Monday, September 29, 2014

We Like 'Dem Apples

We had a wonderful Applepalooza on Saturday, even if it did feel warmer than your average fall day. Several friends came, though most of them didn't know each other.  So it was a great get-to-know-each-other gathering.  Even the kids made some new friends, while playing yard games like tic tac toe and lawn darts, plus chalk in the driveway, soccer and basketball.  And we all enjoyed some wonderful apple treats, including four apple crisps, two cakes, and a casserole.  But not a single pie!

We were especially lucky because Goo came up for the party.  He spent Friday night with us, staying up late as we sat around a campfire outside talking and even singing.  Then Saturday morning, he did our rounds to kung fu and ice skating.  And he made a wonderful apple cake from Alton Brown.  We were so glad he could share the day with us (and he was a big help with setting up and cleaning up.)


Apple Cake a la Alton Brown
The creamed:
227 g/8 oz/1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but not melting (70°F)
397 g/14 oz/2 cups sugar
The eggs:
100 g/3 ½ oz/2 large eggs, beaten
14 g/½ oz/1 tablespoon vanilla extract
The dry goods:
270 g/9 ½ oz/2 cups all purpose flour
12 g/½ oz/2 teaspoons baking soda
6 g/<¼ oz/1 teaspoon salt
3 g/<1 cinnamon="" ground="" oz="" p="" teaspoon="">3 g/<1 freshly="" grated="" nutmeg="" oz="" p="" teaspoon="">The extras:
454 g/1 lb/4 cups apples, cored and roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces or smaller; don’t peel (I like Galas)
2 cups pecans, chopped
Baker’s Joy or AB’s Kustom Kitchen Lube for the pan (see Notes)
Digital scale
Dry measuring cups
Wet measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Nutmeg grater or microplane
Chef’s knife
Cutting board
12-cup Bundt pan (This is the classic Bundt. The fancier flower and castle shapes usually have a 10-cup capacity.)
Food processor
Large mixing bowl
Stand mixer with paddle attachment
Rubber or silicone spatula
Cooling rack
Place an oven rack in position C (second position from the top) and preheat the oven to 275°F.

Prepare the Bundt pan (see Notes) and set aside.

Assemble the ingredients via the Creaming Method, folding in the apples and pecans last.

The Creaming Method:

1. Scale or measure all ingredients. Fats should be pliable but solid (no sign of melting). If kitchen temp is over 70°F, chill the mixing bowl.

2. Combine all Dry Goods (except sugar) by pulsing in food processor.

3. In a small bowl, beat eggs together along with any extracts.

4. Using a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, mix the fat(s) alone for a minute to spread them around the bowl. Add sugar(s) slowly and beat until mixture lightens noticeably in texture and increases slightly in volume.

5. Reduce the speed to “stir” and add the eggs very slowly, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

6. Work in the Dry Goods in three installments alternating with any additional liquids, such as milk. Always start with the dry ingredients and finish with the wet for a smoother batter.

7. Stir in any bits and/or pieces (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.).

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake until the internal temperature reaches 212°F, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Wrapped tightly, this will keep for 5 days.

Apple Cake a la Smitten Kitchen
6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Apple Cranberry Casserole
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup raw cranberries (or blueberries)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup oatmeal
3 cups unpeeled, diced apples
1/2 cup nuts
dash of salt

Pour melted butter over sugars.  Mix oatmeal and flour.  Stir together apples, cranberries, nuts, cinnamon, and salt.  Toss all mixtures together, pour into 1 1/2 quart baking dish and bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Serve like a vegetable, especially good with ham) or as dessert over pound cake or ice cream.

Miss C.A.

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