If you’re looking for fall fun the whole family can enjoy, why not plan a trip to a local apple orchard? Many orchards offer wagon rides, cider sampling and other activities in addition to allowing customers to pick their own apples. Not only are apples a tasty treat as is, but they're also a staple in many classic fall dishes, and are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. If you can’t make the trip out to a local orchard, area grocers and farmers markets also supply a wide variety of apples you can use to test the recipes below.
Danish Pastry Apple Bars
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
10 apples — peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg yolk in measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2/3 cup total liquid. Stir into flour mixture until all flour is damp. Divide the dough in half. On floured surface, roll half the dough into a rectangle and fit into a 9x13-inch pan.
In large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Put apple mixture in pan. Roll out remaining dough and place over apples. Seal edges and cut slits in top dough. Beat egg white till frothy and brush on crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.
Topsy-Turvy Apple Pie
Glaze and Crust
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 box (15 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
Whipped cream, if desired
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In 9-inch glass pie pan, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Spread evenly in bottom of pan. Arrange pecans over mixture. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie, placing bottom crust over mixture in pan.
In small bowl, mix granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon. Arrange half of apple slices in crust-lined pan. Sprinkle with half of sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining apple slices and sugar mixture. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.
Place pie on sheet of foil on middle oven rack in oven; bake 8 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake 35 to 45 minutes longer or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Immediately run knife around edge of pie to loosen. Place serving plate upside down over pie; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan.
Serve warm or cool with whipped cream.
Hot Apple Cider
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 lemon peel, cut into strips
Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.
Apple-Jack Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions
3 tablespoons butter
2 large sweet onions (such as Maui or Walla Walla), very thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated classic pizza crust
1 unpeeled large Red Delicious apple, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup cooked real bacon bits (from 3-ounce package)
2 medium green onions, sliced (2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
In 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add sweet onions and thyme; cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove onions from skillet; set aside.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough on cookie sheet; press dough into 14x10-inch rectangle. Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, in same skillet, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add apple and sugar; cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted and apple is slightly soft.
Spread onion mixture over partially baked crust. Top evenly with chicken, apple mixture, bacon, green onions and cheeses.
Bake 10 to 20 minutes longer or until cheeses are melted and crust is golden brown.
Handle With Care
To maximize your apple-eating experience, Ohio Apples provides the following tips for selecting, storing and preparing apples:
- Select apples that are bruise-free and handle apples gently to prevent bruising.
- Select apples that are firm to the touch for the best flavor and crunchiness.
- Store apples in the refrigerator to slow ripening and maintain flavor.
- Wash individually sold apples in cool water before serving.
- Store apples away from strong-smelling foods to prevent them from absorbing unpleasant odors.
- Coat apple slices and dices in a mixture of one part lemon juice to three parts water — or Vitamin C-fortified 100 percent apple juice — to resist browning.
Visit www.ohioapples.org for information on choosing the right apple, award-winning recipes from local residents, a guide to Ohio orchards and more.