopping and you only have one crust to manage (which makes life just that much easier).

Apples waiting for their wrapping

Apples waiting for their wrapping

This recipe is the one that my mother-in-law has been making for years.  It is delicious as is so we really didn’t make many changes.  If you like, you could increase the spices a little bit, maybe adding a dash of cloves for a little spicy flavor.  But really, this recipe is as good as it gets, just the way it is.  Make sure to have some vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream on hand for serving.  After all, it is Thanksgiving.

Pouring the sauce

Pouring the sauce

Apple Dumplings

Recipe from Charlene Marino

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus additional for sprinkling if desired

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbls butter, plus more for dotting the apples

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup lard (or shortening)

1/2 cup milk

6 medium apples, peeled and cored

To Make:

First, make a simple syrup by combining the sugar, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium sauce pan.  Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove the syrup from heat and add 3 tbls of butter and the vanilla.  Stir until combined and set aside.

To make the pastry, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add milk all at once and stir until flour is just moistened.  Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and roll dough into a 12×18 inch rectangle.  Cut the pastry into 6, 6-inch squares.

To assemble the dumplings start by placing an apple on each dough square.  Sprinkle apples generously with sugar, cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg and dot with butter.  Moisten edges of pastry, bring corners to the center of the apple, and pinch the edges together.

Place the wrapped apples about 1 inch apart in an ungreased baking pan.  Pour syrup over dumplings and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar if desired.  Bake in a 375 degree oven until the apples are tender, about 35 minutes.

To Serve:

Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves six.  Recipe can be doubled.  Also, if you want your dumplings really saucy, feel free to double the syrup.

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Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Well hello there, how have you been?  I am not sure what happened but I must have blinked because October is almost over and we haven’t done any blogging.  Yikes.  Luckily, it is fall and we just got our first Winter CSA distribution so there is plenty of inspiration to go around.  The winter CSA is lots of fun because the distributions are over flowing with tons of vegetables, apples, dried beans, and other goodies.  With that big box of yum, we were quickly inspired to make this delicious (almost vegetarian) butternut squash stuffed with flavors of fall.

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

Apples and Bacon (home cured)

The squash is roasted with butter and maple syrup and then filled with a stuffing made from leeks, apples, bacon, brown rice, and more maple syrup.  The stuffing nicely balances the sweet with the savory and makes for a light but filling main dish.  The recipe calls for butternut squash but you could easily substitute acorn or another hard shelled squash if that is what you had on hand.

Chopped Leek

Chopped Leek

This dish requires a few steps to make but it can almost all be done ahead of time.  It makes a great Thanksgiving option because you can prep it all a day or two in advance and then heat it up right before serving.

Ready for Roasting

Ready for Roasting

Bacon and Apple Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squash

1 tbls butter

3 tbls real maple syrup, divided

2.5 ounces thick cut bacon

1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup cooked brown rice

To Make:

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Arrange the squash in a roasting pan, cut side up.  Divide the butter and 1 tbls of the syrup between the four cavities.  Fill the pan with about an inch of water, cover with foil, and roast at 375 until mostly tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, rub the butter and syrup from the cavity all over the squash and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize around the edges.

Meanwhile chop the bacon and cook in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Drain off all but about 1 tbls of the bacon fat from the pan.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the apples to the pan and sauté until they are soft, another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and 2 tbls of maple syrup to bind it all together.  At this point, you can refrigerate both the squash and the stuffing, tightly wrapped in separate containers, until you are ready to serve.
Mound the stuffing into the cavity of the squash halves and bake in a 375 degree oven until warmed through, 10-20 minutes, depending on how cold everything was.
To Serve:
Serve hot as a main dish or as a hefty side.  Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using olive oil or butter instead of bacon fat for sauteing the filling.  Serves 4.

 

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Filed under Dinner, Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Vegetables

Classic Apple Pie

All-American Apple Pie

All-American Apple Pie

Alex, I’ll take “Apples for $400.

A:  It’s as all-America as.

Q:  What is apple pie?

Apple pie is wonderful and this has a great, simple twist.  Let’s start with what you need.

Classic Apple Pie

The Crust

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup lard (yes, you can find it in the supermarkets these days)

3 tbls cold butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbls sugar

5-7 tbls ice cold water

To Make:

Measure out 5 tbls of water in a cup and drop an ice cube it.  In a bowl, bring your wicked (awesome) whisk to the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.  Set aside. 

Cut the cold butter into a dozen or so small pieces.  Add the cut butter and the lard to the flour mixture.  Combine using a pastry plenty blender until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Add the water a few drops at the time until the mixture just holds together.  Once you have a great big ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and toss in the fridge.  It should remain there for at least one hour. 

The Apple Filling

The base of this comes from the Joy of Cooking, Apple Pie II.  What makes this recipe so appealing to me is that the apples are cooked down before being put in the pie.  This prevents cooked apple shrinkage, thus preventing the ugly gap between the fruit filling and the top layer of the crust in the finished pie.

Ingredients:

11 small to medium apples (about 3 lbs 4 oz) cored, peeled and cut.  I’m not sure what type of apples they were because we got them in from our CSA.

3 tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean – fresh or previously used (more on this later)

To Make:

Core, peel and cut the apples.  I used a mandolin to cut the apples to 5/16” thick slices.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add the 3 tbls of butter.  Wait for that butter to start to brown and become fragrant, and toss in one previously used vanilla bean.  Our vanilla bean was initially used to make vanilla ice cream so the seeds had been scraped and used already (that’s a different post).  Apparently one bath in the heavy cream didn’t take the vanilla bean’s entire flavor life.  Toss the bean to coat with the butter and then dump in the apples.  Again, toss to coat, put on the lid, and drop the heat to medium-low.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, the apples should be soft on the outside but still have some bite in the middle.  Remove the lid, add in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and turn up the heat.  Reduce the juices to the consistency of a thick syrup, about another 3 minutes.  Transfer the apples to a cookie sheet, spread out in one layer, and allow to cool to room temperature. 

To Put it all Together:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and cut it in half.  On a well floured board, roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick and place it in your favorite pie plate.  Add the room temperature apple filling to the pie plate.  Roll out the other half of the dough and top your pie.  Cut a few vent slits in the top.  Bake the pie for about 40-50 minutes.  After about 25 minutes, take it out and cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning.  The pie is done when the crust is a nice golden color and the filling begins to bubble.

 To Serve:

The pie should cool on a rack for 3-4 hours to allow the filling to set.  This is best enjoyed with some equally awesome homemade vanilla ice cream.

By the way, this pie is excellent for breakfast.  No?  Okay, I’ll wrap the apple filling some squares of pastry, fold it into a triangle and call it an apple turnover.  Good enough for you now?

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Filed under Baked goods, Dessert, Fruit, Recipes