Apples have never been my favourite fruit to bake with. I prefer a cold, hard, crunchy apple that I can bite into. Or, a sliced apple paired with some sort of nut butter. Perfection.
Adam however demands an apple pie for almost every holiday, even his birthday. Yesterday he was my super hero for picking up, fixing and returning my broken down car while I was at work. So I figured I owed him one.
And yes – baking an apple pie does make us even for him fixing my car in boyfriend/girlfriend world. Right? Well, I’m sure I’ll be owing him many more apple pies. But for now, he has this.
He was home before me yesterday, since he had to deal with my car he worked from home in the afternoon. And when I got home he requested an apple pie OR if that was too much effort (ha) something of equal deliciousness with apple and pastry.
I settled for the later, since an apple pie requires the dough to be made and chilled in advance. I searched online for about 5 minutes to find an equally pleasing recipe since I really didn’t have any apple recipes on hand. I found two, and decided to make both since we had a large bag of apple leftover from the Roasted Butternut Squash Carrot Apple Soup I had just made.
I really don’t know why it took me so long to make baked apples. They’re simple, they’re delicious, and if you make them my way they really aren’t all that bad for you. To be honest, you could make this for breakfast.
The thought of a baked apple just wasn’t appealing to me – I don’t like mealy, mushy, soft apples, that is, until I made them. Even without the butter and heaps of sugar it still caramelized and tasted like apple heaven.
This is definitely a Fall dessert. It’s warm and comforting for the cold dark rainy days, healthy, and apples are in season. And a perfect thanks-for-everything-you-do dessert.
I used both granny smith apples and BC Gala apples - both were delicious. I made the filling with whatever I had on hand which happened to be oats, coconut, raisins and almonds. You can really use any kind of nut like pecan or walnut too, and even use dried cranberries.
Be sure to serve them warm from the oven, and if you want a real treat maybe serve it with some banana ice cream.
- Handful of nuts, chopped (Almond, Walnut or Pecan)
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 Tbs. unsweetened coconut
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 2 Tbs. oil (canola or coconut)
- 5 medium tart apples such as Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, Jazz
- 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a medium bowl, combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, raisins and oats. Add oil and toss to combine.
- Peel the top third of each apple and, using a melon baller, scoop out the stem and enough of the core so that the walls of the apple are about 1/2 inch thick. Take care not to break through the bottom of the apple. Make the hole a bit wider at the top.
- Stuff each apple generously using a small spoon or your fingers; mound extra filling on top.
- Put the filled apples in a glass/ceramic baking dish. Pour apple juice/cider into the pan around the apples, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake, basting using a spoon every 15 minutes, for an additional 30 minutes, or until apples are easily pierced with a sharp knife (they may split open a bit at the bottom).
- Serve apples drizzled with the sauce from the pan.
- Store any leftover apples in the fridge, heat for one minute.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Apparently February is Apple Month. BC Tree Fruits created this event as a way to encourage us to support local growers, orginiating in the Okanagan. The event began back in 1960 and has been celebrated every February since. It is also BC Tree Fruits 75th Anniversary of the Okganagan orginization. I’m lucky to be able to visit the Okanagan every year and vacation in Osoyoos, and have written about my love for local produce and fruit grown in the interior here
Apples are not only delicious, they are healthy. I like to pretend desserts such as Apple Pie are a ‘healthier’ choice, because it contains fruit. Of course eating an apple on it’s own is healthier, and can be just as satisfying.
My personal favourites are Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Royal Gala. I love a crunchy apple, and prefer them straight from the fridge. Of course most often you will find Granny Smith in baking due to their tart taste and hard texture, which become softer and sweet once baked. Perfect in pies and other desserts.
You can celebrate Apple Month by buying local BC Apples from your grocer or local food market.
Also, some tips when it comes to Apples:
- If you can, buy local, and/or organic
- Always wash apples thoroughly before enjoying as many apples are sprayed with pesticides, or peel the skin for baking.
