Category Archives: apple

Apple Pie

Apple PieI’ve somehow blogged my way through five Thanksgivings without ever posting an apple pie. There was one Cranberry Apple Pie that got a little toasty on top, a couple of apple cakes, some shortbread bars and even Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls, but a mile-high, nicely spiced Apple Pie has never made it into my Thanksgiving Recipe line-up until right now. I think it was worth the wait.Apple PieI kind of feel like I should preface this recipe by saying that I know there are a million and a half apple pie recipes and that this is nothing revolutionary, but

  1. screw that.
  2. when is homemade apple pie anything other than revolutionary?Apple Pie

I mean, look at this golden, lattice-domed thing! It’s stuffed to the gills—there are 4.5 pounds of apples in there! They’re a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp, so there are a variety of flavors and textures, but they are all delicious baked between two layers of All-Butter Pie Dough.Apple PieApple PieIn terms of flavoring, there’s all sorts of good stuff in here. The apples are tossed in a mixture of granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar before being left to macerate (sit and release liquid) for an hour. After that, a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is stirred in, along with some cornstarch for thickening and salt for balance. Mmhmm.Apple PieApple PieThe filling—accumulated liquid and all—is piled high into a pie crust before being topped with another crust. I went for a classic lattice and a couple of braids here, but feel free to do a whole top crust (make sure to cut some vents!) or whatever makes you happy. Then brush that thing with egg wash, sprinkle it with coarse sugar and bake the crap out of it.Apple PieApple PieWhen you read through this recipe, you’ll notice that there are a lot of pauses and chills and that this pie bakes for more than an hour. Pie takes time, y’all. There’s no way around it. If I wrote a chill in there, it’s because I think it’s important. I don’t want to put anymore time between you (or me!) and that first slice than absolutely necessary.Apple PieAs for baking, this pie is a bit of a diva, but aren’t they all?! In apple pie’s case, you’ll need to preheat a rimmed baking sheet when you heat the oven. This serves two purposes: protecting your oven floor from overflow and helping ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t wind up completely raw. Also, this pie starts baking at 400F for fifteen minutes and finishes at 375F for 50-60 more. It’s a long time, but this is a big pie! Try to be patient, and don’t forget to tent with foil as necessary. You want that golden top!Apple PieApple PieI promise all this work will be worth it when you slice this thing up. Homemade apple pie always is.Apple Pie

Apple Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Filling:
10 medium baking apples or about 4.5 lbs (I used a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Pie Crust:
1 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good double crust recipe, divided

Egg Wash & Garnish:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar

Prepare the apples. Peel and core apples and slice in 1/8-inch slices. Place pieces in a large mixing bowl and toss with vinegar, sugar, and brown sugar. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally, so they can release some liquid.

Prepare the bottom crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Fit it in a pie plate, trim any overhang to 1-inch. Crimp as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Prepare the top crust. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of pie dough out to a 14-inch diameter. Slice in strips or carefully fold in quarters (depending what kind of top crust you’d like), wrap loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

Once the apples’ time has elapsed, add cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, and toss to combine. Transfer filling (including all accumulated liquid) to prepared bottom crust. Use refrigerated prepared top crust to either create a lattice or cover completely and cut a few vents. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Place a rimmed baking sheet on that rack. Preheat oven to 400F.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Use a pastry brush mixture over all exposed crust. Sprinkle coarse sugar over the top.

Bake the pie. Place pie on hot baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake another 50-60 minutes until crust is golden and fruit is cooked but not mushy. Loosely tend with foil at the 30 minute mark, or if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Use rimmed baking sheet to remove pie from the oven. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for a minimum of 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Apple PieApple PieApple Pie

French Apple Cake

French Apple CakeIf you are looking for an apple cake with brown sugar and warming spices, this isn’t the one. (This is.)French Apple CakeIf, however, you’re looking for a buttery, almost custard-like cake with only a teaspoon of vanilla extract to distract from the flavor of tender fresh apples, you’ve come to the right blog.French Apple CakeMeet the French Apple Cake. It’s easy. It’s elegant. It’s French home-baking at its finest.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis little cake is perfect for the upcoming holidays (or just any ol’ day) because it requires minimal effort and delivers big time. Also, it requires exactly nine ingredients (ten, if you include the confectioner’s sugar) and there’s an 80% chance you have all of them already.French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThere’s no need to soften any butter either, so you can conceivably have this in the oven in under 20 minutes. You won’t even need to break out your mixer!French Apple CakeFrench Apple CakeThis beauty bakes up in about 45 minutes, and since it doesn’t require frosting or filling or anything more than a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, it only needs a 15 minute rest before you can release it from its springform and slice it up.French Apple CakeYou read all that correctly. If you crank the oven right now, you can be eating French Apple Cake in 80 minutes.French Apple CakeI’d start moving toward the kitchen, if I were you.French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

For serving (optional):
confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk for about 2 minutes, or until uniform in appearance and a bit thick. It will be grainy.

