Butterscotch Apple Crisp

Autumn is my favorite season by far, though I do enjoy it when the cold, bitter of winter gives way to warmth, new buds and flowers. Early in the season I start to get cravings for all things Autumn-y, like Apple pie and Beef stew. After making a large apple pie with the peck of mixed apples from the farm I knew that I wanted to do something different, and could not find the right crisp recipe to satisfy me. I love oatmeal in crumb toppings, I really do, however I just wanted a non-oatmeal basic topping. So I turned to a recipe in the Farm Journal Pie cookbook that I have been wanting to try, and I made my own crisp twist on it. This would be yummy in pie form, too, or with more seasoning. I just wanted the apple-y taste to shine through without the often-overpowering taste of cinnamon to dilute it. 

Butterscotch Apple Crisp

6-7 large apples

6 oz. butterscotch chips

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 C. all-purpose flour

3/4 C. brown sugar

1/2 C. butter, cold and cut into slices

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Peel, core, and slice apples into very thin slices. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice and butterscotch chips. 
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour and sugar until thoroughly mixed. Cut in the cold butter pieces, working with a pastry blender or fingers to combine until the mixture is coarse crumbles.
  • Put the apples into a buttered 11 by 7 pan, or whatever size pan works best, and completely cover with crumble mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crisp is golden brown and bubbly. 

Adapted from the Farm Journal Pie cookbook. 

Advertisements

Apple Cranberry Pie

I have formed a repertoire of pies that I love to make. I will always continue to make those pies, but lately I have started to feel experimental, wanting to expand the number of delicious pies that I make. So after perusing Farm Journals Complete Pie Cookbook I found a recipe for Apple Cranberry pie that sounded so good. I find myself becoming more adept at adjusting recipes to my liking or adding things I like from one recipe to another. Here is my adaptation of this tart pie recipe. The recipe that I was using was actually from the section on Freezer pie fillings, so this filling (without the lemon juice, and with melted butter mixed in, instead of butter pieces) could be made up and frozen when the apples you love are fresh and eaten a few months afterwards. I love freezing pie fillings and using them easily whenever I feel like a fresh pie. This pie is seriously amazing! I am not sure how often I will now make an Apple pie without Cranberries. It is sweet and tart inside a flaky crust, what could be more wonderful? 

Apple Cranberry Pie

Double Pie Crust

4-5 C. apples, sliced (This time I used Jonagold and Macintosh)

2 C. fresh cranberries

1-2 tsp. lemon juice

1 C. granulated sugar

3/4 C. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

sprinkling of nutmeg

2 Tbs. cold butter

  • Combine all ingredients and add to the bottom crust.
  • Put butter sporadically on top, covering the whole pie.
  • Place top crust on top, and cut slits or a design (I like to make an apple) for the steam to escape and plan on the juices dripping out and burning. Putting the pie on a baking sheet with small, raised edges kept all those juices from spilling onto the bottom of the oven.
  • Bake at 425° for an hour, or until the crust is beautifully browned and the juices are bubbling.

Thanksgiving in September

Thanksgiving foods are good all year round, not just during the end of November. My husband spotted turkey pieces, drumsticks and thighs, and we got a big hankering for a Thanksgiving-style dinner. Any time I eat Turkey with a variety of trimmings I always think of Thanksgiving ’08, when I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter. I was adamant that I should get my Turkey dinner first and then she was free to be born. My father did not think that I knew that she would be a Turkey Day baby, but I did, even though her official due date was Dec. 3. Due to my family’s work schedule we planned to have them come down to visit and we would have the dinner on Friday instead of Thursday. We toiled and made the full, delicious dinner, including my cranberry sauce (from scratch). The dinner was fantastic, and my pies were great as usual, and almost as soon as dinner was over my contractions started. I knew when she was going to come, though I would have preferred that she come sooner than 30+ hours into labor, but I loved having Thanksgiving leftovers brought to me while I was staying in the hospital.

The Turkey pieces

My husband put these into the crock pot, with a can of chicken broth, salt, pepper, and a good amount of Bay seasoning. Absolutely essential for cooking with poultry. It is the best compliment to the meat that exists. The turkey was cooked on high for 30 minutes to get it hot and then low for 6-7 hours, until it just falls off the bone. I love using my crock pot to cook chicken and turkey. They would be delicious in the oven, too, but I always worry about poultry being cooked all the way, and I can rest assured that the meat is completely cooked, while still being juicy and tender.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Southern Living is my constant guide and muse in the kitchen. I love Sweet Potato Casserole and I finally found my favorite version of this simple classic. Growing up my father was the only one in the family who really enjoyed sweet potatoes. I remember eating them a little bit, but my mother does not like them. So every year she dutifully makes him a basic sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. As an adult I grew to love sweet potatoes. They are a healthy vegetable, and a sweet taste to add to many meals. Sweet potato fries have also grown high onto my list of side dishes I adore. Though I have so far omitted to try out the Cornflake cereal topping, the base of this recipe is easy and delicious. The trick to getting it nice and creamy is to beat the heck out of it in the Kitchen Aid mixer. Have I mentioned before that I love my Kitchen Aid?

Apple Crisp

‘Tis the season to eat apples. Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! Now that the beautiful Fall weather is starting up, and that nip is in the air, it is definitely time to eat lots of apple dishes. We picked up the sweet potato, yes- a singular 2 1/4 lb. sweet potato, and I got apples for Apple Crisp. A friend had posted on Facebook that she had gone apple picking and was making lots of dishes, including this recipe for Apple Crisp, and being pregnant and hungry all the time I got a craving for it. I picked out the Early Mac and Ginger Gold apples for my crisp, and have enough that if this batch gets finished up quickly I might choose to make a 2nd crisp.

