Tag Archives: apples

A Change of Seasons…

It has been nearly three months since my last blog entry… It has been a full three months with some high moments and some very low ones too. On the exciting side of things, there was a trip to Spain to plan which ate up pretty much my entire August until we left on September 16th. On the very sad side of things, we came back to face my mom in law’s rapidly deteriorating health. We said our final goodbyes last Friday as she finally let go of all her suffering.

My sweet mom in law Maria has been at the core ofmany of my blog posts and my inspiration in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, both my own mom and her have been my lifelong kitchen mentors. Everything I master well, I have both of them to be utterly thankful for. I make mean soups because Maria showed me how to extract the maximum flavour in broths. I often say that Harvesting Dinner should have been named My Heritage Kitchen instead… So true.

The Funeral is talking place this week and I am honouring my second mom by baking a few things but most specifically, her infamous apple cake. I shared that recipe with you last year and I thought the best tribute I could offer is to share it once again. Please visit and enjoy Omi’s Apfelkuchen

There are a few other recipes that oozes her touch. Her Cabbage Rolls for instance are a family favourite. I made these during this past Thanksgiving weekend. I couldn’t think of a better thanksgiving meal to have while we were enjoying the cottage, this magical place that is the fruit of her and dad’s labour.

I am utterly thankful to have shadowed her in her kitchen all those years, jotting ingredients, measuring all the “a bit of this, a handful of that” so that I can recreate all of her delicious recipes. I know she will be standing by my side on Wednesday while I bake the apple cake. I know she will be tickled pink that it is the cake I chose to bake because of all the scrumptious desserts she baked, nothing was more acclaimed by all than this particular cake. And she made it often, for every occasion because you know, Apfelkuchen cures everything!

I am grateful to have had such a wonderful second mom in my life. She loved unconditionally,  showered us with more love than you can possible imagine and spoiled us rotten ALL THE TIME! She was extremely proud of her two grandsons, our Princes and she shared a very special bond with her only child, my very own King. How lucky am I that she treated me like her own daughter. I am already missing her dearly…

#apples #cabbage #cabbagerolls #applecake

 

Cabbage  Rolls 2
Cabbage Rolls 2

Omi’s Apfelkuchen

Freshly picked apples are starting to grace the farmer’s market stalls and the produce aisles of your favourite grocery store. As much as apples remind us that the end of summer is near, there is nothing like the taste of new crop apples: crisp, juicy, sweet, tart… Just like tomatoes in January, that «just picked from the orchard» taste won’t last much past the first few frosts. Apples are one of the most beloved fruits when it comes to cooking and baking. They are so versatile, so easily accessible: nothing beats a scrumptious apple pie or a fragrant apple crisp straight out of the oven! Many families have their own prized apple recipes, from baked goods to jellies, butters, chutneys and sauces.  We also have our own: Omi’s most beloved apple cake. If you have been following my blog at all, you know a bit about the Queen Mother (aka mother-in-law) and her East European background. And you also know that I shadowed her (nearly as much as my own mother) in her kitchen, absorbing as much of her culinary heritage as I possibly could. She was «famous» for many things but one dish stand above all the others: Apfelkuchen! A celebration, any celebration, would not be worthy of such a name without her cake gracing the table: it was always asked for, hoped for and gobbled up as fast as it was plated. Of course, she would make over the top huge mountains of this cake and would send off her happy guests with little care packages of the good stuff.

So without much further ado, I am presenting Omi’s infamous Apfelkuchen. It is not difficult to make but most of the ingredients must be weighed instead of being measured in volume. As for the measurements, for this particular recipe,  I have been using all metric as per the original recipe: it is a bit more precise. Although Canada has been metric since the mid-seventies, for some odd reason (probably our proximity to Imperial Unites States), our recipes are usually offered in Imperial. Thankfully, most baking tools offer both options here. Not too sure about my American friends but I am sure you can find online conversions if you so wish to make this wonderful cake. And you know, I think you should 🙂

OMI’S APPLE CAKE

What you need:
9X13 cake pan or deep rectangular casserole dish, buttered
500 g flour
225 g sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
225 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
Juice of ½ lemon
45ml sour cream
10 Macintosh apples peeled and chopped to bite size
90 ml sugar mixed with 5ml ground cinnamon
1 bit more cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
How to make it

    • Heat oven at 350°
    • Mix flour, sugar and baking powder
    • Add butter and mix with hands until well combined
    • Add the 3 eggs and lemon juice.
    • Mix with hands until dough holds like a ball and is easy to handle. If the dough is too dry, add some sour cream, a little bit at a time. This may not be necessary, it always depends of the moisture content of the flour and the yield the half lemon provides in juice
    • Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is nice and shinny and holds well together. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
    • Separate dough in half. Roll out first ball to fix greased baking sheet 9X13 and spread rolled out dough on bottom. press down to fit pan evenly. This dough quite forgiving and can handle a bit of hand manipulation. It is important that the dough is spread evenly and is snug against all the edges of the pan

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    • Peel and cut apples in thin slices. Spread in flat layers over dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix.

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    • Roll out remaining dough and spread over apples, covering all the fruit. Press down firmly, using the back end of a fork.
    • Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar

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  • Bake until golden on top, approx. 30-45 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and leave in oven another 5-10 minutes

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This cake is lovely warm, cold and even the next day!

