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Dash of Grace: Baking with apples

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 1:01 p.m. CDT

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It’s apple time again, and also time to load up the kids and hit the pumpkin patch.

Some of the best childhood memories my kids have are running around and climbing to the top of the orange mounds.

It took at least a couple of hours to pick just the perfect pumpkin and to choose what kinds of apples we wanted to fill our big bushel basket. We ate apples all the way home in the old station wagon, singing in between bites.

Once we got home, it was time to carve the pumpkins. Nothing fancy, and no fair painting. Actually, no one had started painting the pumpkins at that time. As the candles were lighted and placed inside, the pumpkin seeds were roasted either over the fire or in the oven. What fun!

We had hot dogs and s’mores and hot chocolate, and the sweet aromas filled the air. The night of the pumpkin carving signaled the start of the Halloween season, when all thoughts turned to costumes and candy.

Funny, isn’t it, as soon as we picked out all the pumpkins and apples and brought them home, Mom’s thoughts turned to apple pies and pumpkin pies. 

The chill already is in the air, and my thoughts are turning to apple pie. So, here goes. There’s not much that tastes or smells better on a cool fall day.

Feel free to send along your favorite fall recipes.

Grandma’s apple pie 

Now, I don’t know who the grandma was or is, or how she came to bake this pie, but I do know it is beyond scrumptious! It was in a cookbook belonging to my mother, but I don’t think it was her original recipe. I never thought to ask her if the grandma was her. I would ask her now, if my mom was alive – like so many things I wish I had asked her.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Pastry for a 9-inch double-crusted pie

½ cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup water

½ cup white sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice-work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Apple spice cake

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup butter

2 eggs

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cloves

1 cup milk

2 cups chopped apples

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs; beat well. Stir flour with spices and add to mixture, alternately with milk. Bake in greased, floured 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan in oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

TOPPING:

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup flaked coconut

½ cup pecans

Mix above ingredients. Pour coconut-nut topping mixture over cake and return to oven on broil, setting until slightly brown on top.

Apple doozie pizza

1 pizza crust

1 can apple pie filling

½ cup quick oats

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup flour

½ stick butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar (glaze)

2 tablespoons milk (glaze)

1 teaspoon vanilla (glaze)

Place pizza crust on baking sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open pie filling and dice it up a bit while it is inside the can. Spread over pizza crust.

In small bowl, place flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cut margarine into slices and place in bowl. Using a long tined fork, cut margarine into mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of pie filling in pizza and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Top with glaze, below.

Place all glaze ingredients in small bowl, stir until smooth. Add a smidge more milk if mixture is too thick, more sugar if it is too thin. Drizzle over apple doozie with spoon.

*To use fresh apples. Peel and chop two to three cups apples. Saute in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Add a few tablespoons sugar if you like but keep them a bit tart because the topping adds a lot of sweetness. Continue with recipe.

Amount per serving: Calories, 512; fat, 26.7g; cholesterol, 31mg

Delores’ apple cake

This is a recipe printed in an old cookbook loaned to me by a reader several years ago. She recommended this recipe, so I tried it. It was the best apple cake I had ever tasted. It was well-received by the readers, as well. We have had several requests to rerun the recipe over the years, so It has become a sweet tradition to reprint it every few years.

Beat 3 eggs until thick and lemon-colored.

Add:

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegetable oil

2 apples, sliced and unpeeled

1/3 cup nuts

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

NOTE FROM GRACE: I tried this cake two ways. The recipe does not say what size pan to bake it in, so I used a 9-by-13-inch for one, and I sliced the apples with the peel on, just as the recipe says. When the cake was done, I sprinkled it lightly with powdered sugar.

Then I baked another in a bundt pan. I doubt if they had bundt pans in that era, but I don’t know. For this one, I peeled the apples and chopped them into about half-inch pieces. I sprinkled the cake lightly with a cinnamon/granulated sugar mixture after it was done.

On both cakes, I beat everything with the mixer before folding in the apples and nuts.

The batter will be thick, since you can see it has no liquid except the oil.

My cakes did not have to bake the full hour. The bundt cake was done in about 50 minutes and the 9-by-13 in about 40 minutes. 

I liked the bundt pan cake the best; it seemed to be more tender and I liked the apples cut smaller and peeled. And bundt cakes are so pretty!

The 9-by-13 cake with the unpeeled apple slices was more like a thick apple crisp, still very good, especially while it was warm, and would have been even better with a scoop of ice cream. My daughter liked this one best.

I have no idea who Delores is or was, but her cake, both ways, is one of the best I have ever eaten – soft and very tender with a kind of crusty edge and a strong cinnamon taste, with just the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

I really would encourage you to try this cake. I did not even have to go to the store because the ingredients are all things we usually have in our kitchens. 

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