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, the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, and the Cece Barton Mysteries (all from Kensington Publishing). She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and cat Martin, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook.
View all posts by Edith Maxwell
I love apple crisp, and there’s always homemade applesauce in the fridge in the fall.
Apple crisp is the best. And so easy.
Why a spring form pan for your Apple Cake, Edith?
I don’t know! It was part of the recipe. Maybe so you can see the apple layer in the middle, not sure. You could probably do it in a square pan or a bundt or anything.
Hi, Edith—sorry I’m late! My favorite apple recipe is Calvados Walnut Upside-Down Cake.
Calvados Walnut Upside-Down Cake: With Caramel Sauce
• 3 to 4 Green Apples (about 1 1/2 lbs)
• 1 1/2 Sticks (3/4 C) Butter
• 2/3 C. Sugar
• 1/2 C. Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
• 1/2 Green Apple
• 1 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour
• 1 1/2 t. Baking Powder
• 3/4 t. Salt
• 1/2 t. Cinnamon
• 1 Stick (1/2 C.) Butter, Softened
• 2/3 C. Sugar
• 1 T. Calvados Brandy
• 2 T. minced peeled fresh ginger
• 2 Large Eggs
• 1/2 C. Sour Cream
For Calvados Caramel Sauce:
• 1 1/2 C. sugar
• 1/2 C. water
• 3 T. Calvados Brandy
• 2 T. Butter
1. Peel, core, and quarter apples.
2. In cast iron skillet: Melt butter slowly to keep from separating.
3. Stir in sugar, combining well.
4. Arrange apple quarters decoratively, cut sides up, in skillet and sprinkle walnuts evenly in between apples.
5. Cook mixture, undisturbed, 25 to 35 minutes, or until apples are tender in centers and sugar is a golden caramel.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make cake batter while topping is cooking:
1. Peel apple and chop fine.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
3. In separate bowl: Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in Calvados brandy and ginger.
5. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Beat in sour cream.
7. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined.
8. Fold chopped apple into batter.
9. Remove skillet from heat and spoon batter evenly over topping.
10. Spread batter with metal spatula (being careful not to disturb topping), leaving a 1/4-inch border of cooked apples uncovered.
11. Put skillet in a shallow baking pan and bake cake in middle of oven 25 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering and cake is golden brown.
12. Cool cake in skillet on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet and carefully invert cake onto a plate.
13. Serve cake warm or at room temperature with caramel sauce.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can’t make this, and you’re probably not from around here.
Delicious. And I happen to have a cast-iron skillet!
Hey, I’m having trouble finding an email address for Liz. Can you email me back to ask you a question?
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