An Apple-demic


It has really been a long while since I’ve posted! I can’t believe that the summer is gone already and that fall is upon us! While I lament the passing of the warm sunny days and going to the swimming pool, there are certainly many aspects of fall that I look forward to. One of the best things about fall, in my opinion, is the official arrival of apple season!

Now, I don’t know if my readers know, but I grew up in Saudi Arabia. While this may not seem relevant to fall, let me give you a bit of background. I grew up knowing three types of apples: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. I didn’t know that there were any other kinds. Imagine my surprise and delight when upon moving to the Northeast, I discovered endless varieties of apples to be had! Fuji, Gala, Mutlu, Macintosh, Spartan, the list goes on and on!

Since our CSA runs through October, we are naturally partaking in the apple festivities!  Not only do we get fresh-pressed apple cider, we get bags and bags of apples!  We were literally overflowing with apples!  As a bonus, we also got a bag of Barlett pears!  I love my pears!

Well, what would you do with more apples that you can consume?  Why, make a pie, naturally!  AND, it happened to be my little brother’s birthday, so why not make TWO pies?  I know, crazy, right?  It was like a pie factory in our apartment!  My daughter had lots of fun helping.  While she didn’t get to wield a knife (she’s only 2.5!) she did enjoy helping me put all the apples into the bowl and then mixing the apples in the sugar mixture.  She also enjoyed eating the apple filling out of the mixing bowl as I rolled out the crusts.

The pies kept our apartment smelling delicious with the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and apples, which is a perfect way to welcome fall into our house.  Happy fall everyone!

Apple-Pear Pie


1 1/2 C Bartlett Pears, peeled, cored and chopped – about 3 med-sized pears

2 1/2 C apples (whatever variety) peeled, cored and chopped – about 6 small/med-sized apples

1 C granulated sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 T flour

Crust (makes top and bottom crust):

2 C flour

2/3 C shortening

1/2 tsp salt

6 T cold water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.  Let sit.  The mixture will accumulate water as it sits.

2. Cut shortening into flour and salt until you have coarse crumbs.  Add cold water 1 T at a time, mixing as you go.  The dough will be ready when it pulls away from the bowl and is smooth.

3. Divide dough into two even pieces.  Roll out one piece into a large circle so that it is larger than the pie dish.  Place in the bottom of a glass pie dish so that it comes up the sides with about 1/2 and inch of overhang.  Use a fork to punch holes in the bottom of the crust.  This will help ensure that when the pie is baking, the crust won’t form bubbles.

4. Pour filling into pie crust in dish.  Roll out the other pie crust so that it is at least a inch larger than the pie dish.  Fold into quarters and use scissors to cut vents into the top of the crust.  Take the crust and fold the edges to seal the bottom and the top crust together.

5. Cover the crust edges with aluminum foil.  Place a covered sheet pan on the rack below the pie rack.  Place pie in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Take off the aluminum foil and bake for 25 more minutes.  Take out the pie and let cool.


What to Do With Fruit on the Fly?


As my daughter gets older, she is more and more curious about what my husband and I do as part of our routine. She especially loves to help “clean” our apartment and get food ready to cook. We try and be as inclusive of our everyday tasks as we can, even if it ends up taking twice as long!  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love to bake. I haven’t baked anything new in a long while, but this week-end, I felt the inspiration bug. We had all this great fruit in the apartment that was just screaming to be made into baked goods and I just couldn’t resist!

I decided to make blueberry apple muffins. I made regular size muffins and some mini-muffins for my daughter.  My daughter couldn’t help with the chopping of apples but had a great time “taste-testing” them as they appeared on the cutting board in tiny, chopped up pieces.  She also sampled some of the blueberries as I washed them and got them ready to add into the batter.  She especially loved putting the muffin cups into the tin, spooning the batter into the different cups, and then sprinkling the sugar on top.

These turned out quite tasty and were very quick and simple.  I adapted the blueberry muffin recipe from Magnolia Bakery’s cookbook since I didn’t have enough blueberries (as called out in the recipe) and I had some apples to spare.  I always seem to put more fruit in these things than what’s called for in the recipe, I just think it’s so yummy!

My daughter loved these things.  She watched them cook through the oven window and the moment they came out of the oven she wanted to eat them, steaming hot.  For a quick and easy recipe, this was a great one to try.  You could probably use this with any fruit you have lying around!

Blueberry Apple Muffinsadapted from Magnolia Bakery’s Blueberry Muffin recipe

(makes 12 regular size and 12 mini muffins)

3 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C plus 1 T (for sprinkling) sugar

1 1/2 T baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 C buttermilk

6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C blueberries

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces (about 1 C – I used a Jonagold)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place muffin cups into the muffin tins

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.  Pour in all liquid ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries and apples.

4. Fill muffin cups and lightly sprinkle w/ sugar on top.  Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden or a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Do not overbake.