October 25, 2011

Apples.....Warm and Spicy!

"She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a
little crab tree and look up at the apples,
to make you feel the goodness of planting
and tending and harvesting at last."
- Willa Cather

A Maine House Mosaic

The Maine House is celebrating each day this week as the beautiful days of October dwindle. October is my favorite month of the year. I dream of it, I long for it, and I savor it. This month just steals my heart. It is the month for apple baking! Doesn't it just warm your soul to have the cinnamon and nutmeg scents fill your home? We are going to begin our week by preparing two of these wonderful autumn apple desserts or side dishes if you prefer, and incorporate some of our orchard apples we picked on Friday. Happy are our days!

Estelle's Stuffed Baked Apples
6 Granny Smith apples
(or a variation of apple types), stemmed and cored
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the insides of the cored apples with lemon juice. Mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the cider, in a medium-sized bowl. Divide the mixture and fill all six apples equally. Place apples in a 5-qt. oval sauté pan, or any ovenproof baking dish. If there's extra filling, sprinkle around the pan. Pour the cider or apple juice into the bottom of the baking dish and bake uncovered for 35 — 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft. As the apples bake, baste 2-3 times with the pan juices. Serve warm and finish with whipped topping, ice cream and/or caramel sauce.

Estelle's Skillet Apples with Cranberries
6 large apples (Granny Smith or Cortland apples)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
6 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup granola

Peel and core the apples. Slice into thick slices. To keep slices from turning brown, toss them with lemon juice. In a large saucepan or skillet, melt the butter. Add apple slices and sauté over medium heat—stirring constantly—for about six to ten minutes or until tender and just beginning to change color. Combine cornstarch and water and stir into the apples. Gently stir in brown sugar and spices. Add cranberries. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about three to five minutes, stirring a few times. Sprinkle with granola and drizzle with a few tablespoons of melted butter. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream.

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