Whisk half the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, followed by half the melted butter. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and butter.

In a small mixing bowl, toss together apple chunks and lemon juice.

Add apples to cake batter and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Scatter remaining tablespoon of sugar over the top. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times before baking for 40-50 minutes, or until golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come back clean or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.French Apple CakeFrench Apple Cake

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}This year will be an unusual Thanksgiving for my family. Not only will all of us be together over the holiday, but we’re also going to be home in Fort Worth and we’re going to make the big meal ourselves. I honestly can’t remember the last time we did all that–I think I was eleven!

Since we’ll be cooking in my mom’s kitchen, she’s the lady in charge. So far, she’s requested a Butterscotch Cream Pie. Other than that, nothing’s set in stone.* None of us are particularly fond of turkey, so we’re not married to the traditional meal.

Note: I mean, there will be Artichoke Dip. It’s not the holidays without Artichoke Dip.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Now, I can live without the traditional sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce, and even the rolls. I generally don’t care for gravy, so that’s no biggie. But stuffing…well, it’s my lone non-negotiable side dish. 

I’ve already got a great stuffing recipe in the archives–the base is homemade cream biscuits! I love that recipe, but I’m going in a different direction this year. My little sister has cut gluten out of her diet over the past several months, so this year, I’m using my accidentally-gluten-free Southern-Style Cornbread as the base, and doctoring it up with apples and fennel. So freaking good, y’all.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel might be my new favorite Thanksgiving side. The southern cornbread makes for a super savory base, but the pops of sweetness from the apples and fennel keep it interesting. Adding to the flavor are all the aromatics (celery, onion, garlic) and herbs (parsley, sage, thyme) you’d expect in a stuffing, plus some vegetable stock. Oh, and butter–a whole stick. It’s holiday food, not everyday food.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}My grandmother (the one with the biscuits and Lemon Meringue Pie) made a cornbread dressing that was so dense and moist that it could be sliced into squares. (It also had hard-boiled eggs in it. 😬😫😑) This recipe has very little in common with hers. While it’s definitely moist and buttery, this stuffing cannot be sliced and requires a serving spoon. 

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}With Thanksgiving just fifteen days away, I can’t wait to share this with my family. The cornbread base gives a nod to our Texan heritage, the apples and fennel are seasonal and delicious, and it’s all gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it. Oh, and it can’t be sliced and stacked like a pyramid on a serving dish, so we’ve got something for which to be thankful.Cornbread Stuffing with Apples & Fennel {Gluten-Free}

Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel {Gluten-Free}
makes 8 servings

Southern-Style Cornbread:
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or neutral-flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and eggs in a measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Fold into dry ingredients. Fold in melted butter.

Heat an 8- or 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for at least 3 minutes. Add bacon fat and coat. Add cornbread batter. Cook for one minute before transferring to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

For the stuffing:
1 recipe Southern-Style Cornbread, cut into cubes, stale
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 medium white onion, small diced
2-3 stalks celery, small diced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and small diced
2 large baking apples, peeled and small diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Remove cornbread from the pan and slice into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread cubes onto a dry sheet pan and let sit uncovered overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13-inch casserole. Set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, fennel, apples, and garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add sage, thyme, and parsley and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth and turn the heat up to medium high. Once liquid comes to a simmer, remove pan from heat.

Transfer dry cornbread cubes to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter and add to the stuffing. Fold in an additional 1-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, depending on your taste.

Cover pan with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cornbread Stuffing with Apple & Fennel {Gluten-Free}

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Coffee CakeIt’s no secret that I don’t like Halloween. I’m ambivalent about wearing costumes and if I’m going to eat candy, I’d like for it to be full-sized.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeThat’s not to say I haven’t participated in the festivities as an adult. Just last year, my friend, VJ, showed up at my apartment with a panda costume. She was dressed as a unicorn. On our way to a party, we somehow got on the one car of the R train where literally nobody else was in costume. “So a panda and a unicorn get on the subway…”

Halloween

We went outside like this.

Long story short, I’m skipping the Halloween treats this year. If you aren’t, I recommend these, these, and these (please forgive the terrible photos on that last link).

