Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Apple stock is on the rise

By JANINE GILBERTSON September 13. 2017 12:13AM
Fried apple rings dredged in cinnamon sugar. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

As I drive around the Monadnock Region, I am reminded it’s apple season. Apples are falling off apple trees, plunking to the ground to rot or become food for deer and other animals. When I see all those apple-covered trees, it reminds me how fortunate we are to have all this beautiful food around us, especially when there are people in the world who die of starvation.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh New Hampshire apples, especially from a local orchard or a farmers market, then now is the time to stock up. Don’t be afraid to load up; there are many ways to put all those crisp, delicious apples to good use.

I have an apple corer-peeler-slicer gadget that my wise mother gave me long ago. I pull that thing out annually and get to work. This year I prepped a big pile of apples and put them in a crockpot with a little sugar, some lemon juice and cinnamon and made a huge batch of applesauce. Fresh apple sauce made from local apples bears little resemblance to the bland, thin store-bought version of applesauce put out by big food companies and it takes almost no time to make.

If you have a few apple slices to use up, try frying them. A buttermilk batter is easy to assemble and once battered, just drop the slices in some hot oil and fry them up. Sprinkle them with a little cinnamon sugar and you’re done. They remind me a little of the taste of homemade apple cider doughnuts, so if you’re into those, you will love fried apple slices. A little vanilla ice cream served with them never hurt, either.

If you want to try something different with apples instead of making a pie, try an apple cake. I used a springform pan to bake a cake-crumble creation (I was not sure it would hold together, but it did) that used just a handful of ingredients and was delicious served warm.

Of course, there are always caramel apples that make an excellent treat for fall. You can get creative and try a reverse caramel apple by hollowing out the center of the apple and stuffing it with caramels, then baking it in the oven. Garnish with a little chopped pecans and get out a spoon to enjoy.

Whatever you do, don’t let this season’s apple bounty go to waste. 

Crockpot Applesauce

3 lbs apples, peeled. cored and chopped

½ cup sugar

1½ tsp cinnamon 

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a medium sized crockpot. Cover and set to high. Cook for three to four hours, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened. Use a potato masher to break up any large pieces, then serve.

Fried Apple Rings

4 tart apples, such as granny smith

1 cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

vegetable oil for frying

For topping:

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix the egg and buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture and combine well. Mix the sugar and cinnamon for the topping and set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Pat the apple rings down with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat to 350°F. When the oil is heated, dip the apple rings in the batter one at a time. Fry the rings in small batches, turning them to ensure browning on both sides.

Once the rings are golden and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain, then dredge in the cinnamon sugar and set on a plate to serve.
Caramel stuffed apples with a chopped pecan topping. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Caramel Stuffed Apples

1 large, firm apple

5 soft caramel candies 

1 tbsp chopped pecans

Slice the top quarter of the apple off with a knife and set aside. Using a melon baller, carefully scoop out the core of the apple, leaving about 1/4 inch remaining on the bottom. Unwrap the caramels and stuff them inside the apple, then set the top back on. Set the apple in a large muffin tin (if it fits, if not, use a baking sheet or other dish) and cover with more foil. Place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the apple is softened and the skin begins to wrinkle slightly. Remove from oven, remove the top and garnish with pecans before serving.

Easy Apple Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1½ tsp cinnamon

2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces

4 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and 1.2 tsp of the cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture forms pea-size pieces. 

Spray a springform pan lightly with cooking spray. Press 2/3 of the mixture in the bottom and about one inch up the side of the pan. Peel and core apples, cut into thin slices, and place in a bowl. Toss apple slices with remaining cinnamon and lemon juice, and put them in the springform pan, pressing down as you pack them in. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top. Set the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set.


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