Metro-East Living

It’s fall apple-picking and baking time in the metro-east

You can make your own Apple Cider Donuts, or buy them at Braeutigam Farms in Belleville.
You can make your own Apple Cider Donuts, or buy them at Braeutigam Farms in Belleville.

It’s apple-picking time. While you might like to take a big bite out of a Jonathan or a Fuji, some people carrying sacks back to their cars on Friday at Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville seemed more intent on cooking up something sweet with them.

“I make the best apple pie, but the apples have to be good,” said 77-year-old Bonnie Westerly, of Belleville. Apples keep for a long time, so she buys a bunch early in the season, storing them out on her screened-in back porch.

Her neighbor, Carol Conley, who drove, said she makes Toffee Apple Pudding Cookies, a recipe she found on Pinterest.

“The cookies are really moist because there’s instant pudding in them,” she said. “They’re a hit with everybody who eats them.”

Orchards owner Tom Range fired up the tractor Friday afternoon, then loaded visitors to head out to pick apples. That day’s pickings included Red and Golden Delicious, Fuji, Winesap, Granny Smith, Gold Rush, and yes, pumpkins.

If you don’t want to make your own Apple Cider Doughnuts (recipe follows), you can pick up some at the orchards. See for a ripening schedule, hours and more, or call 618-233-4059.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

1 cup apple cider

3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for work surface

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons room temp unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Oil for frying


1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tablespoon cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium to low heat, slowly reduce apple cider to about 1/4 cup. Takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream the sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs one at a time.

On low-speed, add the apple cider and the milk and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and combine until a dough forms.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat generously with flour.

Turn the dough out on to one of the sheets and flatten out with your hands until 1/2 inch thick. Add more flour if dough is sticky.

Transfer baking sheet to freezer to firm up for about 20 minutes.

Remove tray from freezer and cut out doughnuts using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, or use a biscuit cutter and find something to make the holes.

Transfer to second baking sheet and put in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. You can reroll and recut leftover dough.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Remove cut doughnuts from fridge and, working 2 or 3 at a time, carefully place in hot oil. They only take a couple of minutes per side.

Remove when golden brown and put on paper towels. If dough starts getting flimsy return to fridge, it’s easier to fry up when they are cool.

While doughnuts are still warm, coat them in the cinnamon sugar topping and then eat.

The Washington Post

Classic Apple Crisp


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces


8 cups peeled apples, sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Topping: In a large bowl combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

With your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it just begins to cling together. Work it just past the crumbly stage.

The topping can be made in advance, and stored for up to a week in the refrigerator or a month carefully wrapped and frozen.

Filling: In a 4-quart bowl, toss together apples and lemon juice.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, salt and nutmeg. Use the lesser amount of sugar for sweeter apples.

Sprinkle apples with sugar-nutmeg mixture, then with your hands, mix together.

Heap into a lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish. Apples collapse a good bit during cooking, so it is important to pile them above the rim of the baking dish.

Cover the top of the apples with the crumb mixture, breaking up large pieces as necessary to cover.

Cover the crisp first with parchment, then foil. This eliminates the chance of any metal flavor getting into the crisp. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove foil and paper from the opposite side of the pan (to keep steam away from your face and hands). Return to oven; bake 30 to 40 minutes more, or until top is golden and apples are just tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. To ensure the flour in the filling is cooked, bake until thickened juices bubble from the fruit.

Let cool 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipping cream or ice cream. Makes 10 servings.

Apple Pie French Toast Casserole

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter

4 heaping cups diced apples (4 to 5 apples)

8 cups cubed bread

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup whole milk

8 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla


1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons milk

In small bowl, mix granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with whisk.

Heat 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat; melt butter in skillet. Add apples and half of the cinnamon-sugar; stir to coat. Cook about 10 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Butter 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; spread half of the bread in bottom. Top with half of the apple mixture; repeat.

In bowl, beat half-and-half, milk, eggs, vanilla and remaining cinnamon-sugar with whisk. Pour mixture over bread and apples, pressing down with spoon so everything gets soaked. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no longer than 12 hours to allow bread to soak up custard.

Remove from refrigerator. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake about 40 minutes, or until edges and top of bread are golden and casserole has puffed up a bit. Cool on rack 15 minutes before serving.

In small bowl, beat glaze ingredients with whisk. Drizzle over casserole. Makes 10 servings.

Toffee Apple Pudding Cookies

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant cheesecake (or your favorite flavor) pudding mix

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored, peeled and diced small

3/4 cup Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together baking soda and flour and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add the pudding package and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla extract.

Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in apples and toffee chips.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly before removing to rack to cool completely.