Apple Cider Coffee CakeInstead, I’m putting my energy toward dreaming up and making excellent “company” breakfasts, i.e. the sort of dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast that is socially accepted when you have a house full of guests in November and December. Cinnamon rolls are a common choice for such occasions, but I recommend you save those for another day and make this Apple Cider Coffee Cake instead. It’s faster, doesn’t involve fiddling with yeast, and has two layers of that crunchy crumb that everyone loves.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeThe base of this coffee cake is basically a souped up muffin batter. I started with my Orange Pecan Muffin recipe and then made a few changes. I swapped the oil for butter, the yogurt for sour cream, and the milk for an apple cider reduction. Oh, and I threw in some pie spices and chunks of tart apple. Flavor all over the place, y’all.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLet’s talk about that apple cider reduction. It’s an easy way to get big flavor! This is the base of flavor in this recipe, so make sure to use quality apple cider–the refrigerated stuff, not the shelf-stable variety. Pour two cups of it into a saucepan, bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, and let it go. This will take 20-30 minutes; I recommend checking the amount every ten minutes. Once it’s at 2/3 cup, let it cool to room temperature so it doesn’t melt your butter or scramble the egg. This is a very hands-off task, but if it seems like a little too much, you can do this step a day in advance and then refrigerate the reduction until you’re ready to use it.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeApple Cider Coffee CakeEnough about batter though. Coffee cake crumb topping is where it’s at! It’s crispy, crunchy cinnamon-brown sugar magic–the perfect foil for that rich, appley cake. The crumb recipe I use here is the same one from my Cranberry Crumb Pie. It comes together super quickly and easily and…well, I’m totally crazy about it.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeTo assemble the cake, butter a springform pan and line it with parchment. If you don’t have a springform, you may bake this cake in a deep (!) 9-inch cake pan. Dividing it into two loaf pans may work too, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLayer the ingredients into the pan, starting with half the batter. Top it with half of the crumb. Then more batter, then more crumb. Bake it for nearly an hour, until the top is nice and golden.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLet the cake cool completely in the pan before releasing the springform and dusting it with confectioner’s sugar.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeInvite a friend or two over, put on a pot of coffee, and slice up the cake!

Apple Cider Coffee CakeYou are going to love the combination of rich, buttery apple cider cake and the almost meltingly-soft chunks of apple, not to mention the craggy crumb 😍 I’ve made two of these this week and I know there will be many more before 2017 is over.

Can’t. Get. Enough.Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Coffee Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Batter:
2 cups apple cider
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large tart baking apple, peeled &1/2-inch diced (I used Granny Smith)

Crumb:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Garnish:
1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Pour apple cider into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, until reduced to 2/3 cup. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Make the crumb. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in vanilla. Add butter. Use your hands (or a pastry blender) to work butter into dry ingredients until a clumpy but homogenous mixture forms. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line with parchment. Grease parchment with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg and sour cream; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in apple pieces.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Top with half the crumb. Pour in the remaining batter and sprinkle with the last of the crumb. Place full pan on a baking sheet and bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. If you’d like, invert the cake and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Apple Shortbread Bars

Apple Shortbread BarsEvery year, I get so concentrated on making pumpkin treats that I nearly forget the other flavors of fall! That’s really a shame–what’s fall without maple, pear, sweet potato, and even grape?! I have recipes highlighting each of those flavors (and even more pumpkin things!) on the docket between now and Thanksgiving, but today, I’m all about apples.

Specifically, these Apple Shortbread Bars 🍎🍎🍎

Apple Shortbread BarsThese bars are an autumnal twist on a sweet cherry treat I made this past summer. They’re basically apple pie for people who don’t have the time and energy to make apple pie…like me right now.

Apple Shortbread BarsWhile I love the process of making pie (and eating pie, duh), I rarely have the time to do so. Between making and chilling the dough, preparing the filling, baking, and cooling, pie can easily be a 4+ hour commitment. Unless it’s a holiday, or I’ve somehow curbed my procrastination 😬😬, that simply isn’t going to happen.

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Bars are very mid-week-pie-craving-friendly. From peeling and dicing the apples…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto stirring them into a perfectly-spiced filling…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto making an easy four-ingredient brown sugar shortbread…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto assembling and baking…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto cooling, and slicing…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsthese bars take just a couple of hours.

Apple Shortbread BarsYep, that’s how you get your homemade apple pie fix on a Wednesday.Apple Shortbread Bars

Apple Shortbread Bars
makes one 9-inch pan, about 9-16 bars

Filling:
2 large baking apples,* peeled and 1/2-inch diced (about 3 cups of apple chunks)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease foil with butter. Set aside.

Make apple filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine diced apples and apple cider vinegar. Fold in light brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, light brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Spoon apples over the top, leaving behind any excess liquid.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the apple layer.

Bake bars on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until browned. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let bars cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature.

Use foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into squares. Serve.

Leftover Apple Shortbread Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to four. They will soften over time.

Note:

I like to use two different varieties of apple for a more complex flavor. For these bars, I used a tart Granny Smith and a sweet Honeycrisp.

Apple Shortbread Bars