- Store in refrigerator crisper at a low temperature and high humidity. ( From the BC Tree Website)
- As apples emit ethylene, a naturally occuring gas that encourages ripening, keep them in a plastic bag to prevent them from speeding up ripening of other produce items. ( From the BC Tree Website)
- Apples are easier to peel when they’re cold (but keep in mind, most of the fruit’s remarkable nutritional value is found in the skin). ( From the BC Tree Website)
- Wait before washing. Don’t wash your fruit until you’re about to eat it. Washing strips away some of the skin’s natural protection. Soap is not recommended for washing your fruit, just clean running water. Scrub it with your hands or a soft brush ( From the BC Tree Website)
Here are some of my favourite recipes including Apples that I’ve made in the past:
This Rustic Spiced Apple cake is perfect for an afternoon tea. It is dense without being overly sweet and rich. The apple are dusted with cinnamon and placed on top of the dough like a dimply cake. Perfect on its own and is one of my favourites // Recipe Here
This Skillet Apple cake is rich in flavour with a crumb crust. Studded with chopped Apples and topped with Apple slices // Recipe Here
An Italian dessert an Apple Crostata differs from an Apple pie in that it is baked free form, not in a pie dish. There is also the addition of egg as well as lots of sugar in the dough, which makes it denser and richer than pie crust. But just as tender. You can also make smalled individual Crostata’s // Recipe Here
You can’t talk about Apple Desserts without mentioning the most famous one. Traditional Apple Pie. A lightly sweetened cinnamon sugar Apple filling tucked between no-fail flakey buttery crust. Perfect on its own, or à la mode // Recipe for Pie Dough and Filling Here
Adam and I are lucky to live in the same condo building as our friends. It sometimes feels as if we are living in a FRIENDS episode, bumping into them in the hallways and elevator, borrowing clothing, ingredients, pots and pans when needed and other miscellanious items such as muffin liners, glue guns, and staplers etc. It’s nice to know if you run out of something, or need to run out quickly someone is home to watch a little one, like we have done for our friends with a toddler. We’ve even relieved them of the little guy when they aren’t feeling well, taking the baby and the dogs out for a walk so they can get some rest. It’s nice to know people in the building, other than just a neighbor whom you pass by in the hallway with a nod. One of our friends lives only a few doors down, while the other live on the opposite side of the building. We get together for dinners as often as possible, knowing its only a short commute between houses, without worrying who is driving or what the weather outside looks like. It’s also nice that one of them is a Vancouver Police Officer, so if anything happens I know where to go! Haha. I was originally going to make another type of apple cake, to bring to Adam’s parents, that required eggs. Having only one egg left, and not wanting to get dressed to go to the store, I called our friend to borrow an egg. We were all still in our PJs. Afterwards, I found this recipe which I wanted to try instead, and of course, it did not require any eggs. Bonus for me, since I have a slight allergy.
Later that afternoon, we were waiting to go to dinner when all of a sudden the fire alarm in our building began to go off. We have had problems in the past of pipes bursting after cold weather, as they did last winter. Again, knowing people in the building really pays off, as our friends apartment was unfortunately flooded with water when the pipe burst, and luckily I was home along with our other friend who had a key to their place, and we were able to get in and try to control the water damage before the Firefighters got there. We figured this was the same instance, and got our jackets on to go outside and wait. However, when we entered our hallway we smelled smoke. This was an actual fire. Other neighbours told us there was a lot of smoke at the end of the hallway, and to call 911. We went back in, grabbed a couple items, like my computer (my life!) and went outside. Our friend, the police officer, was waiting for us to look after the little guy, so he could go inside and see what was happening, as his wife had just gone to the store when it happened. Our other friend had to wrangle their two cats into a carrier, much to their dismay, but humorous for us watching them trying to push their way out of it, met us outside. Luckily it was not a large fire, but rather someone had not watched a pot on the stove that caused it to smoke and sound the alarm in their apartment, to which they did not turn off, and then it caused the entire buildings fire alarm to set off. There was quite a lot of smoke, but luckily no one was hurt and no further damage was caused.
We went back in, got dressed and left for dinner, apple cake in hand. Adam is part of the strata committe, and had to attend a scheduled meeting that night. I’m sure they had more to talk about after the ‘fire’ incident. I sent the rest of the cake down with him to share with the other members. Another reason you should get to know your neighbours – they might bake you something!
This cake is subtley sweet, studded with tart chopped apples. You can bake it in a skillet, I decided to finally break mine in. Or, bake it in a cake dish, 8” or 9”.
Unfortunately I don’t think I can use our skillet for cooking on our stove, as we have a glass top stove and I’ve read some stories online of the cast iron causing it to break and crack. So, for now it will only be used in the oven.
Slighlty adapted from: Joy Of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition
You will need:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk, with a squirt of lemon)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 medium green or tart apples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly season/grease your cast iron skillet. Alternatively, you can use an 8 or 9” cake pan.
Cut apples into segments, chopping up into smaller pieces, reserving some slices, leaving the peel on.
Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl thoroughly to remove any large lumps.
Add, the milk, oil and vanilla.
Add the chopped apples and mix until incorporated into the batter.
Scrape the batter into your prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. Arrange reserved apples slices ontop of batter in a pattern.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on the counter on a cooling rack.
Once cooled, you can sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or maybe a scoop of ice cream.
This would also be good with a crumb topping, a mixture of brown sugar and buter with oats.