Fried Apples-Apple Sauce-Plain Jane Free Form Apple Tart
Go ahead, explode with joy.
Moving on... Last night just so happened to turn into "breakfast for supper" night around these parts. I had SO much to do with ALL of these apples that I needed quick and easy. Both kids were standing in the kitchen begging for apple slices (why not, the house is full of them); of course I obliged. Then it struck me that in their mere two, almost three, years on this earth they hadn't eaten fried apples for breakfast. GASP, I know right, but then again I felt horrible when we went trick or treating at the zoo last year only to realize they had never had candy. Pfft, I know, bad mom right? Never had candy :). Anywho, I felt certain it was going to be a HUGE win. They just took interest in eating apples...as apples, and not in slices with the peel removed, so I took a chance. If anything, the hubs and I would love it.
Super Simple Fried Apples
I love our cast iron. I'll make just about anything in there I can. For this, perfection. I like to use empire apples for this sort of apple concoction ( as well as pies and tarts- as you'll see later on). Empire apples still have the very white-green flesh that has a zing of tang but has enough sweetness to make the apple completely mellow. Anything that I'm going to add sugar to I don't want to use a sweet apple.
3 empire apples (serves 3)
I like peels. I like to keep the additional nutritive benefit of the fruit present whenever possible. My children, eh, they could take it or leave it really. Here, with fried apples, I liked the texture.
Simply core and slice
1/3 cup brown sugar lightly packed
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp nutmeg
Gently stir all ingredients around until coated
Heat on Medium- Medium low
Do not cover. Wait for the sugar to melt and liquefy. When it comes to a bubble (shown above) turn heat down to a simmer and stir occasionally. Serve when apples are easily punctured with a fork. 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.
Super Yummy Homemade Apples Sauce
I could go on for days and days about the love I have for homemade applesauce. I made it for the twins when they were babies. It became a great add-in when introducing them to new veggies. I use it in place of oil in lots of baked goods. Really, it's just useful to have around. Plus, its super easy to make.
The apple collection for this years applesauce: gala (above), jonagold, empire, swiss gourmet, and ginger gold. They make a lovely mix of super sweet with soft flesh to tart with crisp flesh. I don't sweeten our apple sauce. I think it stands on its own merit. No matter how you slice it (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), homemade apple sauce is better than anything you could ever buy in a store. It's easy to make. It's versatile. And, depending on your packaging practice it can keep indefinitely.
Brass tacks: core and slice your apples. I don't peel. Lots do. Again, I like the texture.
I like to work with a manageable pot size. So, I use the 4 Qt soup pot and dump in a comfortable amount of apples. Chunk the apple slices. and Pour in 3/4c - 1c water or store brand apple juice (your preference, the juice just sweetens). If you find that after the apples have cooked down that you have TOO much liquid it can always be ladled off. No worries.
Throw a lid on that baby! Heat on medium for 10-15 minutes.
The apples will cook down significantly. This amount of liquid is perfect for smooth, silky applesauce blended in a food processor. If you like chunky applesauce, pour off the juice (its yummy to drink!) and smash with a potato smasher.
Since I don't use all of the apple I don't use a sieve to separate the undesirables from the tasty. I can just food process as is. BAM! Even easier than you thought, huh?
Pour the contents back into a pot to heat if you're going to can. Heating it makes up for the disparity in heat transfer from pot to jar, and your glass wont shatter. Also, add 4 Tbsp lemon juice for pH acid needs in canning. You can also freeze your apple sauce. Use Ziploc freezer bags (labeling date and amount inside). This is a super easy way to use for baking. Plus, it freezes flat.
After their hot water bath... these bad boys are ready to go! If you're canning be sure to check the Ball Canning website or your local agricultural website.
Plain-Jane Free Form Apple Tart
As any girl worth her salt, I love apple pie. However, I feel like pie doesn't always fit the need of the event. I was having a tea for a baby shower a year or more ago and needed a tea-party worthy treat. I was flipping though one of my favorite magazines, Organic Gardening, when I flipped upon this lovely creation: Plain Jane Free Form Apple Tart, original recipe in the link. The beauty of this little treat is that its as simple and can be added to per need. Of course I couldn't let it go as is... I jazzed it up a bit.
Lets get to it.
1.5 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter (I used salted since it was in the fridge, I left out the salt)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp cider vinegar
4-5 Tbsp ice water
Sift your dry ingredients with a fork or your paddle attachment on a Kitchen Aid. Mix together in a separate bowl the yolk, 4 Tbsp water, and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the wet ingredients as the paddle mixes. Reserve the last Tbsp of water only if the dough is too dry in the end. Cut the butter into dime sized chunks and drop in. End mixing when some of the butter pieces are still pea sized.
The dough won't have the consistency of bread. It will be a bit mealy and chunky. No worries, you're doing fine.
Split the dough into two equally sized balls. Wrap the dough balls in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Press the dough through the plastic into a flat round. Lay out a piece of parchment paper to roll out the dough into a rough circle 11-12 in across. Again, this is "free form"; no points for perfection... 'cause it doesn't need to happen :).
4 apples (I chose Empire, but Cortland and Gravenstein are great too) cored, peeled and sliced and set in a circular formation from the center of the dough leaving an inch around the outside for folding
1 Tbsp sugar sprinkled
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon sprinkled
Fold in the excess dough, crimping it in on itself to hold. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and brush over the folded edges
Bake at 375 degrees in the top third of the oven for 40-45 minutes until crust is golden. Let cool briefly. Serve warm. Vanilla ice cream is a lovely addition.
This was also a huge hit in the "Creative Baby Food Series"... look back and check it out! The twins loved this when they were small! Pretty cool, huh?
Happy Apple Picking!