Tag Archives: apples

Cran-Apple Vanilla Sauce/Relish

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all are spending your day with family and friends.  Due to the weather, N and I are sticking out today alone.  Never fear, we’ve got delicious cocoa brownies and unbelievably-rich stuffed shells with bolognese to keep us company… and, of course, this candy-like sauce.

One part applesauce, one part cranberry relish… I suppose it may even classify as a chutney.  Honestly, I don’t care what you call it.  Make this. It’s magenta. And easy. And festive. Did I mention the taste? It’s a little sweet, and a little tart. Just like me. :)

As an alternative to starting with new cranberries, throw together your cranberry sauce leftovers and some apple chunks, a splash of juice or water, scrape a vanilla bean, and you’re done.

Eat this sauce cooled as a side or snack, or warmed on top of pork or chicken.  I’m so happy I’ve got lots of this for the next few blustery days!

Cran-Apple Vanilla Sauce
inspired by The Foodie Bride

1 bag (12 oz., approximately 2 cups) fresh cranberries
1/2 c. apple juice
3 large apples (I used Honeycrisp and Gala)
1/3 c. sucanat (or light brown sugar)
1/4 c. white sugar
1 large vanilla bean

Peel and chop apples into 1-inch pieces.  Rinse and pick through cranberries.  In a large pot combine all of the ingredients except for the vanilla bean.  Heat to a simmer and maintain for 15 minutes, until cranberries start to pop.

Cut open the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrap the inside clean.  Put the paste and the vanilla-bean halves in the sauce.  Continue to simmer for another 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the berries are cooked and apples are soft, roughly mash with a potato masher or heavy spoon.  Serve warm, or cool and store in fridge.

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Filed under Condiments, etc., Fall, Side dishes

home + easy apple cake

Home.  It took awhile, but finally the place where I live feels more like home than any other “home” I’ve had.

My parents, brother, and I moved into their current house when I was about 14. We were old enough that there are no childhood memories of playing make-believe with my brother or hearing Santa on Christmas Eve in that house.  Still, until recently, I felt most “at home” snuggled up in a quilt on my parents’ living room floor, with N and my brother and mom and dad in front of the TV.

It took awhile for N and I to make our first house feel less like a storage unit. But slowly, the little things– knickknacks that find their windowsills; smells that become familiar and welcoming; my cats sleeping on my lap; and most importantly, my husband beside me– make me feel like I’m at home.

This apple cake did the same thing.

Quick Apple Cake
from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

Serves 8 (or fewer!)

The reason the piece in the picture looks so wonky is because we suddenly were eating the last two pieces and I realized I hadn’t yet taken a picture!

The recipe calls for thin slices of apple, but I cut my slices slightly thicker with a shorter rectangle shape, and we loved the definite commitment to apple vs. cake.

3 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped into bite-sized (about 3 cups)
1 t. lemon juice
3/4 c. plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. good vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sifted all-purpose flour (sift in salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a pie or cake pan. Toss the apples in the pan with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cinnamon. Spread apples evenly in the bottom of the pan

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Watch carefully and stir to avoid burning. Pour the clear, browned butter into a medium bowl, leaving any sediment or foam in the pan.

Stir the 3/4 cup sugar into the butter with a spatula or spoon (not a whisk). Gently stir in the eggs and vanilla; stir in the salt and flour until blended. Spoon the batter evenly over the apples and spread into a layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until lightly golden and crusty, 35 to 45 minutes.

The recipe suggests serving with vanilla ice cream, but eating a warm slice with fresh softly-whipped cream made me go all melty on the inside.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Desserts, Fall

Apfelstrudel

I made this last weekend for part of our Oktoberfest meal. I made it easy by using a pre-packaged puff pastry, but an ambitious individual could certainly make their own puff pastry in addition to making the filling. We served this with plenty of fresh whipped cream, and it only lasted 2 days between the 2 of us!

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)

1 puff pastry sheet
3 T. raisins
2-3 T. golden rum or bourbon
3 medium green apples, about 1.25 pounds
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. butter, separated (3 T. butter + 5 T. butter)
3/4 c. fine bread crumbs
1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped

Set puff pastry out to thaw according to directions. You’ll want it chilly but malleable when it comes time to roll out.

Combine raisins and rum in a small bowl.  Peel, core, and slice the apples into quarter-slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place them in a large bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; toss and set aside.

In a large pan, melt 3 T. butter on medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat; continue to stir while the crumbs toast, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

Heat oven to 400 F.  Melt the remaining 5 T. butter. Roll out the puff pastry sheet to approximately 9 x 13 inches. (I did this on parchment paper that was generously floured.) Brush half of the melted butter onto the puff pastry. Sprinkle and pat the bread crumbs on top of the buttered pastry.

With the long edge positioned left to right, sprinkle the walnuts down the center of the pastry from top to bottom, in a column about 4 inches wide. On top of the walnuts, place the sugared apple slices compactly and somewhat stacked. Pour the raisins, rum and all, over the apple slices and distribute evenly.

Wrap the edges of the pastry over the top of the apple column, which may require some flour, stretching, and patience. Pinch the ends closed best you can. Brush the remaining melted butter over the top of the strudel, and make a few slices across the top to vent and for aesthetic.

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the top third of the oven for about 30 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and baked through.  Let cool at room temperature for half an hour or longer before dusting with powdered sugar and carefully slicing with a serrated knife.

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Filed under Desserts, Fall

CE Staple: applesauce

I love this applesauce. I never really loved applesauce as a kid or pseudo-adult, even the natural unsweetened stuff in the big glass jars.  But my signature apple pie recipe calls for applesauce, and Golden Delicious were on sale at the time, so about a month ago I made my first batch of home-made applesauce….

applesauce

…and now I’m hooked. This stuff is fantastic. I eat it literally every day. It’s perfect for a clean-eating breakfast or snack in combination with sugar-free probiotic yogurt or 1% cottage cheese, or even a few teaspoons of natural peanut butter (straight from the jar, of course). Ooh, or my homemade CE granola…. yum. I may need a pre-bed snack.

apples

Homemade Applesauce
Adapted from Elise’s Applesauce, but made cleaner :)

6-8 medium apples, cored and diced (not peeled)
1 c. water
3-4 T. lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon)
1/4 c. honey
1 T. blackstrap molasses (if desired)
1/2 tsp (approx) salt
cinnamon to taste (I like a lot, about 1.5 T.)

Place all ingredients in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Bring water to a boil, and lower heat to a slow simmer. Cover and allow to cook 30-40 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Using a potato masher, pastry mixer, or fork, mash the apples to the desired consistency. Allow to cool; refrigerate and enjoy.

applesauce2

*Note: The outer peel of the apple is the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit.  Peeling the apples will result in a smoother applesauce, but you’ll be losing the nutritional value while retaining all of the calories and sugars. If you peel the apples, they need not be diced; I dice my unpeeled apples to reduce the size of the “peel chunks” in the finished applesauce.

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Filed under Clean Eating, Fall, Side dishes, Summer