Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Apple A Day...

Apples are coming in and I am happy. They make me think of fall, they make me think of school, they make me think of comfort. As a kid I didn’t really love them because thinking back they remind me of the tasteless red delicious apples you would get in the sack lunch provided by school on field trips to the zoo. Although as an adult I have tried many more varieties of apples and understand now the complexity this fruit has. I believe I have also found a good use for those boring red delicious apples (they make the best baby food and apple sauce). Is it true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Where did that come from anyways???

Farm Apple Cake with Maple Glaze
Serves 10-12
For the cake:
6 ounces butter, room temperature
½ cup natural cane sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ pounds apples, cored and cut into chunks
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
For the glaze:
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
Heat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a bundt pan. Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla. With the mixer on low slowly add the wet mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Combine all of the dry ingredients (through nutmeg) together in yet another bowl and add in batches to the wet mixture. Scrape down the bowl then fold in the apples and nuts if using. Evenly spread into the prepared bundt pan and bake for about an hour or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then remove to a rack and allow to cool more while you make the glaze.
Combine the butter, syrup, and cream in a medium bowl. Using a fine sieve, sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and whisk to combine until smooth. Stir in the pecans if using. Allow to cool before you glaze the cake with it. 

Baby’s Apples (Stage 1, Smooth Beginnings)

4 apples, about a pound (sweeter varieties are recommended such as Red Delicious or Gala)
Cinnamon (optional)

 To Steam: Peel, core and chop fruit into 1/2-inch pieces. Place fruit and cinnamon (if using) in a steamer basket set in a pan with just enough water to come up to the bottom of the basket.  Steam the fruit on medium high heat with the lid on for 8 minutes or until the fruit is tender when pierced with a fork. Stir the apples after a few minutes of cooking.  Allow the apples to cool then puree and store.
To Roast: Place washed and cored apples in a small glass baking dish. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon (if using).  Bake the fruit at 350 degrees for 45 min or until the fruit is tender. Allow the apples to cool then scoop the flesh with a spoon, puree and store.
To Microwave: Place the fruit and cinnamon (if using) in a 1 1/2 qt.- 2 qt. glass dish with a lid.  Add just enough water to cover the bottom.  Microwave on high for 6-8 minutes stopping to stir after a few minutes of cooking. Cook until the apples are easily pierced with a fork. Allow the apples to cool then puree and store

Storage: Allow cooked fruit to cool before pureeing and then again to room temperature (not exceeding 2 hours) before storing. Store in 4 oz. canning jars filled to 1 inch below the rim of the jar.  This is called the “headspace” and allows room for expansion in the freezer.  Freeze in 2-4 oz. portions. 
Thaw: Allow fruit to thaw in refrigerator over night.  If you must quick thaw do so in the microwave in the glass jar on half power in 10-20 second intervals.  Always check the temperature of your baby’s food before serving.  You can thin out consistency with expressed breast milk or formula.
Serve:  Use a clean spoon to dish out portions of food form the storage jar.  Never refreeze a thawed food.  Only thaw and heat what you intend on using. 

Teething Trick: Steam peeled and cored apple slices for about 10 minutes then cool and freeze.  Give to baby as a soothing treat for the gums!

Apple Fact:  Apples contain pectin, which can slow things down, but pectin also helps stimulate bacteria in baby’s bowels that help process solids.

 Thanks for reading - V


  1. The baby applesauce sounds great. My baby will be heading into solids in the next several months, so I might make some now to have on hand. I love the idea of making my own applesause, and I love apple butter!

  2. I just discovered your blog thanks to Alton Brown's recommendation, and I just love it. I've already bookmarked 7 or 8 recipes to try. We just went apple picking this weekend here in New Hampshire. Not all varieties are quite ready yet, but I got about 10 lbs each of Macs (for applesauce) and Honey Crisps (for eating). Can't wait until the Granny Smiths and Braeburns come in for baking. Looking forward to trying your recipes...

  3. I LOVE APPLES! I LOVE APPLE SEASON!!! Caren I got a bunch of Honey Crisps this weekend too! The Gala's have turned out amazing in here in Wisconsin this year. They are really sweet. Granny's are one of my all time favs I like to dip them in caramel.