We’ve gone through strawberry season, blueberry season, and dabbled a bit in raspberries, but although the west coast has had a bumper crop of berries this year, we’ve all had our eye on our apple trees.
Last week I talked about how Pumpkin Spice just might be the new bacon, and because of that and the chill in the air, I’m really getting into a fall mood lately. What could be a more perfect fruit for fall than apples?
I have two apple trees in my yard, and once the apples start to hit the ground I’m out there picking them up and plotting what I’ll do with them all. After saving enough to eat for school snacks and storing them in a cool place where they’ll keep, I reserve an entire box just for cooking and baking. Because you know the old saying – an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a bunch of apple recipes will keep you happy all weekend. Maybe it doesn’t go quite like that, but you get the idea.
Macintosh, gala, or golden delicious – bring them out and get them ready because we’re going to whip up some really amazing apple recipes.
Cozy up to Warm Vanilla Apple Cider
Martha Stewart always has the best ideas, and when I saw she added vanilla bean to her apple cider, I had to try it. You can make your own apple cider by using your juicer and pressing the extract through a mesh sieve into a jug or large glass.
6 cups fresh apple cider
2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
2 whole nutmeg seeds
1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
Combine apple cider, dark-brown sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan.
Gently simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove and discard any solids floating in your cider.
Divide among 6 mugs or heatproof glasses, and top each with a dollop of whip cream and a few walnuts.
Perfect Apple Pie
I found this recipe on OregonLive a few years ago when looking online for an apple pie recipe to compare to the pies my Grandma used to make. This one was as close as I found, and it involves marinating the apples in sugar and spices for at least 8 hours before baking. It’s so good the entire pie disappears in under an hour.
9 cups sliced apples
Measure the apples and place in a bowl or 2-quart measuring cup with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt and lemon juice. Mix well and leave at room temperature, covered, at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours.
When ready to make the pie, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out the pastry for the bottom crust and place in a 9-by-1 1/2-inch pie pan. Using a slotted spoon, place the apples in the pie shell level with the pie pan rim or slightly mounded. Add the flour to the juices remaining in the bowl and mix well. Pour the juice over the apples in the pie pan.
Dot the apples with butter and place the top crust over. Crimp the edge. Make slits in the top crust for air to escape. Sprinkle very lightly with granulated sugar.
Tear 2-inch-wide strips of aluminum foil, fold over once lengthwise and place over the crimped edge, pinching lightly to hold. This prevents the crust edge from browning too much.
Place the pie on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are tender when the pie is pierced with a fork in the center. Place on a rack to cool.
Making the perfect pie crust for apple pie can be tricky. I’ve tried many different recipes over the years and I’ve found this tutorial helped me the most. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll use this crust for all types of pie.
BC Apple Crisp
Apple crisp is something you have to make every fall, and it doesn’t hurt to store some apples and make it in the winter too. The best crisps have oats and flour so you have a crust and not just a crumble. I call it BC Apple Crisp because I like to use my own BC grown apples.
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish or a 9-in.-square baking pan. Cover with apples.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake 60-65 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.
Besides these recipes, you can take your apples and make apple sauce with a good blender or dry them out in a dehydrator and make apple chips.
We had a great summer but it’s finally fall, so there’s no better time to try out a few of these great apple recipes. If you need some help in the kitchen, check out these handy small kitchen appliances:
Whip up your own batch of warm or cold apple cider with a juicer or blender
Make this the weekend you try apple waffles – and don’t forget the ice cream
Pie dough is simple when you have a food processor or stand mixer