Create scrumptious dishes with a variety of fall apples

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Photo by Ann Cipperly Green apple tart or pie with crumb topping makes a scrumptious dessert on a cool fall evening. Serve it with vanilla ice cream or salted caramel gelato. Bake it in a tart pan with removable sides or in a deep pie dish. Keep a variety of apples on hand for healthy snacks, to add to salads or for creating yummy sweet breads and dessert.

By Ann Cipperly

Leaves around town are beginning to change colors with cooler temperatures this week. After a long hot summer, it is a joy to be in the kitchen baking a fresh apple pie, filling the house with tantalizing aromas. Apples are also great to add to salads and for enhancing breads and cakes.

When purchasing apples, select granny smith apples for baking, as they hold up better in cooking. Red and golden delicious, gala and fuji are just a few good ones for salads and eating. Honey crisp are also popular.

While a homemade crust is preferred in pie making, you can use rolled pie crusts from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. When I was growing up, you couldn’t purchase rolled pie crusts and had to make your own crusts from scratch. Maybe you could find a crust in a tinned pie pan, but it wasn’t the same.

I remember when I was about eight or nine years old, my grandmother, who lived with us, told me about baking apple dumplings and how good they were. Since she was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, I would run from the kitchen to her room to ask what to do next while making the dumplings.

Mom was always good with me making a mess in the kitchen, which I certainly did making the pastry. When I finally got the pastry rolled out, then I peeled an apple and cored it. I placed the apple on the pastry and filled the center with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and raisins. I pulled the pastry up over the apple and baked it. I think it took a long time to get brown because I kept opening the oven door.

I didn’t learn how to make a good pastry until after Don and I were married and living in Philadelphia. One summer afternoon I spent a long time trying to get the pie pastry just right for a blueberry pie.

I baked the pie and then set it on a window sill in the dining room for it to cool quickly. I got busy cleaning and heard it raining. I rushed to the dining room to see rain pouring in on my pie.

In Philadelphia at that time, you would not want to eat anything that had polluted rain on it. I lost interest in making pie pastry for a while and found it easier to make puff pastry.

Although I finally mastered pastry making, most of the time now I will use the rolled pastry from the grocery store unless I have a lot of time. I used the rolled pastry for making an apple pie for a dinner party one time when I was short on time, and one of the ladies asked for the recipe for the crust.

I keep apples in a wire basket on the small island in my kitchen all the time. They are good for a healthy snack, and I will often toss a chopped apple into a salad. Apples are great for making yummy desserts.

If we are traveling near Blue Ridge, Georgia, we will always stop at Mercier Orchards. One time, we rode a tractor out to the farm to see the apples and other fruit the farm grows.

When you walk in their huge store be aware that there is a bakery on the side with tempting aromas. If you take a peek, it will be difficult to turn down a slice of apple pie with homemade ice cream. You can purchase apple pies to take home.

The fried apple pies look yummy too. My mom used to make these. My brother, sister and I would eat them all before they had a chance to cool off.

Every time we visit the store, we fill our cart with granny smith apples for cooking, honey crisp apples and gala apples for salads and snacking. Then we check out the other fruits and vegetables. We stock up on the apple cider, as it is really good.

The Mercier family purchased the orchard in 1943 from a pharmacist, who planted the original orchard at the turn of the century.

Over the years, the 27 acres grew into a 200-acre fruit farm, retail market, bakery and restaurant. Mercier is still family run with four generations working in the business.

During the fall season, the orchard produces 26 varieties of apples in jewel tones from deepest ruby to bright greens. Mercier will ship gift packs and baskets.

The store seems bigger every time we stop. It is almost a maze to get through the home décor and kitchen items.

The town of Blue Ridge is quaint, and you can take a train ride through the mountains to view the fall foliage. Boarding for the railway is at a historic, 100 year-old depot in downtown Blue Ridge. During the fall months, the train runs most days and twice a day on weekends.

While we can hardly pass an orchard store or farmers’ market without stopping, we are big on buying local. We have no problems getting wonderful apples in our area.

As the leaves turn richer in color, prepare several apples dishes this coming week in celebration of fall and cooler temperatures.

Ann Cipperly can be reached at recipes@cipperly.com.

