Thursday, September 3, 2015

Apples for The Holidays

I recently visited my local farmer’s market.  I bought and taste tested different types of apples and learned how each variety gives different results when baked, snacked-on or cooked with. Here is a grid with some of the apples I found to help you out.
























Back home growing-up, both my parents worked long hours in the retail business, which meant that I often found myself with extra time in my mother’s kitchen. I was eleven years old when I attempted to bake my first apple pie; I poured the flour onto the butter, added loads of sugar, molded it onto a round cake pan and… my first pie crust was a total disaster, but I did salvage the oven baked apples. 

We all have our baking mishaps, stories we can reminisce over or laugh about years later. TODAY, I am creating new kinds of memories. Today, my baking memories include my children. For us baking-time has become an integral part of our bonding and new-found memories.

As a single mom, I don’t always have my daughters at my Rosh Hashanah table. There is a definite void when your children are not there and I know I am not alone in these feelings.  I encourage all to welcome any single mother you might know to your holiday table, this can actually make a positive difference.

To enhance this holiday season, I’ve established a new family ritual that reinforces my little family: apple picking before the chaggim (holidays). Picking our apples and then pre-holiday baking with the apples is an activity we will always be able to have and cherish.

Apple pie remains a seasonal classic, but this year I wanted to explore out-of-the-box apple cakes or sweets, the ones with a slight twist compared to the standard apple cake. Most of these recipes would be perfect for your breakfast table during the chaggim  (holidays) and that is why I preferred to use butter and other dairy in most of them.

From my family to yours, wishing you a wonderful holiday season with lots of new-found baking memories, Shana Tovah to a sweet new year! (Featured on Joy of Kosher)




Growing up in Montreal, Quebec, I can assure maple syrup is synonymous with Canadian culture. A staple in many homes, I see this Maple-Apple Upside-Down cake as a wonderful addition to your holiday breakfast table. Moist and delicious, the baked apples on top of the cake give it that beautiful rustic feel.





















I love apple crisps, but now I love them even more with a blend of pears and a touch of orange zest. You can adapt this one easily into a pareve recipe by substituting the butter with the margarine sticks.





















I love apple crisps, but now I love them even more with a blend of pears and a touch of orange zest. You can adapt this one easily into a pareve recipe by substituting the butter with the margarine sticks.














For a light or gluten free dessert after a full-course meal or to cleanse one’s palette after a fishy appetizer, a green apple sorbet might be a perfect option.






Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake







































I LOVE THIS APPLE RECIPE! Growing up in Montreal, Quebec, I can assure maple syrup is synonymous with Canadian culture. A staple in many homes, I see this Maple-Apple Upside-Down cake as a wonderful addition to your holiday breakfast table. Moist and delicious, the baked apples on top of the cake give it that beautiful rustic feel.

DURATION: 110 MIN | COOK TIME: 90 MIN | PREP TIME: 20 MIN | SERVING SIZE: 8

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Granny Smith apples (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then simmer over low heat until it thickens and is reduced to 3/4 cup, this should take about 20 minutes. Pour the syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the apples in the pan slightly overlapping them.

3. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, for about 3-4 minutes.

4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones in alternating batches. Scrape the batter over the apples and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, until golden on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

5. Allow the cake to cool down on a rack for 30 minutes. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate; you might need to tap the top lightly to release the cake. Let the cake cool slightly, and its ready to be served.

Quince Hand Pies



Growing-up in a traditional Moroccan home, every Rosh Hashanah dinner my mom served-up delicious caramelized quinces cooked with cinnamon and sugar. I adapted her recipe into hand pies. You can always replace quinces with apples; and for a nice touch, you can insert a cake-pop stick onto to turn them into pie pops. 

DURATION: 120 MIN | COOK TIME: 20 MIN | PREP TIME: 35 MIN
SERVING SIZE: 20 HAND PIES

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 quinces, peeled, cored and cut into slices
2 tablespoons of cinnamon

For the egg wash

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients from the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 cup sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, and beat until just combined. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla extract; beat until well combined. Add the reserved flour mixture, and beat until smooth. Form the dough into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap; flatten into a disk, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. In the meantime, peel, rinse and slice your quinces.

4. Bring mixture of water, lemon juice, half the sugar and quinces to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed, and quinces have softened. Quinces need more cook time than apples, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour; roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 20 rounds, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

6. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a small bowl of ice water. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Place 2-3 apple wedges onto the center of a round, and brush ice water around the edges. Fold round in half; using a fork, press down on edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds. Chill 30 minutes.

7. Remove pies from refrigerator, and brush tops with egg white. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over tops. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve.

Dough recipe credit: Martha Stewart





Apple & Pear Crisp



























I love apple crisps, but now I love them even more with a blend of pears and a touch of orange zest. You can adapt this one easily into a pareve recipe by substituting the butter with the Earth Balance margarine sticks.

DURATION: 70 MIN | COOK TIME: 60 MIN | PREP TIME: 10 MIN | SERVING SIZE:6-8

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 pounds ripe Bosch pears (4 pears)
  • 2 pounds firm Cortland apples (6 apples)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 ½ stick of cold butter

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Peel, core, and cut the pears and apples into nice chunks. Toss the fruit in a bowl with orange zest, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

For the topping:

3. Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.

4. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

This recipe was adapted from one made by Ina Garten.

Green Apple Sorbet




For a light or gluten free dessert after a full-course meal or to cleanse one’s palette after a fishy appetizer, a green apple sorbet might be a perfect option. No ice cream machine necessary!


DURATION: 30 MIN (plus 2 hours for freezing) | PREP TIME: 15 MIN |  6 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 granny smith apples
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1⁄3 cups apple juice
  • Green food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS

1.Peel, cut, core and coarsely slice the apples.

2. In a saucepan place the apples along with lemon juice, sugar, and apple juice.

3. Boil for approximately 3 to 5 minutes or until soft.

4. Remove the green apple mixture from heat and cool.

5. Place in a blender or food processor and puree the green apple mixture until smooth.

6. Strain and transfer to a container. Stir in droplets of green food coloring, mix well and place the green apple sorbet mixture in the freezer.

7. When the green apple sorbet is completely frozen, remove from the freezer and place in a food processor or blender and puree again. Return to the freezer until ready to use.

8. Ice cream maker option: churn your apple mixture into your ice cream make for 30 minutes or until the consistency is thick and smooth. Place in a container and freeze for a couple of hours. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.