Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Thanks for the memories! May 2010-March 2020

Get the local dirt in our northwest corner • Regrowing in 2023!

Apples: Baking the bounty

Sep 6th, 2011 | Category: Cooking

by Tina Hoban

Apples are an abundant part of the fall landscape here in Washington. This time of year, I see fruit laden branches everywhere, bending from the weight of their load. Whether you (or a neighbor) have your own apple tree, or you support a farmer by picking at or buying from a local orchard, you may find yourself looking for new ways to use up the bounty.

Flaky apple hand pies. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

When we bought our homestead, we were lucky enough to have an established orchard in place. Having an abundance of apples each fall means endless opportunities to experiment, and for me, that means baking. One of my recent successes started with my grandmother’s applesauce cake recipe and ended up as Apple Cake with Browned Butter and Sage. I love the nutty character of browned butter, and the sage really harmonizes with the apples. Since the apple is grated, you can use just about any variety with good results.

Another recipe that I make again and again is my Flaky Apple Hand Pies. These cute little pies have all of the appeal of apple pie with a couple of added bonuses:  they are portable, so it is easy to pack in a lunch or for a breakfast on the go (yes, I do eat pie for breakfast, on occasion), and they are also easy to make. In fact, the cream cheese pie dough is so easy to make, you may find yourself using it for more than just apple pies. For these, you will want to use an apple that will hold its shape when baked, such as Gravenstein, Granny Smith or Pink Lady.

Apple Cake with Browned Butter and Sage. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

For apples which are best eaten fresh, such as Honeycrisp or Transparents, try slicing then and serving with the Vanilla Salted Caramel Dip.  If you have never made caramel before, don’t be afraid, this recipe is practically foolproof.

Tina Hoban is the owner of Scratch Desserts and an avid recipe developer.  She runs a small scale farm near Ferndale with her husband, Ed.

Flaky Apple Hand Pies

2 large apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz (2 sticks) butter, cut into cubes
8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar to mix. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together (or mix by hand using a pie cutter).
On a work surface, press the dough into 2 discs.  Dust surface with flour and roll each disc into a 12” circle. Cut 8 circles out using a 3 1/2” or 4” cutter. Scraps may be rerolled. Repeat with second disc.
Place 8 circles on a baking sheet. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the apple filling in the center of each circle. Top with remaining circles, pressing down to seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to make two slits in the top of each pie. Bake 25 – 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the apples are soft. Makes 8 hand pies.

Apple Cake with Browned Butter and Sage

10 tablespoons (5 oz.) butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional, but good)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 large apples, peeled and grated (about 2 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until butter turns golden brown (5 to 10 minutes).  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
Pour the browned butter into a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar, eggs and bourbon.  Stir in the walnuts, sage and apple, followed by the flour mixture.
Scrape mixture into your pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Vanilla Salted Caramel Dip

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Boil for 1 minute, then slowly add the cream, stirring until it begins to boil again.  Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla and sea salt.  Cool and serve with sliced apples.  May be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

One Comment to “Apples: Baking the bounty”

  1. Tami DuBow says:

    YUM! That all sounds so good. I’m going to try the apple cake with GF flour and earth balance stuff instead of butter and regular flour. How bad can it be, right?

Leave a Comment