Hazelnut Maple Baked Stuffed Apples

Coming back home to an empty fridge yet knowing I have zero intention (or motivation) of going out to a grocery store on a snowy Sunday is a challenge.  Especially after nearly 3 weeks of restaurant food; we were all craving a bit of normalcy. Don’t take me wrong here:  I loved the break and loved French food but since the vacay was over, it was time to roll up the sleeves and get cookin’.  Such a challenge is usually all the inspiration I need to whip up a meal from the stuff that keeps (root vegetables, condiments and hard fruit), the freezer buddies and the pantry. Thank goodness for my recent insanity while exploring Ottawa’s brand new Whole Foods Market: I may have over bought then and over stocked less than 10 days before departure to France but I was thankful to return to a somewhat functional kitchen. Words of wisdom before leaving for vacation: make sure your pantry,  freezer and long lasting produce are topped off BEFORE you leave. Even eggs will last at least 3-4 weeks! A quick stop to get milk and bread upon your return is all you need to get going… Yesterday, without stepping outside once, I was able to dish out a 3 course meal including these lovely baked apples, a fragrant cabbage & potato soup (Yay for bacon in the freezer), and tandoori chicken with basmati rice and peas!

The apples were a bit past prime: the skin was wrinkled a bit  which meant no one would want to chomp on one of them at this point… Perfect for cooked apples! Baked apples are nothing new in this world but I didn’t feel like searching for a recipe so this is what I came up with: rummaging through my pantry and condiment shelf in the fridge, I was happy to find roasted hazelnuts, maple syrup, butter and dried fruits. I opted for raisins and cherries but any other lovely dried fruit would do… I love the flavour of toasted nuts: I suggest hazelnuts here simply because I already had some in my pantry. You can use any nut you like as long as they are toasted to bring our maximum flavour.

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6-7 apples

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1/4 cup each dried cherries and raisins (or any dry fruit you enjoy: candied ginger works nicely here too)

1/4 cup cold butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Topping
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup
A little knob of butter per Apple
Cinnamon to sprinkle

Set oven at 325F

This recipe is super easy. Even cooler yet: I used a melon baller to core the inside of the apples. I would love to claim this genius idea as my own but alas, I am sure I am poaching it from someone else: it just decide to pop out of brain oblivion at this precise moment! So lets pretend it is my genius idea!!!

Wash the apples, cut a thin layer off the bottom so they will lay flat. Core the centre digging in from the top. Once cored, you can slice a bit off the top as well to create a flat surface

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In a small food processor, chop hazelnuts coarsely. Add the dried fruit, 1/4 cup cold butter, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and blend again until the mixture starts binding slightly together.

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Stuff each apple with this mixture and sprinkle the rest over the apples and in the baking dish. Mix the water and maple syrup together: drizzle all over the apples. Top with a little knob of butter on each and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Cover the pan with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 to 30 minutes more. Your apples are ready when the flesh is tender inside. Sometimes, the skin cracks a bit but that is fine. Serve warm plain or with a creamy delight of your choice: crème anglaise, ice cream, yogurt, crème fraîche… You get the idea!

These keep well in the fridge and warm up equally as good :). Family approved!!!

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Apple Oatmeal Muffins

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Golly gee, not another muffin recipe in the blogging world! Well, you may just want to roll up your sleeves and dive right into this one because it may just turn you back on the muffin band wagon. I think the reason I enjoy baking muffins so much is because they are so simple to make yet are so fragrant and satisfying. Muffins can also be healthier than most baked goods. Of course, they should not be confused with cupcakes which are often being passed as muffins these days. Commercially prepared muffins/cupcakes get a bad rap as being less than stellar on the nutrition front. But muffins are not cupcakes. Most «real» muffins combine whole grains, fresh fruit, buttermilk with just a bit of sweetness. Now, I am not suggesting that these baked treats are low cal however, they are chuck full of yummy goodness. And the house smells divine while they are baking… I used to own a little café and my homemade muffins were crazy popular; I even won 2nd place in the local People’s Choice Award (proud, proud, proud). I have loads of different muffin recipes but since apple season is in full swing, I thought this recipe would definitely be the best one to start with.

The trick to achieve super tender and moist muffins is to not over mix the batter. All you need to do is make sure the dry ingredients are just moistened through. And of course, do not over bake: this would dry up the muffins too much.


Dry Mix

2 ¾ cups flour

2 ½ cup rolled oats

cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Wet Mix

2 cup buttermilk

cup canola oil

¼ cup molasses

2 eggs

3 apples peeled and cut in small pieces plus 1 apple sliced thin for garnish

  • Heat oven at 375°F
  • Prepare 12 jumbo muffin tins or 24 regular size: either line with paper cups or grease with butter
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, molasses and eggs. Set aside
  • Prepare apples and reserve the slices for the garnish
  • Add wet mix to dry mix and fold together until all ingredients are barely combined
  • Sprinkle with apple pieces and stir just enough until all ingredients are moistened.
  • Divide batter in muffin tins. Top with apple slices and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and oatmeal
  • Bake 22-30 minutes for the jumbo muffins or 18-25 minutes for regular size
  • Makes 12 jumbo muffins

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