Green Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

Good served warm with vanilla ice cream or salted caramel gelato

1¼ cups sugar

¼ cup all –purpose flour

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cinnamon

Dash salt

6 cups pared, sliced granny smith apples

9-inch piecrust

Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 stick cold butter

Mix together sugar, flour, spices and salt; combine with sliced apples. Place piecrust in tart pan with removable bottom or deep pie pan. Fill with apples.

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over apples.

Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes; lower heat to 350 and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Apple Custard Pie
Kathleen Ingram

6 cups tart apples, pared, cored and cut in eighths

9-inch unbaked pastry shell

¾ cup sugar

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup light cream

Ground cinnamon

Arrange apple slices in a nine-inch unbaked pastry shell. Combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in light cream. Pour mixture over apples. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Remove foil. Bake 15 minutes or until apples are done. Serve warm with cheddar cheese or ice cream, if desired.

Homemade Pie Crusts

Nicole Roberts

1½ cups crisco (vegetable shortening)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

5 Tbsp. cold water

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work crisco into flour for about three or four minutes until it resembles a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 Tbsp. of cold water, 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar and 1 tsp. of salt. Stir together gently until all ingredients are incorporated.

Separate dough into thirds. Note: Separating it into thirds will result in three thin crusts. If you prefer a more substantial crust, separate it in half.

Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll dough, starting at center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of dough if it’s a bit too moist.)

If dough is sticking to countertop, use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than pie pan.

With a spatula, lift dough carefully from surface of counter into pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan.

Huguenot Torte

One of my recipes from Philadelphia

2 eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

¼ cup flour

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup peeled, chopped tart apples

1 cup chopped pecans

Whipped cream

Beat eggs until pale and frothy; add sugar and beat again.

Add flour, baking powder, salt, apples and pecans, stirring to mix well.

Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch glass pan coated with nonstick spray.

Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. Keep the crusty side of this tasty dessert on top when serving. Top with whipped cream.

Fresh Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups sugar

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 cups grated tart apples

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl; mix well. Sift the flour, soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.

Add apples and walnuts, blend well.

Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool.

Frost layers and cover cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

½ stick butter, softened

1 lb. box confectioner’s sugar

3 to 4 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add confectioner’s sugar alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla and nuts.

Waldorf Salad

Nancy Smith

Mix together the following:

3 large apples, cored and cubed

2 ribs celery, diced

½ cup raisins

½ cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup chopped pecans

Mix the following together:

½ cup mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

½ tsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

Dash curry powder (1 add two dashes), optional

2 Tbsp. milk

Pour over the apple mixture, mixing thoroughly. Sprinkle with paprika.

Apple Chicken Salad

Heather Cummings

4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped apples

1 (2.5 oz.) pkg. slivered almonds, toasted

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¾ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

In a bowl, combine chicken, celery, apples, almonds, salt and pepper. Blend in mayonnaise and sour cream, mixing thoroughly. Chill. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Crunchy Apple and Grape Salad

Jean Lenard

Dressing:

1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup mayonnaise

Juice from ½ lemon

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Fruits:

4 apples (your choice), cored and diced

1 pear, cored and diced

1 celery stalk, diced

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup walnuts, chopped

2 cups seedless grapes, halved

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Store in refrigerator while making salad.

Once you have all the fruit and nuts chopped, pour dressing over and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 8.

Easy Apple Crisp

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup butter, softened

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 375. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch round or square pan.

Spread apples in pan. Combine remaining ingredients except ice cream. Mix well and sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 6 servings. Easy to double.

Meri’s Apple Walnut Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. .salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups chopped peeled apples

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, sugar cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt; blend together. Then whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla in a bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in apples and walnuts.

Pour into loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in each center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then move to wire racks to finish cooling.

Apple Pie with Caramel Topping

1 deep dish piecrust

Filling

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. self-rising flour

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cinnamon

3 to 4 sliced Granny Smith Apples

Streusel Topping

½ cup four

¼ cup sugar

½ stick butter

¼ cup chopped pecans

Drizzle

12 to 15 caramels, unwrapped

Small amount milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon; mix with cut up apples. Pour into pie crust. Mix together topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of filling. Cover pie with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer. Melt caramels with a small amount of milk until easy to spread. Pour on top of pie. Can use bottled caramel sauce instead.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2 cups peeled, diced apples

1 pie crust

Beat together sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and egg. Add apples. Pour into 9 inch unbaked pie shell. Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Mix:

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

¼ cup butter

Combine and sprinkle on top of pie. Bake 20 minutes longer.

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