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Posts Tagged ‘apples’

Apples are available

This post is primarily for people who live near Greenville, SC. For some time now we have been hearing on the news that the apple crop in the western North Carolina mountains has been devastated by the spring temperatures and summer hail storms. Rob and I drove up this past weekend and went to two different farms and found out that there are many varieties of apples available. We were told that some farmers lost nearly all their apple crop, some lost certain varieties, and some fared pretty well in spite of many challenges from the weather. So, if you enjoy driving up into the mountains each fall don't hesitate to go. You may pay a bit more this year, but our local apple farmers will appreciate your business.


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Another Fall Favorite

Starting about August I get excited thinking about the cooler weather and the opportunities to bake some fall favorites. Last weekend I got to make two family favorites — Cake Mix Rolls to take to a bridal shower, and Danish Pastry Apple Bars. I got this recipe from a Crisco cookbook that I got when we were first married. It is a good recipe to have if you need to serve more than eight--the typical number of pieces you can cut from a pie.

picture of Baked Danish Bars

You might find the cereal to be a surprising ingredient. After the pie bakes you would not even know the cereal is in there. I think it helps to prevent a soggy crust and it just blends into the apple filling. The original recipe calls for Corn Flakes, but I generally use either bran flakes or Raisin Bran. I take the raisins out but you could certainly leave them in.

picture of Danish Flakes

picture of Danish Apples

Danish Pastry Apple Bars

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white)
milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 cup cereal flakes (corn flakes, bran flakes, etc.)
8 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 8-10 apples)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
the reserved egg white

In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening. Place the egg yolk in a measuring cup and then fill the cup with milk. Blend and then add this to the flour mixture to form pastry dough. Divide the dough into two pieces and form each piece into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you peel and cut the apples. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. At this point you might want to preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll one piece of the pastry into a 17" x 12" rectangle and place in a 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" jelly roll pan. Sprinkle in the cereal flakes. Top with the apples and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll out the second piece of pastry and place on top of the apples. Crimp the edges, patching if necessary. Make a few slashes with a knife for steam vents. Whisk the egg white until it's a bit frothy and brush on top of the pastry. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 mins. or until golden brown and the apples are tender. After baking drizzle with this glaze if desired:


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsps. cream or milk
Mix all together with a wire whisk and then drizzle on top of bars.

I omitted the glaze this time and served the bars with ice cream.

picture of Plated Danish Bars

There's still time to enter the contest to win a copy of the book Dewey's Nine Lives. See my last post for details.



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A favorite fall treat

Someone in our house is having a birthday this week (on the 30th) and has requested apple dumplings rather than a birthday cake. Several years ago I found this recipe and it has become a family favorite. Let me tell you a little story.

I first came to know the Lord while I was in high school through the witness of a friend from school. Soon after I was saved I met a woman, Norma, from my church who was about my mother's age. I came to find out that Norma and my mother had known each other many years earlier when they had worked together in a munitions plant during WWII. My mother had even been a bridesmaid in Norma's wedding. In the intervening years Norma had come to know the Lord and started attending the little church that I attended.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Norma and my mom became reacquainted and Norma very faithfully ministered to my mom and witnessed to her over the years until one day mom professed her faith and trust in the Lord as her personal saviour too. Norma did not have an easy life as her husband was not a believer and was very unkind to her. In spite of her own trials Norma was a faithful witness and the Lord used her greatly to bless my life.

Often when I was home from college Norma would invite Mom and me over for a meal. It was at one of these meals that I first tasted apple dumplings. Norma's dumplings were absolutely delicious! From the first time I ate them I hoped that she would serve them every time we would visit.

Being the diligent home economics student that I was I also asked her how she made them. She gave me some very sketchy directions which I eventually tried, but my dumplings were nothing like Norma's.

After Rob and I were married I continued my quest for a good dumpling recipe and finally found success when I found this recipe in the book Hospitality with Confidence by Grace Pittman. It is a book that I used for several years in teaching a class on Christian hospitality.

picture of Hospitality With Confidence

These dumplings are very rich, so save them for a special treat. Grace has aptly named them:

World's Greatest Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening as if you were making biscuits. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4" thickness. (For 6 dumplings I roll it out to a 15" x 10" rectangle. For 12 dumplings 16" x 12".) Cut the dough into the number of squares desired. Place apple slices in each square. Fold the corners in to make an envelope shape. Don't worry if these look messy. Place the filled dumplings in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour the syrup over the dumplings making sure every bit of the dough is moistened by the syrup. You might want to use a spoon as you do this. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. You can reheat any leftovers.

Here are the raw dumplings being spooned with syrup:

picture of SpooningSyrup

Here are the baked dumplings, right out of the oven:

picture of Baked Dumplings

Here is a dumpling topped with ice cream, ready to be enjoyed:

picture of Dumpling with Ice Cream

These are delectable and I hope you will try them sometime. It's amazing that such simple ingredients can be combined to make such a delicious dish. It's also amazing that that a simple friendship can change the course of a life for all eternity.


P.S. Here is a picture of my faithful assistant blogger, Adelaide. She hops up beside me on the desk whenever I am at the computer.

picture of Wanda Simone

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A good apple cake recipe

We love apples here at our house. I always start getting excited about driving up to NC to look for apples about mid-August. Not many of the apple barns are open that early, but you can usually find some. We like to eat the apples raw, in salads, and in a variety of desserts. We generally buy more than we actually need and when they start to shrivel I make applesauce. One of my first blog posts was about canning applesauce. I get carried away when I find apples for $10 a bushel and just can't resist buying them.

I saw a recipe for an Upside Down Apple Cake recently and it sounded really good to me. That recipe had quite a bit of butter in it, so I did a little research and found one that was a bit more reasonable. I tried it this week and it made a very attractive and delicious cake. We ate ours with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Here's the link - I wish I could have baked one for DD Megan who is celebrating her birthday today. Maybe I can make her a belated cake when I visit next month.

If you enjoy cooking you should peruse the Simply Recipes site. I have tried several of the recipes there and have enjoyed them. Her site is very well organized and there is a picture of each recipe.

Some tips about the cake recipe: I cooked the apples in the caramel sauce until the caramel was reduced quite a bit. It had small bubbles throughout. The time probably depends a great deal on how juicy your apples are.The apples I used were called Honey Crisp. I also recommend putting the cake pan on a baking sheet. My pan was pretty full with the apples and the cake batter. It didn't run over in the oven, but a drop of caramel did bubble out. I was a bit concerned about the cornmeal in the cake batter, but you wouldn't know it was there unless someone told you.

picture of Upside Down Apple Cake

Do you have any favorite apple memories or recipes?


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Easy Winter Fruit Salad

Sometimes you just need a little something to round out a meal. This salad is one of my favorites for fall and winter when there aren't a lot of good fruits available for a pretty fruit salad.

picture of fruit salad

Winter Fruit Salad
2 medium red apples (my favorite is Gala)
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup vanilla yogurt

Core and chop apples into bite-size pieces. Combine with the grapes, mandarin oranges, and yogurt. Stir gently. Makes 5-6 servings.

All the amounts are approximate. Just use what you have. If I'm serving this on Sunday I often prepare the grapes and oranges ahead of time and then add the apple and yogurt just before the meal. Leftovers do hold up pretty well for a day or two - just stir to recombine the yogurt.



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