This is the month for apples - in pies, covered with a caramel sauce and nuts on a stick, in a tub of water to grab with the teeth, in applesauce for dinner or eaten right from the hand, after washing the fruit very well, of course. In my younger years, we just pulled apples off the tree, rubbed them on our shirts and started nibbling.
Ohio produces around 40 different varieties, some Ohio originals, with each possessing its own appearance, flavor and texture characteristics. The shopper needs to select the variety according to its intended use, and the Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences fact sheet gives uses for the following Ohio varieties:
-- Cameo, eaten raw or in salads.
TASTES GOOD — Carmen Rodriguez, 2-year-old daughter of Asya Kyler of Dillonvale, samples an apple of her choice. She isn’t aware yet that apples come in a variety of flavors, textures and sizes but likes the one she is eating.
-- Cortland, raw, salads, pies, baking and sauces.
-- Crispin, pies and baking.
-- Empire, raw, salads and baking.
-- Fuji, raw, salads and baking.
-- Gala, raw, salads and baking.
-- Golden delicious, raw, pies and baking.
-- Granny Smith, pies and baking.
-- Jonagold, raw, salads, pies, baking and sauces
-- Law Rome, pies, baking and sauces.
-- Lodi, baking and sauces.
-- McIntosh, baking and sauces.
-- Red delicious, raw and in salads.
-- Winesap, raw, salads and baking.
A medium raw apple, about 2 inches, is low in calories, with about 75 calories of goodness. It contains vitamin C, potassium and four grams of fiber. The pulp and skin both provide dietary fiber, which seems like a good deal for such a small piece of fruit.
If a recipe calls for a pound of apples, that's about three medium apples, and that amount will make about 1 1/2 cups applesauce.
Two pounds, 6 to 8 apples, will make a 9-inch pie. And a bushel, or 48 pounds, will make about 16 to 20 quarts of canned or frozen applesauce, an average of 2 3/4 pounds per quart.
For those not acquainted with making applesauce, peel and dice four or five cooking apples, put in saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and 2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Cook for about 30 minutes. It can be put through a strainer or in a blender to make smoother, but the chunky sauce is what is popular right now.
How about this for a crunchy toasted cheese sandwich? Thinly slice apples and cheddar cheese and place the combination between two slices of whole grain bread and grill until golden brown on both sides.
Now for dessert.
The perfect apple pie is the model of what a classic dessert has looked like for generations: A beautiful double-crusted creation with sugary cinnamon, nutmeg and a splash of lemon juice. This is the standard apple pie that has been around for centuries from Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.
Perfect Apple Pie
2 crust pie shell
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples, about 6 medium
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place one pie crust into a 9-inch, ungreased, glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom. In a large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2 to 3 inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.
Note: For those in a rush, two 21-ounce each cans of apple pie filling can be substituted for the filling. The pie will serve eight.
Marty and Bill Packer provided some sample apples from their Harrisville Orchard, along with these recipes for the Ohio State University Extension office at the Friendship Park Wine Festival. This recipe is packed with apple flavor and topped with a gooey caramel sauce. Pecans give it an extra crunch.
Marty's Praline Apple Bread
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups chopped and peeled tart apple
8-ounce container sour cream
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans
In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir together flour, baking powder, apple pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add to sour cream mixture, then beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in apples and 1/2 cup pecans. Turn into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or two small loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans and press lightly into batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Topping: In a small pan, combine 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cook and stir until boiling. Reduce heat and boil gently for 1 minute. Remove bread from pan. Drizzle top with cooked topping and cool.
This is a recipe from the prized and autographed cookbook that I received from Helen McDiffit. She accomplished what has been on my bucket list for many years - a family recipe book. I feel like she is part of my family and would ask her for a contribution to mine. This baked apple recipe sounded yummy and different.
6 medium Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
Peel apples and remove cores, using an apple corer. Arrange apples in a buttered 9-by- 12-inch baking dish. Combine the flour with the sugar and cinnamon; add butter and crumble together until well blended. Use this mixture to fill the cavities and enough to spread over the top of each apple. Combine the orange juice with the water and pour into the baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until apples are tender. Baste several times during baking. Serve warm with sauce from the dish spooned over the apples.
This is another recipe from Helen McDiffitt. You don't have to make a pie crust recipe for these easy apple dumplings.
Easy Apple Dumplings
1 tube of 10 refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
5 medium apples, peeled, cored and halved
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Flatten biscuits with hand. Wrap a biscuit around an apple half. Place seam side down into greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over dumplings. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender.
Mollie McConnell sells peaches, corn, pumpkins and raspberries from their farm outside of Richmond. She contributed a recipe for a country cobbler to the Ohio State University Extension, and I will print it using apples as the fruit of choice, but any fresh fruit can be used.
Mollie's Country Cobbler
1 cup butter
3 teaspoons baking powder
Fruit of choice (I will say 3 or 4 cups of thinly sliced apples.)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Combine butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk. It mentions to do the mixing within the baking pan and put the sliced apples on top of the batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
You've heard of pineapple upside down cake, but have you heard of an upside down apple pie? This one is from Pillsbury and has a tasty brown sugar sauce and pecans on top.
Topsy-Turvy Apple Pie
Glaze and crust:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 pie crusts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples, 4 medium
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a 9-inch glass pie plate, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Spread evenly in bottom of pie plate. Arrange pecans over mixture. Place a rolled-out pie crust over mixture in pan. In small bowl, mix granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon. Arrange half of apple slices in crust-lined pie plate. Sprinkle with half of sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining apple slices and sugar mixture. Top with second crust. Seal edges and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust. Place pie on a baking sheet covered with foil on middle oven rack. Bake 8 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or longer until apples are tender, and crust is golden brown. Immediately run knife around edge of pie to loosen. Place serving plate upside down over pie. Turn serving plate and pie plate over. Remove pie plate. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream. Makes eight servings.
(McCoy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)