The hard-to-resist apple: Go ahead and be tempted

By Suzanne Boyle News-DemocratSeptember 23, 2013 

No doubt for autumn, apples are top of the culinary popularity list.

They suit a multitude of cooking styles, though most home cooks concentrate on using apples in dessert.

And there seem to be as many recipes as there are apple varieties.

Beginners will enjoy the success of making Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread or Apple Gingerbread Cake. More of a medium-expertise baker? Try the Easy Autumn Apple Tart or Apple Dumplings with Orange Sauce. Experts can tackle Cider Doughnuts with Mulled Cider Glaze and Cinnamon-Sugar Topping.

Use apples as candleholders: This is the easiest way to add fall inspiration to any table setting. Take a round tea light and hold it on top of the stem end of an apple. Use a paring knife to cut around the tea light. Cut down at least a quarter-inch. Make several cuts in the circle. Use a melon baller to scoop out enough flesh to hold the tea light. Brush the inside of the apple with lemon juice to prevent browning before placing a tea light in the hollowed-out circle.

Sources: www.marthastewart.com; www.michiganapples.com

EASY AUTUMN APPLE TART

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 11-inch removable bottom tart pan with baking spray.

In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Pulse several times. Add the flour and pulse to combine, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Poke the bottom all over with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the apples, vinegar, brown sugar, cider, cinnamon and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, gently stirring to promote even cooking but without breaking the apples, until just tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

In a small glass, mix together the cornstarch and water. Add to the apples and cook, stirring gently, for 2 minutes, or until thickened.

When the crust and apples are cooked, spoon the apples into the crust, arranging them in concentric circles if desired. Pour any extra juices over the surface of the apples. Serve warm or room temperature.

Servings: 12, each with 270 calories, 14 grams fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 36 gram carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 19 grams sugar, 2 grams protein, 85 mg sodium.

Alison Ladman, Associated Press

Apple Dumplings with Orange Sauce

Nonstick cooking spray

1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel

1 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

1 8-ounce package refrigerated reduced-fat crescent rolls (8)

2 tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1/2 cup frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

2. For orange sauce, in a small saucepan combine orange peel, orange juice, butter, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium heat just until mixture starts to boil. Pour mixture all at once into prepared baking dish.

3. For dumplings, on a clean, dry work surface, unroll crescent roll dough; separate into sections. Wrap each apple quarter with one section of the dough. Place in a single layer in prepared baking dish; spoon orange sauce over each dumpling.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden, spooning sauce over dumplings halfway through cooking time. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm with whipped topping.

Serves 8, each (with orange sauce) with 187 calories, 9 grams fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, 13 grams sugar, 257 mg sodium.

Better Homes & Gardens

Stuffed Apples

4 medium tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith)

1/3 cup snipped dried figs or raisins

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cinnamon

1/4 cup apple juice

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, cut into four pieces

1. Core apples; cut a strip of peel from the top of each apple. Place apples, top sides up, in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl combine figs, brown sugar, and apple pie spice. Spoon mixture into centers of apples, patting in with a knife or narrow metal spatula. Pour apple juice around apples in cooker. Top each apple with a piece of butter.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 hours.

4. Using a large spoon, transfer apples to dessert dishes. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over apples. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings, each with 200 calories, 3 grams fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 45 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, 31 mg sodium.

Better Homes & Gardens

Mulled cider is a popular fall and winter beverage made by heating apple cider combined with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves, to just below boiling.

Cider Doughnuts with Mulled Cider Glaze and Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

For the doughnuts:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon orange zest

2/3 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup mulled apple cider

1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

11/2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup mulled apple cider

For the topping:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon gold sprinkles, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a doughnut pan; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, orange zest and salt.

3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together corn syrup, mulled apple cider, apple sauce, canola oil, and pure vanilla extract.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix until just combined and no clumps exist.

5. Spoon batter into the greased doughnut pan, filling each mold about 3/4 full. Bake 8-10 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes.

6. Remove from pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

7. While doughnuts are cooling, whisk together all glaze ingredients in a small bowl.

8. In a separate small bowl, blend together all ingredients for topping.

9. Once doughnuts have cooled, dip the tops of each doughnut into the glaze, then immediately sprinkle with topping. Store in airtight container. Yield: 16-18 doughnuts.

Upside Down Cinnamon-Apple Coffeecake

1 1/2 cups apples, chopped and peeled

1 can (12.4-ounce) cinnamon rolls; reserve icing

1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

Spread 1 cup apples in pie plate.

