Dessert

Apfelkuchen…aka apple torte

The finished product!

On a cold Saturday afternoon we decided to give Sunny Anderson’s Apfelkuchen, that was featured on Food Networks-The Kitchen, a try. My German roots from the Schreck and Meyer familie came out to bake. And the real reason, we knew my Mom would love this recipe.

Look at the layers!
Great pattern with the apples.

For the past couple of years we would buy her a tin of real German Lepkucken from Germany for Christmas. She has always told me the story of her having to stir the batter of these dense molasses cookies. We knew the Apfelkuchen world be a hit.

Ingredients

Apples:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch wedges 

Batter:

One 15.25-ounce box white cake mix

1 1/4 cups apple cider 

1/3 cup sour cream 

3 large eggs, whisked

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

Streusel:

2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar, plus more for dusting

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, frozen for 20 minutes

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. For the apples: Add the lemon juice and 2 cups of water to a large bowl and stir. Add the apple wedges. Set aside.
  3. For the batter: Add the cake mix to a large bowl. Whisk together the cider, sour cream and eggs in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the cake mix and stir until combined.
  4. For the streusel: Add the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon sugar to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Using a box grater, shred the chilled butter into the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to mix and toss the mixture until crumbly. Place back in the refrigerator if needed while preparing to bake.
  5. To assemble: Spray the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch springform cake pan with cooking spray. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom and spray again. Pour half of the cake batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top with half of the streusel mixture, then add half of the apple slices in a circular fanning pattern. Repeat the layers and dust the top with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before releasing the spring form.
  7. For serving: Serve the cake slices with Whipped Cream.
Dessert

Crumb Top Apple Pie

Once again I wanted to bake something last Saturday. Scouring the pantry and refrigerator I found some utility apples and some Empire apples that seem to call to me….bake a pie. They might not be the “choosen” apple to make a pie with but it didn’t matter because this came out pretty good. Not wanting the traditional two crust pie I found a recipe for a crumb top pie.

The original recipe did not have it’s own crust recipe so I went to my favorite pie crust recipe in my Better Homes and Garden red checked cook book.

This has been a favorite recipe to make as it is pretty simple and uses crisco. Pretty simple to follow and easy to mix when you have the right tools.

Single pie crust recipe

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Rim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Bake as directed in individual recipes. Makes 8 servings.

With the crust ready it was time to pull the filling together.

Crumb Top Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 pie pastry
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 c. peeled and thinly sliced apples

Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2/3 c. caramel ice cream sauce, divided
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pastry in a 9″ deep dish pie pan. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and 1/3 cup Caramel Sauce. Toss the apples in this mixture and pour into the pie crust. Throughly combine the crumb topping ingredients. Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture. Bake the pie for 20-30 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake another 20 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove pie from oven and drizzle with the remaining 1/3 c. caramel ice cream sauce. Cool and serve with ice cream.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

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Apple and Cranberry Crisp

There is this great spice company that we love to buy from when we get the chance.  It is called Penzey’s and is headquartered out in the Midwest.  There was at one time a kiosk in Grand Central Station that we would always stop at to purchase what we might need but has now moved to a mall outside of the city.  Their prices are very good and the quality is the best.You are able to buy what you need in all sorts of sizes.  Once you start shopping through them you would receive a catalog on a quarterly basis that not only has all of their spices and extracts but great recipes too.  This recipe came from a recent catalog I picked up when I was in their Buffalo store.  I had to be in Buffalo for my job and I made it a point to stop by the store with my list of needed spices and extracts.  Hubby found the recipe and made it for dinner last weekend.It is a great fall recipe, maybe even for Thanksgiving this week because it features both Apples and Fresh Cranberries.

Apple and Cranberry Crisp

Filling:
1 3-lb. bag McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 Cups cranberries, optional
3/4 Cup sugar (you might use a bit more if adding cranberries, which are quite tart)
2 tsp. PENZEYS CINNAMON
1 tsp. GROUND NUTMEG
1 tsp. GROUND ALLSPICE
1/2-1 tsp. GROUND CLOVES (recipe calls for full teaspoon)

Crust:
2 Cups flour
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Cup shortening

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the apples, cranberries (if using), sugar and spices. Toss to coat. In a second large bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Add the shortening and cut with a fork until the mixture resembles pebbles. Spoon the filling into a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with the crust crumbles. Gently press the crust to form a flat surface. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes.

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Easy Apple Strudel

My husband dressed the part! 

