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by Heather Harris-Brady
Local apples are starting to come in and I made this cake as a way to use up some of the beautiful Gingergolds I picked up. Gingergolds are a cross between Golden Delicious and Newton Pippins. They are a lovely golden green:
with a gorgeous sweet-tart flavor and crisp bite. These apples are not built for long-term storage, so you have to enjoy them early in the season. I decided to pair them with a mix of spices, sugar and local honey. The recipe below is based on Eliza Acton’s classic gingerbread recipe from the 1800s, with a few tweaks of my own.
Gingergold Cake, Makes one 9″ cake
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c. molasses
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c. honey
- 2 T. ground ginger (Not powdered, actual ground gingerroot)
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. allspice
- Zest of one lemon (important!)
- 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. light wholewheat flour
- 6 T. butter, melted
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- Four Gingergold apples, cleaned and chopped in a fine dice, set aside in acidulated water
- Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 and put the eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat them until light and frothy.
Beat in the sugars.
Then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and butter. Beat until well-combined, then beat in the buttermilk. Lastly, beat in the wholewheat flour.
You should have a thick, creamy batter.
Fold in the apples and pour the batter into a greased 9″ cake pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. The center should spring back when touched lightly.
Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or dressed up. This cake is a good keeper, and I think it’s actually better on the second day. Store any leftovers wrapped, freeze for storage longer than a few days.
by Heather Harris Brady
This is a quick, easy and different dessert for the upcoming holiday. I’ve replaced the usual soft biscuit topping with a thinnish layer of Irish soda bread. If you have buttermilk and apples you can start this after work and have a warm dessert for dinner. I’ve skipped some of the sauteed apple steps, since I’ve posted them before.
Irish Apple Cobbler, Makes one 9″ pan (about 8-10 generous servings)
For the apples:
- 5-6 well-flavored baking apples, cleaned and sliced
- 2 T. butter
- 3 T. brown sugar
- 2 t. cinnamon
For the cobbler topping:
- 4 T. cool butter
- 3 T. granulated sugar
- 2 t. baking soda
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk
First do the apples: Put the butter in a skillet over medium. When it’s melted, add the apples and stir them around for a minute or two. Then add the brown sugar and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the cinnamon. Then turn the hot apples out into a lightly greased 9″ deep dish pie pan. Set them aside.
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the flour, sugar and baking soda in a bowl.
Cut in the butter, then quickly stir in the buttermilk. You should have a shaggy batter.
Spoon it over the apples.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch.
To serve turn large spoonfuls of the cobbler upside down in a bowl.
Serve warm with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream (and/or a good drizzle of Bailey’s).
Store leftovers covered at room temperature.
by Heather Harris Brady
Okay, finishing up the Moroccan menu today and then we’ll get down to the holiday baking! This grated carrot salad is bright, fresh and easy to love – packed with vitamins and a nice counterpoint to rich holiday foods. The apple burek is my variation of an individual m’hanncha, a Moroccan filo dessert shaped like a snail or a snake, depending on how you want to look at it. I made it as an alternative to a heavier apple pie. Aside from the sprinkling of powdered sugar, this apple burek is sweetened only by the apples and honey.
I’m combining these two because both recipes are so short.
Grated Carrot Salad, Makes six servings
- Five large well-flavored carrots (heirloom would be great here)
- Two large navel oranges
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 t. cinnamon
Grate the carrots on a fine blade and put them in your serving dish.
Segment the two oranges over the dish, so you catch any juice. If you are new to segmenting citrus, here’s how:
First, cut the top and bottom peel away, so it sits nicely. I like to use a serrated knife myself.
Next, cut the sides away, following the curve of the fruit.
Now, holding the fruit carefully in your palm, cut each segment loose.
When you’re done you’ll have a stack of the membranes, like the pages of a book.
In the bowl you will have lots of pretty segments.
Toss the oranges and carrots with the lemon juice, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve well-chilled. This keeps several days.
Apple Burek, Makes about five servings
- Three fresh apples sliced, a mixture of varieties is good
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 T. honey
- 1 package of filo dough
- 1 egg
- 2 T. butter, melted
- 3 T. water
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Put the apples in a saucepan with 1 T. of water. Cook on medium-low until you have a thick, chunky applesauce.
Stir in the cinnamon and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400. Beat the egg, melted butter and water together in a bowl and set aside.
Unwrap your filo and separate out three leaves, keeping the rest covered. Dab the sheets all over with the egg wash.
Spoon out a line of apple filling near the bottom of the sheet.
Roll the dough over the filling and continue rolling until you get to the end, adding more egg wash as necessary. Now you will have a long, cigarette shaped log with the filling in middle. Starting at one end, spiral the log around itself so you end up with a snail shape.
Brush the end with more egg wash to seal it and move it to a greased baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, serve warm or at room temperature.
The next time you make oatmeal you might consider making a double batch so you can try these pancakes. They are light yet they have a nice tooth because of the oatmeal. I like to top them with my grandma’s sauteed apples, which she made all the time.
Oatmeal Pancakes, Makes about 8 servings
1-1/2 c. cooked rolled oats (old-fashioned type)
1-1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. olive oil or melted butter
2 t. baking powder
1/3 c. brown sugar
1-3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
Cold or lukewarm oatmeal is fine for this recipe.
Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
Combine the dry ingredients in a second bowl and work in the cooked oatmeal.
Stir the wet and dry ingredients together in a few quick strokes.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a griddle. When it is hot, add the pancake batter in 1/4 c. portions.
Cook until well-browned on each side.
You can keep them warm in the oven while you make the apples.
Add a few tablespoons of butter to the griddle when you are done cooking the pancakes and keep the heat on medium.
Slice up three sweet apples (I used Galas.) Stir them as they cook. When the apples start to soften, sprinkle 3 T. of brown sugar over the top.
Continue to cook and stir for another two-three minutes, until the apples glaze. You can sprinkle them with additional cinnamon if you like.
Serve the apples warm as a topping for the pancakes, with butter and maple syrup.
If you are, to be all PC about it, crust-challenged then crisp can be your best friend. It’s got all the great things about pie without a crust that can turn soggy or chewy – plus you spend the extra calories on ice cream!
Apple Crisp Recipe (six servings)
4-6 apples, depending on size
One recipe 1-2-3-4 Streusel
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour (if the apples are juicy)
Preheat the oven to 375 and grease an 8″ square pan. Peel and slice the apples. If you slice them thin you will get a more dense apple layer on the bottom, slice them thicker and they will stay more intact. Toss them with the sugar, cinnamon and flour then layer then into your baking pan.
Top with a generous layer of streusel.
If you notice the apples are quite dry as it bakes you can add a little (2 T.) apple juice, water or cider. Bake for 40 minutes. Note: This is a great dessert for when you are having guests over because it makes the house smell amazing.
Let stand for 5 minutes (or more if you’ve baked it ahead). Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Leftovers will keep for a day or so, unless you have a teenage boy in the house~