Still happy to cheer Sheila Connolly on for the release of her umpteenth, and always awesome, Apple Orchard mystery, Golden Malicious. And while she is the undisputed Queen of apple recipes, we thought we add our own favorites to the mix.
Jessie: My absolute favorite way to consume apples is as cider. My family owns an antique cider press and every fall we host a cidering party. Friends and family gather for a potluck, pie contest and cider making extravaganza. We purchase a crate of apples from a local orchard and everyone, from the little children to the seasoned adults, takes a turn cranking and pressing. The apples go through the grinder and then fall into a slat sided bucket of sorts. That bucket gets slid under the press contraption and the ground up apples get pressed down hard so the juice runs out the bottom and spills into a catch basin. By the end of the day we have 50 to 60 gallons of cider and a lot of fond memories. If you’d like to try making cider with your own friends Happy Valley Ranch sells a nice assortment. Or you could try your hand at making one yourself.
Liz: Exploring wheat, gluten and dairy free “fun” foods has been interesting, but my favorite so far is applesauce quick bread. Preheat oven to 350, combine 5 and 1/2 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter spread with 1 cup of rice flour. Add 3/4 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon baking power, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon xantham gum, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour into an 8″ baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes. It’s delightful – light, airy, cake-like texture.
Edith: I needed an apple cake with almonds for an important scene in Farmed and Dangerous. I found this one and it sounds perfect (although I confess I haven’t baked it yet because my kitchen is a construction zone at present!).
2 medium gala, pink lady, or fuji apples, thinly sliced; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 1/2 c flour; 1 T baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 4 large eggs; 1/2 c butter, softened; 1 1/3 c brown sugar; 1/2 c milk; 1/2 c slivered almonds; 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss the sliced apples with the two tsp cinnamon and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add in half the flour, then the milk, then the remaining flour. Butter and flour a springform pan. Pour half the batter in the prepared pan, layer all the apples evenly over the batter, and top with the remaining batter. In a small bowl, combine the slivered almonds and the remaining cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the cake. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Julie: I make a mean apple pie from a recipe taught to me by my grandmother. Her secret was “overspicing”. 1 T of cinnamon, 1 t nutmeg. Delish. I don’t wait for the holidays to make my apple pie, so by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I am looking for something a bit different. A few years ago I stumbled upon this Martha Stewart recipe for an Autumn Harvest Pie. Pears, apples, and cranberries in a rustic crust. So, so good. One note–make sure you cook it for a good, long time. Uncooked crust on the botttom–not so great.
Sherry: I love tossing Fuji apples in my salads. I chop the apples into bite size pieces and toss it with lettuce, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, blue cheese and drizzle it with a bit of champagne vinaigrette.
Barb: I love cooking with apples, too. Every fall we have a bunch of homemade apple sauce in the fridge. Here’s my favorite recipe.
8 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Bring the apples and liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until apples are soft. Remove pan from heat and stir in spices. Mash apples with fork or potato masher.
Readers: What’s your favorite apple recipe? And what’s your favorite apple variety?
Agatha Award -winning author Edith Maxwell writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Beyond the Page) and short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries series and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries (both from Kensington Publishing). She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook.
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