When you think of fall you remember the leaves changing colors, apple picking, pumpkins, Oktoberfest and hearty meals. Well that is what we had at our last dinner club dinner a few weeks ago. Giada and hubby from across the street created an Oktoberfest menu that included some traditional German foods including  Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Jagerschnitzel (Pork Cutlets with mushroom gravy), Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Pie) and Apple Strudel.  

Our dinners are decided by the host and recipes are distributed and assigned to each couple.  Our contribution was the apple strudel.  Pretty easy recipe but I had some difficulty with the puff pastry that I decided to make a second one.  I thought the first one just didn’t look right and luckily the pasty comes in two rolls, so I was able to remake it with a little help from a video from the Pepperidge Farms website on working with the dough.  The end result was delicious topped off by my homemade vanilla ice cream. 

Apple Strudel

1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package of Puff Pastry (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg beaten lightly with 1 tablespoon water
Confectioners’ sugar for serving (optional)
Ice Cream (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine. Add apples and lemon juice and toss, stirring until the apples are well coated; set aside.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll puff pastry out to a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, sprinkle 1/2 of pastry with apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border at the end closest to you. Roll the pastry up, jelly roll-style, and crimp to seal edges. Transfer strudel to prepared baking sheet and brush top with egg wash. Cut three slits on top of the pastry to let steam escape. Bake until top is golden, about 35 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving and serve with ice cream, if desired.

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Apple Cranberry Crisp

Looking through my past post I discovered a fall favorite that we made for our daughter last year when she was home on a break. Now is the perfect time to pull this recipe out again and enjoy while Apples and Cranberries are in season.  Whip up some fresh whipped cream and enjoy as the fall season approaches. 

So Hubby, if you are reading this post, can you make this again?

 
 
For the topping

5-3/4 oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. table salt
 1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 oz. (3/4 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped

For the filling

3 lb. apples (4 to 5 medium-large), such as Braeburn, Gala, Rome, or Honeycrisp
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 lb. (2-1/4 cups) fresh cranberries
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. fresh orange juice
Pinch table salt
1 cup granulated sugar

 
Topping Directions

Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it’s well blended and the mixture is clumpy but still a bit crumbly (it should hold together if you pinch it). Mix in the pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble and bake the crisp

Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter the sides only of a 9-inch-square baking pan.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut each apple quarter crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Put them in a large bowl, sprinkle on the cinnamon, and toss until evenly coated. Combine the cranberries and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are finely chopped, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add the cranberries to the apples and toss to combine. Put the butter, orange juice, and salt in a small microwaveable dish or a small pan. Heat in the microwave or over medium-low heat until the butter melts, about 1 minute. Swirl to blend and pour the mixture over the apples. Toss to coat. Add the sugar and toss to coat again. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the apples.

Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set the pan on the sheet and bake until the juices are bubbling on the sides, the top is golden brown, crisp, and hard, and the apples in the center are tender when pierced with a fork, 60 to 70 minutes (rotate the pan for even browning, if necessary). If the top starts to get too brown after 45 minutes, cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes to let the juices thicken. Serve warm.

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Apple Bread

Yummy Apple Bread!  A special treat for fall when fresh apples are in abundance.  We have had this recipe for quite some time and Sunday following our vacation we picked up some good baking apples to replenish our treats.  Hubby likes to cut the apples larger than expected so that you can see the apple in the bread.
 
This recipe makes two loafs so plan ahead to either share or freeze some for later.   Could be a good addition to Thanksgiving dinner. Hubby made this on Sunday and we were able to send some to our daughter in a care package.
 


Apple Bread

 (From Penzeys)

4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, about 4-5 large apples
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used Penzeys.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar

 Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

For the bread and topping, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two standard bread loaf pans and set aside. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy.

 Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly mixed.

Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend. Turn the mixer to high and beat until the mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand with a spoon so the apples do not get broken up. Divide the mixture between the two pans.

To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until all the ingredients are moist and crumbly. Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.

Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle; if not, bake an extra 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans.

 

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Dinner request from the College Freshman

Our new college freshman came home this past weekend for a family wedding and we asked her if there was anything special she wanted while she was here.  A quick reply was “Pasta with breadcrumbs and olives, please”.  We asked if there was anything else she would like and another quick response “apple crisp”. Can’t help not feeling lucky with this one,  two pretty easy dishes to make.

The pasta recipe was one we found a few years ago that is absolutely delicious.  The roasted breadcrumbs and the saltiness of the olives is a treat.  And with the olives, our pasta loving son is really pleased.

Spaghetti with Bread Crumbs and Olives (Giada De Laurentis)

Ingredients

1 pound spaghetti

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
3/4 cup pitted and roughly chopped  kalamata olives
3/4 cup pitted and roughly chopped large green olives
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    Directions

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon each of the sea salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, cook the breadcrumbs until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

    Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Stir the pasta into the bread crumb mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and add the black and green olives. Add the Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of the parsley. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with the remaining parsley.