Apple Crisp

4 cups sliced apples

1 TBSP lemon juice

Place the apples in a greased, shallow pan. Sprinkle lemon juice on top.

For the crumb topping, mix:

1/2 C. flour,

1 1/2 C. oats,

3/4 C. brown sugar,

1/2 tsp. salt,

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon,

1/2 cup melted butter.

Sprinkle crumb mix over apples. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

  • I changed the salt from 3/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. I found it slightly salty in flavor, though maybe that’s just my pregnancy hormones. I also cooked it longer than 30 minutes. I cooked mine until the apples were fork tender, and it spent about 45 minutes in the oven, though I did check it regularly to make sure my crumb topping was not burning. It definitely needs to be eaten with either heavy cream or vanilla ice cream. It is yummy, but missing that creamy element in and of itself. 

Applesauce

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.” — Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples 

Did you ever stand in front of the apple aisle with your eyes gleaming, your mind racing to imagine all the wonderful dishes that these beautiful fruits could create? An untouched apple is pure gold in the eyes of a cook who loves Autumnal dishes as much as I do. These virgin fruit can become pies, applesauces, and bread. The smell of apples cooking is like smelling golden Fall leaves raked into heaping piles in the yard, of the slight frosty nip in the air, of a warm beloved sweater.

I made the most delicious applesauce yesterday. The best part about cooking in the crock pot is that the smell permeates the house and it makes me wish it was cooked that much faster. We have an agricultural college in the town I grew up in and they have a beautiful marketplace filled with local foods. I love finding new kinds of apples and I bought 3 Ginger Gold apples and 3 Sunrise apples. The Sunrise apples are wonderfully mushy and are perfect for cooking down into applesauce. I added 1/2 C. of dark brown sugar (I rarely use light brown sugar), and a good sprinkling of lemon juice from the bottle. Put on high for a few hours in the crock pot and then I mushed it up with a potato masher, and ate it with delight. You can add Cinnamon or Nutmeg as you see fit. 

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Below is an email that I wrote and sent to my family with the recipe for this amazing Apple Butter I made in the crock pot. I LOVE my crock pot. We actually did not get a single crock pot for our wedding, so we traded in a drill (since we already had one) and bought a wonderful crock pot. I even make a Caramel Apple Oatmeal (yet another Southern Living recipe) in there. Fantastic. I wanted to post about the Apple Butter today since I opened a jar I had made last October because we made biscuits to go with our eggs and old-fashioned grits for lunch. Since it is difficult to purchase White Lily flour outside of the south (though we could find it at the Pay Less in West Lafayette, IN) I just made my own self-rising flour. Add 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder (aluminum free!) and 1/2 tsp. Salt for every Cup of flour. It should be noted that White Lily flour is the quintessential southern flour, and I was taught very well by Joseph’s southern mama (his sister’s MIL) how to make real southern biscuits and fried chicken.

As a note, I LOVE my hand held blender. What Emeril always calls his “boat motor”. I just stick the hand blender into the crock pot directly and blend the Apple Butter. It is so much easier, and it doesn’t scratch my crock pot, and I don’t have to process it in batches. That would take forever. It should also be noted that my dear husband does most of the peeling and chopping of the apples for me, since I admittedly have weak hands, and no apple peeler/corer. Birthday or Christmas present, please?

I made the MOST delicious apple butter with the fabulous help of my wonderful husband. This is the crock pot recipe that I used, and the single batch completely filled my crock pot, but it was delicious. I filled 5 12 oz. quilted crystal jars, with some left-over for me and Isabella to snack on (complete with apple butter mustaches). I used 3 lbs. of Honeycrisp, 2 lbs. of Suncrisp, and 1 lb. of Courtland apples. I look forward to trying different combos of apples, and I had never had the Suncrisp before and they work really well in the apple butter. It is by far the best apple butter I have ever eaten, and I made it myself! Having never canned anything before I am feeling proud of my domestic prowess.

6 pounds of apples. After weighing, peel, core and chop them (It’s tastiest if you use a few different kinds of sweet apples, like Gala, Fuji, Braeburn or the Delicious varieties)

4 cups of sugar (you could probably use less)

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt.

Mix the dry ingredients then pour over the apples and toss. Cook in a crockpot on high for an hour and then on low for 10 hours. Remove the lid and cook for another hour.

At this point, you can put it through a food processor or blender (as we did) to make it extra smooth. Just do it in very small batches. It will be really hot and could burn you. It does some kind of crazy weird expanding trick in the blender when it’s hot, so I only fill it half full and blend it on the lowest possible setting. I don’t even push the button all the way in. I just sort of pulse it.

Spoon into clean jars (leaving about a half inch headroom), put the lids on and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Ours was gently boiling.

If you want to skip the hot water bath, you can just freeze your jars (plain old jars have worked just fine in the freezer for us – just let them cool to room temperature before putting them in the freezer). We tried freezing with one of our jars of apple butter, just to see if it would alter the texture once it was frozen and then defrosted. Nope, no difference. It worked great!

I would love to give credit to the website that I was given as a recommendation for amazing homemade Apple Butter, but I can’t seem to find the page. I will add the info if I can find it.