Cran-Apple Sauce

There are several things I miss about living New England, including a white Thanksgiving, using your garage/mudroom/outside space as a spare refrigerator during the holiday season, and the varieties of Apples I have a hard time finding in VA.  There’s more, but these three were glaringly obvious this past week as we spent the Thanksgiving Holiday with my side of the family.

My folks are fixing up an old farm house, and their mudroom is just glorious.  Not only does it get cold enough to truly serve as a spare fridge, they also have a ton of apples in storage out there.  We’ve been snacking on my favorites, MacIntoshes and Cortlands, and making pies and apple pie cake in the spare moments in between.  And thanks to a fire sale of cranberries at the grocery store we were able to make Cran-Apple Sauce, a long standing family favorite.

I very vividly remember coming home from school in the afternoon and Dad having a pot of apple sauce bubbling away on the stove, and there was nothing like a warm bowl of apple sauce after a particularly cold hockey practice or a rough day at school.  This is another one of these recipes that doesn’t have specific measurements and you can adjust it to taste, and if you feel particularly resourceful it cans beautifully.

Cran-Apple Sauce

Apples, peeled and cored,  to fill a large pot about 3/4 full

1 bag of cranberries

1 cup apple cider

About 1-2 cups sugar

Splash of lemon juice

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, ginger to taste

Add apples, lemon juice and cider to the pot and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add sugar, spices, and cranberries.  Stir and cook down until apples and cranberries are tender (at this stage, you can leave it on the stove on low for a few hours if need be).  Run mixture through a food mill–best when served warm!


Apple Pie Cake

I found the biggest apples I’ve ever seen at a local orchard the other day, and just had to bring them home.  I mean these things are huge–I would put them at almost a pound a piece.  In addition to munching happily with some cashew butter from the Mennonite store down the street, I’ve also been trying to incorporate them into some baking projects as well.

One of my favorite apple recipes is from my Godmother–it’s sweet, spicy, and perfect with a dollop of whipped cream.  This time around I swapped out whole week flour, and it still baked up moist and tender–you can’t even really tell that I made the swap.    Not only did it taste delicious, it made the entire house smell like gorgeous fall goodness!

On the horizon is going to be trying to make a green tomato and apple chutney, but that project will have to be tackled when I get back from my last recruiting trip of the season.  Soon, folks, soon!

Apple Pie Cake
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp course sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Whipped Cream to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter;  once melted blend in sugar and egg.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until blended.  Turn into a greased and floured 9 inch pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes (I always struggle to get the middle done just right–this time around I cut the oven off at the 45 minute mark and let the cake sit in the cooling oven with the door shut for about 15 minutes.  Center was done, and the cake wasn’t burnt).

An apple a day

I have this beautiful white bowl that a neighbor from home gave JGL and I for our wedding.  It’s odd shaped and grooved, and during the winter it lives down in our basement.  But when the first significant amount of tomatoes make their way into our kitchen, the bowl comes up and out and filled with the beautiful red fruit.

This time of year, though, when the tomatoes are becoming fewer, I love filling it with apples from the farmer’s market.

What our garden is producing may be slowing considerably, but I’m excited to see what the fall farmer’s market has to bring (when I’m actually here!).