I love fall!!! I love the crisp cool air, the warm soups, and the apples!! I really love the apples. So today I want to talk about apples. Did you know that apples are part of the rose family of plants? They originated in Asia and were brought to the US by early settlers. In ancient stories and mythology apples often gets a bad rep. It is considered the “forbidden fruit”. Now you may be thinking “Of course it’s forbidden, it’s the fruit from Adam and Eve.” Actually it is Assumed that Adam and Eve ate an apple. The Bible never mentions what type of fruit they ate. Really, it doesn’t. Seriously look it up, I’ll wait. . . . . . . told ya!
Apples are a staple of fall. Yes, you can get them year round, but getting something in season is always better. Today I want to make apple filling, apple cake, and rice pudding. But first let’s talk about coring apples. If you are like me you have one of those fancy schmancy apple corers. I have one and I have tried to use it, but it never works quite right for me. Sometimes it doesn’t get all of the core, sometimes it kills the apple and sometimes I struggle to get the thing pushed down the whole way. Using a corer always takes me longer than using a knife. So for anyone out there who is like me “Apple Corer Challenged” ACC for short. Here is how I core apples in three easy steps.
1.With the apple standing up, (peel your apples ﬁrst if
the recipe call for it.) place your knife about 1/2”
away from the stem. Cut away “half” of the apple.
2.Spin the apple around and do the same thing on the
other side. Again your knife should be about 1/2”
away from the stem.
3.You should now have two end pieces. Cut them
both always keeping your knife 1/2” from the stem.
This is by far the easiest way that I have found. This method is also the fastest way when you are cutting a lot of fruit. Now that we have gotten our apples prepped, let’s bake!!
Apple Pie Filling
6 Firm tart baking apples
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbs Corn Starch
Spices (When adding spices to an apple ﬁlling do it to your personal taste preferences. I like mine a little spicy these are the amounts I add. Make sure you adjust to your own taste.)
1 TBS Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
Pinch of salt
1. Combine the apple juice, 1/2 cup sugar and the butter in a sauce pan and heat until melted. Add the apples and cook until fruit is tender.
2. Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with the cornstarch. Stir into the fruit mixture, then cook until thickened.
I use this ﬁlling everywhere. In my oatmeal, my yogurt, on a slice of pound cake, and as a topping for ice cream or rice pudding. Oh yeah, you can also use this ﬁlling for apple pie!
One of my favorite fall/winter treats is rice pudding. Rice pudding is delicious!! And if your only memories of rice pudding is something from the deli case or that mess they served in your school cafeteria, please try it again. Rice pudding can be served warm or cold, try both ways if you are reacquainting yourself with rice pudding. I prefer my rice pudding warm. This recipe reheats nicely. Rice pudding is easy to make but it does have a long cooking time. The good news is you don’t have to baby sit it while it cooks. Stir it every 10 -15 minutes and it is ﬁne.
Cinnamon Rice Pudding
1/2 cup Arborio Rice (Arborio is the starchy short grain rice that is used in risotto. Yes, you can use regular rice but the pudding won’t be as thick and creamy)
3 cups Milk
1 cup Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla
2 Cinnamon sticks (You want to use the actual sticks not ground cinnamon. Check in the back of your spice cabinet, everyone has cinnamon sticks hidden back there.)
1. But everything in a pot, stir and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat (very low) and let mix simmer stirring every 10 -15 minutes, for about an hour to an hour and a half. The whole house should smell amazing and the rice should be tender. Eat the pudding as is, top with the apple ﬁlling. Just enjoy and welcome back to the wonderful world of rice pudding.
One of my other favorite fall things is lazy mornings and slow afternoons. I love to snuggle up with a warm drink, a piece of cake and a good book. I make this apple cake in advance. It freezes well, not that there is a lot left to freeze.
Apple Bundt Cake
3 cups Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Oil (veggie or canola, never tried olive oil. If you try it let me know how it works)
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 Tbs Vanilla
3 cups Apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1 Tbs Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ginger (optional)
1. Beat both sugars, oil, o.j., vanilla and the eggs until smooth.
2. In separate bowl combine ﬂour, powder, and salt.
3. Mix dry ingredients into wet batter.
4. In another separate bowl (I know it’s a lot of bowls, but trust me it’s worth it)
combine the apples, sugar and spices.
5. Fold the apple mix into the batter and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes to an hour.
I usually sprinkle this cake with a combo of cinnamon and powered sugar and voila!