Apples: Crisp, fragrant, flavorful and delicious

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You just can’t beat the beauty, fragrance and juicy crunch of healthful apples.

The bright, tumbling arrays of apples at the markets are so tempting that I must dedicate another column to their crunchy, healthful goodness. Here-with, some favorites from my files, beginning with a heavenly memory from the old cast iron skillet days. Serve this for breakfast, brunch or supper; it’s a winner!

Oven Apple

Pancakes

(4-6 servings)

2 large, firm cooking apples, peeled, cored sliced

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons butter

3 eggs

½ cup whole milk or light cream

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss apple slices with the maple syrup and lemon juice and set aside. Melt the butter in a medium cast-iron skillet and remove from heat.

Beat eggs and milk in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.

In another bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and salt and whisk in the egg mixture until smooth.

Hoosier Grilled

‘Sammie Surprise

(For 4)

4 tablespoons butter, softened

8 slices cinnamon raisin bread (or other)

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

Cream cheese

1 Golden Delicious apple (or other large tender/crisp apple), thinly sliced

Lay out bread slices for preparing sandwiches.

Spread butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread. On four of the unbuttered sides of bread, spread equal amounts of peanut butter; place apple slices evenly over peanut butter and spread cream cheese on facing (top) slice.

Top with remaining bread, buttered sides out — making four complete sandwiches ready for grilling.

Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook sandwiches in batches, if necessary, for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden.

Serve immediately, sliced diagonally.

Variation: instead of peanut butter, place 4 (or more) slices mozzarella or Cheddar cheese and top evenly with apple slices.

Replace cream cheese with mayo or salad dressing as desired.

Grill until golden and cheeses are melted.

Cabbage

Apple Slaw

2-3 cups cored, peeled apples, cut into cubes

3 cups shredded green cabbage

½ cup finely chopped dates (or raisins)

½ cup finely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons lime juice, separated

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon cane sugar

½ teaspoon ground ginger

Salt, pepper to taste

Prepare apples, toss in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon lime juice to keep from browning. Shred cabbage, place in large salad bowl; toss with the dates and walnuts.

Make dressing: Mix remaining tablespoon of lime juice, mayo, sugar, ginger.

Add apples/lime juice to cabbage, tossing to combine ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and mix well; salt to taste. Cover and chill before serving.

Apples have always starred at the dessert table — as witness these two delights.

Apple Maple

Cream Pie

Crust: Unbaked 9- or 10-inch crusts for two-crust pie

Filling:

6 cups peeled, sliced baking apples

1 cup pure cane sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup pure maple syrup

½ cup whipping cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. For filling, place prepared apples, sugar, cornstarch and salt in large bowl, tossing to thoroughly coat apples.

Combine maple syrup and whipping cream in small bowl; pour over apple mixture. Refrigerate until needed.

Prepare bottom crust and place in pie-pan; spoon filling into shell. Moisten pastry edge with water, place top crust over and trim ½-inch beyond edge of pie-pan.

Fold top edge over bottom crust and pinch/flute edges tightly together. Cut slits in top for steam escape. If you wish, you may glaze the top by brushing milk evenly over crust, and sprinkling lightly with sugar.

Bake at 400F for 50-60 minutes, until evenly light golden brown and bubbly.

Apple Oatmeal

Cookies

1/3 cup EACH vegetable oil, brown sugar, molasses

1 egg

1 cup white flour

½ teaspoon EACH baking powder, baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt (if desired)

¼ teaspoon EACH nutmeg and cinnamon

¼ cup dry milk

1 cup peeled apples, grated

½ cup raisins or chopped dates

1¼ cups quick rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, molasses and egg.

In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and combine together. Add to the oil mixture. Stir in apples, raisins and oats and mix ingredients well. Drop by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on lightly oiled baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges; remove to a rack to cool.

Valle Novak writes the Country Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Daily Bee. She can be reached at bcdailybee@bonnercountydailybee.com. or by phone at 208-265-4688 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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