    Apple Cranberry Crisp from Fine Cooking
    For the topping
    • 5-3/4 oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. table salt
    •  1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped
    For the filling
    • 3 lb. apples (4 to 5 medium-large), such as Braeburn, Gala, Rome, or Honeycrisp
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 lb. (2-1/4 cups) fresh cranberries
    • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • 3 Tbs. fresh orange juice
    • Pinch table salt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    Make the topping
    Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it’s well blended and the mixture is clumpy but still a bit crumbly (it should hold together if you pinch it). Mix in the pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.
     
    Assemble and bake the crisp
    Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter the sides only of a 9-inch-square baking pan.
    Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut each apple quarter crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Put them in a large bowl, sprinkle on the cinnamon, and toss until evenly coated. Combine the cranberries and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are finely chopped, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
    Add the cranberries to the apples and toss to combine. Put the butter, orange juice, and salt in a small microwaveable dish or a small pan. Heat in the microwave or over medium-low heat until the butter melts, about 1 minute. Swirl to blend and pour the mixture over the apples. Toss to coat. Add the sugar and toss to coat again. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the apples.
    Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set the pan on the sheet and bake until the juices are bubbling on the sides, the top is golden brown, crisp, and hard, and the apples in the center are tender when pierced with a fork, 60 to 70 minutes (rotate the pan for even browning, if necessary). If the top starts to get too brown after 45 minutes, cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes to let the juices thicken. Serve warm.
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    Hot Cranberry Apple Casserole

    Stock up on the fresh cranberries before they are gone from the grocery store shelves.  This fall, early winter treat is a refreshing change after having stuffed yourself on Christmas cookies.   The recipe is from an email received from the GE appliance website.  We found this back in December 2010 and have made it a few times as an alternate dessert choice.    
    Now, if I did not have to worry about calories I would want anything chocolate or peanut butter for dessert.  I do love a hot apple pie or pumpkin pie around this time of year.  Apple crisp is another fall and winter favorite that I don’t feel as guilty indulging in.  My kids love dessert as well, especially my son who has to find something every night for dessert.  My daughter love desserts like this crisp or anything with fruit involved.  I think that once she starts college to become an RD, our dessert indulgence might change to healthier lower calorie treats.  Or, I secretly share my indulgent desserts with my mom who I got my sweet tooth from while our daughter is away at school. 

    Hot Cranberry Apple Casserole

    Ingredients

    3 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
    2 cups whole cranberries, raw
    1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    1 1/2 cups sugar ( we cut the sugar down to just 1 cup for some tartness)
    1 1/3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    1 stick butter, melted

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 325 F.  Combine apples and cranberries in oiled 2 quart casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over top. Add oatmeal, chopped walnuts, brown sugar and melted butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and blend until moistened. Cover fruit with crumb mixture. Bake uncovered for 75 minutes.

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    Homemade Apple Pie Time


     
    Artistic look at my apples!

     

    It seems that every dessert revolves around apples this time of year.  Apple Crisp, Apple Cake and now Apple Pie.  Hubby was looking through twitter this afternoon and found a video from Jordan Winery on making an Apple Pie and the secrets to a flaky crust.  As he sat there listening to this video I started to crave an apple pie.  I wasn’t going to try the recipe he was listening too, I have my own apple pie recipe.

     

     
    Ingredients for Double Pie Crust
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup shortening
    • 6 – 7 tablespoons cold water

    Directions

    Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. 

    Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Divide in half. Form each half into a ball. 


    On a lightly floured surface, flatten 1 dough ball. Roll from center to edges into 12-inch circle.
     

    To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Transfer filling to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate.

     

    Roll remaining dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Place remaining pastry on filling; trim 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Bake as directed in individual recipes (see below) . Makes 8 servings.

    Now for the filling:

    I always have luck making my own pie crust from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that uses flour, salt, shortening (Crisco) and water-4 basic ingredients and it is very easy to make. (See recipe above) Once that is done I flip through the cookbook to the fruit pie chart to find out what I need for an apple pie. For the filling use 5 apples, peeled cored and sliced( 6 cups) , 1/2 to 3/4  of a cup of sugar and a  tablespoon  of flour, and I have the filling all ready to go.  Mix them all together and place in crust.  Place the remaining crust on top, roll and crimp the edges then sprinkle with a little sugar.  Cover edge with foil. Bake at 375 degrees   for 25 minutes, remove foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more.