Separate dough into 8 rolls. Cut each roll into quarters; place in large bowl.

Add remaining 1/2 cup apples and pecans.

In a small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until well blended.

Add brown sugar mixture to dough mixture; toss gently to combine.

Spoon mixture over apples in pan. Bake 28 to 38 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.

Invert onto serving platter.

Remove icing from packet or remove lid. Microwave icing on high 10 to 15 seconds or until drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. Serve warm.

Pillsbury Spring Brunch Magazine 2010

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

7 cups sliced peeled tart apples

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Streusel Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cold butter

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and vanilla. Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch; add to apple mixture and toss to coat. Pour caramel topping over bottom of pastry shell; top with apple mixture (shell will be full). Drizzle with butter.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, pecans and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 for 55 to 65 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.

"2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes," Reiman Publications

Apple Gingerbread Cake

1 package (14 1/2 ounces) gingerbread cake/cookie mix

1 1/4 cups water

1 egg

1 cup chopped peeled apple

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, water and egg until combined.

Add apple; stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

Combine the pecans and brown sugar; sprinkle over the top.

Bake 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 9 servings.

"Taste of Home Almost Homemade 2012"

Autumn Harvest Cobbler

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups cold water, divided

6 large tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup dried apricots, halved

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Topping:

2 cups biscuit/baking mix

3/4 cup 2 percent milk

1 tablespoon coarse sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Whipped cream

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and 1-3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Stir in the apples, raisins, apricots and lemon juice. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the cornstarch and remaining water until smooth. Stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine biscuit mix and milk just until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto hot apple mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and lemon peel.

Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream. Yield: 12 servings.

"Taste of Home 2012 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes"

Cookie Sheet Apple Pie

3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup shortening

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup milk

8 cups sliced peeled tart baking apples

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup crushed cornflakes

1 egg white, beaten

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and milk; mix to form dough. Chill for 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half; roll one half to fit the bottom and sides of a greased 15 by 10-inch baking pan. Arrange apples over crust. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflakes; sprinkle over apples. Roll remaining dough to fit top of pan and place over apples. Seal edges; cut slits in top.

Beat with egg white. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350; bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 16 to 20 servings.

"America's Best Church Supper Recipes"

Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread

1 tube refrigerator biscuits (Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers work well)

1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced

Margarine or butter, softened

Cinnamon-sugar*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a bread pan with parchment paper.

Toss the apple slices in the cinnamon sugar and set aside.

Slice each biscuit in half, creating 16 rounds. Coat each round with margarine and then the cinnamon and sugar.

Layer the biscuits alternating with the apple slices -- begin and end with biscuit -- in the bread pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

*Make cinnamon-sugar by combining 1/3 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Adapted slightly from Heathersfrenchpress.com

If you want to bake in a 9-by-13-inch(*29*) pan, I suggest to double the recipe below.

Apple Pie Lasagna

pie filling:

5-6 medium apples, peeled and sliced.

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

cream cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons caramel

8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the lasagna:

2-3 packages graham crackers

8 ounces whipped cream.

1 cup Heath milk-chocolate toffee bits

Pie filling: Peel and slice your apples into small pieces; about the size of a dime. Place in a medium-size saucepan. Squeeze the juice from a whole lemon over the apples.

Add all of your dry ingredients: Flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and apple pie spice. Mix all ingredients well and then add maple syrup.

Cook the apples for about 15-18 minutes on medium-high heat until they begin to brown and bubble. Remove from heat and cool completely. Refrigerate if necessary.

Cream cheese filling: While the pie filling is cooking, prepare the filling. Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature, or soften in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Beat cream cheese on medium-high speed with a wire whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Turn off mixer and add dry ingredients: Powered sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon. Beat into cream cheese.

Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until whipping cream is fully mixed into cream cheese. Add caramel sauce last and mix into batter.

Add whipped topping and beat on medium speed until mixture is well combined. Divide into thirds.

Assemble the lasagna: Cover the bottom of a 9-by-9 pan with graham crackers, in a double layer. You can break the crackers into pieces in order to get into the nooks and crannies.

Cover with a layer of the cream cheese batter and spread evenly.

Spoon apple pie filling over cream cheese.

Add a small handful of toffee chips on top and cover with a thin layer of whipped topping.

Repeat this twice so that you end up with three layers.

Cover the top layer of whipped topping with additional toffee bites and drizzle with caramel.

Allow at least two hours in the fridge for the graham crackers to soften.

Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. Best served cold.

Beyondfrosting.com

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