Two-Crust Caramel Apple Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 96/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 86

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     For my birthday we went apple picking as per my request since it is my favorite fall activity, and thus we had a ton of apples chilling in the fridge. The most normal thing to do with so many apples was to make an apple pie. My boyfriend loves caramel even more than he does apples I think, so I decided to try making this caramel apple pie recipe. It is a traditional apple pie but with a caramel flavor. However, I think that I did not let the sugar caramelize long enough because the caramel flavor was more subtle than I would have like. I guess I was worried that the caramel would burn, since the line between a perfect amber caramel and burnt caramel is very fine. Nonetheless, the pie was good, caramel was oozing out of the pie and we destroyed it in a matter of days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples, such as Mutsu or Granny Smith
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Turbinado or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Pulled the chilled pie dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with flour, and place it on a parchment- or foil-lined baking tray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of the pastry to just under ¼ inch thick. Lift the rolled dough, line the pie plate with it and sprinkle the pastry with the oats. Roll out the second disc of pastry to ¼ inch thick and cut a one-inch hole in the centre of the pastry so that the steam can escape as the pie bakes. Chill both the line pie plate and rolled top crust while preparing the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot, bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil the sugar without stirring, ocassionnally brushing the sides of the pot with water, until the sugar caramelizes, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the apples all at once at stir to coat.
  5. Add the butter and cinnamon to the caramel-apple mixture and stir. Once the juices return the a simmer, remove the pot from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Pull the chilled pie shell from the fridge and pour the apples and all the juices into it. Do not worry about the excess liquid, the juices will be absorbed into the apples as the pie bakes.
  7. Top the fruit with the second rolled piece of pie pastry. Trim the excess dough and pinch the edges of the pastries into a decorative pattern, if you so desire.
  8. Whisk the egg with the water, and brush the pie dough with the mixture to obtain a golden brown color as it bakes. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. One the prepared baking tray, bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Let the pie cool at least 3 hours before slicing, or chill to serve cold.

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Valerie

Apple-Raisin Walnut Bars

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 20 bars (one 8-inch square pan)
Recipe: 88/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 63

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     Oh how the months have passed me by! They fled at the speed of light. Almost December already! Finally having some free time on my hand and a spare apple to use, I decided to make these apple-raisin walnut bars. Let me tell you, these are delightful!! They are ultra moist with all the right flavors: apple, the sweetness of raisins and that touch of cinnamon. I had never used applesauce in a recipe, especially not combined with grated apples, but this combination generated such moistness that I will use this trick in the future. Let’s not forget the pleasant texture and nutty flavor provided by the walnuts. Don’t be fooled by the presence of raisins, this recipe makes for a delicious dessert or late-night snack. If you closed your eyes you (maybe) even wouldn’t know that they’re there. You have to trust me on this one. Go for it.

Ingredients for bars:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnut pieces

Ingredients for glaze:

  • ⅓  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or apple juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat after each addition.
  4. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and beat well until blended.
  6. Stir in the grated apple, raisins and walnut pieces. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean. When there is about 15 minutes left of baking, start preparing the glaze.
  7. For the glaze, stir all the ingredients together in a small saucepot except for the vanilla extract. Bring up to a simmer, stirring often. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  8. Once the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze over the hot cake and let it cool completely in the pan before removing it to slice into bars. Enjoy!

Valerie

Cinnamon-Apple Almond Streusel Squares

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: one 8-inch square pan, about 20 squares
Recipe: 85/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 72

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Bars

     Surplus of both apples and free time has led me to make these cinnamon-apple almond streusel squares. As Anna writes in her cookbook, this dessert does indeed smell like apple pie in the making, but it takes considerable less effort to make! The taste is as expected: the deliciousness of apples merged with cinnamon and butter. The format of these squares makes them easy to eat and to share!

Ingredients for base:

  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

Ingredients for streusel:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 ½ cups peeled ad coarsely grated tart apple such as Granny Smith
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. For the base, mix together in a food processor the ground almonds, flour and icing sugar. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a rough and crumbly texture. Alternatively, you can mix all the ingredients but the butter in a bowl, then cut in the butter using your hands or a fork. Press this mixture into the prepared pan and chill it while preparing the streusel.
  3. For the streusel, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Cut in the butter by hand until a rough and crumbly mixture is obtained.
  4. Stir in the grated apple until it is coated with the flour and sugar mixture. Gently press this onto the chilled base.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes, until it just begins to turn golden. Cool completely before slicing, and dust with icing sugar to garnish.

Valerie

Apple Cheddar Walnut Scones

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 8 scones
Recipe: 64/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 228

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     This weekend I had the good fortune of remembering that scones are delicious: crunchy on the outside yet moist and tender on the inside. As such, I made these apple cheddar walnut scones and was very pleased with the result! The cheddar cheese called for in this recipe adds a tangy kick that is very pleasing. I have found that scones are one of my favorite things to make because they require no eggs, not a lot of butter and they eat themselves! 

Ingredients:

  • 1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 60 g (2 oz.) coarsely grated old cheddar cheese
  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/3 cup cold milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces, lightly toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, celery salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  3. Cut in the chilled butter using your fingers or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Pieces of butter will still be visible.
  4. Stir in the cheddar cheese and grated apple to coat with the flour mixture.
  5. Add in the milk and stir until the dough begins to come together, then turn it out on a lightly floured work surface.
  6. Sprinkle the walnuts over the dough and work them in by flattening the dough with your hands, folding it over itself, and repeating the process 4-5 times until the walnuts are well incorporated into the dough.
  7. Shape the dough into a disc and flatten it out with your hands until it is about 8 inches across. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
  8. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Notes from Anna:

  • The scones are best served the day they are baked, but they can be reheated for 5 minutes in a 300°F oven to refresh them.

Valerie

Apple Cookie Crumble

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: enough for 6-8 people
Recipe: 53/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 125

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     This is the second dessert of the Thanksgiving weekend. I made this mostly for my sisters, who adore apple crumble. This dessert is very easy to do, which is a big plus. It is also one of those desserts that tastes way better than it looks. When the crumble came out of the oven I was quite surprised as I found that it wasn’t very appetizing. Frankly, I didn’t think it looked very good. Nonetheless, I offered it to my sisters and they were adamant that it is excellent and one of the best desserts I have ever made. Doubtful, I had a piece myself and was happily surprised. Apple crumble + cookie… who would’ve thought (well Anna, obviously!) ? It was delicious!! It is hard to explain, I guess it’s just something you have to try yourself. I can at least tell you that if you like apple crumble and you like cookies, you will love this. Truly a great combination. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 5 apples) such as Granny Smith, Cortland, etc.
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Basic Brown Sugar Cookie Dough

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Toss the apples with the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Spread them in an 8-cup baking dish.
  3. Prepare the cookie dough recipe and stir in the additional 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into the dough.
  4. Crumble the pieces of the cookie dough over the apples, making sure to leave gaps here and there to leave room for the dough to expand.
  5. Bake the crumble for 35-40 minutes, until the top of the crumble has become a golden color and the bottom is cooked. Let the crumble cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Valerie