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Monday, November 23, 2009

AN APPLE A DAY...


You know that old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", the premise being that if you eat an apple every day you won't get sick? Some of my earliest memories are of my mom and grandma saying that to me and while I ate lots of apples because I sure didn't want to get sick, I always felt a little sorry for that doctor. In my young mind, I pictured him having to stay away while the rest of us savored the delicious goodies that you can make with apples, like apple dumplings...






caramel apples... and apple crisp.


While I adore many apple dishes, my childhood favorite was my aunt's apple pie squares. Whenever she brought them to a family gathering my brothers and I would descend on her like a swarm of locusts. Her recipe was lost at some point over the years, or maybe it was in her head, but a couple years ago I set about trying to recreate the dessert at the center of some delicious childhood memories. Here it is:

PJ'S APPLE PIE SQUARES
8 medium apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (I use Granny Smith)
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
2 pie crusts
1/2 TBSP lemon juice
Powdered sugar
Milk
Pure vanilla extract

Sprinkle sliced apples lightly with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, spices and a dash of salt; toss with sliced apples. Roll one pie crust to a 9x11 rectangle and place it in the bottom of a baking dish of the same size. Fill with the apple mixture then dot with slices of butter. Roll the second pie crust to the same dimensions and place over the top of the apple mixture, sealing the edges. Cut slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400° F. for 50 minutes or until done.


Stir together powdered sugar, milk and a squirt of vanilla to make a glaze. Drizzle over slightly cooled pie and cut into squares. This is great hot or cold, either with ice cream or on its own.



What are your favorite apple recipes? Have you ever tried to recreate a childhood favorite?  Did you feel sorry for the doctor like I did?

~ PJ

46 comments:

  1. PJ

    What a great receipe I will be trying that one. My Mum used to make great apple pies with the best shortcrust pastry but alas I cannont make pastry I don't know what it is but it never turns out,
    But I do make her famous apple spong desert and it is yummy.

    Apple Sponge

    Peel and core abot 6 granny smith apples
    Cut into slices put in a saucepan add a dash of water and slowly bring to the boil remove from heat and stir in 2 tablspoons of sugar (or to taste), put these in a oven proof dish oval or round caserole dish will do.
    Topping
    4 oz butter
    4 oz sugar
    2 eggs
    8 oz Self raising flour
    milk to mix
    Cream butter and sugar
    add eggs
    add flour
    enough milk to make a dropping consistancy
    A couple drops of vanilla essence

    Put cake mixture on top of stewed spples
    Bake in oven at 350f for about 45 min or until cooked when tested

    Serve hot with custard, ice cream, or cream

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  2. Hi PJ! I love my mother's apple pie. She makes wonderful pastry, but my favourite apple dish would have to be hazelnut apple gallette. The filling is like an apple pie filling, but the pastry is made with crushed hazelnuts. Mmm. Thanks for sharing this recipe. My dad loves what we call 'apple slice' and I'm sure he'd love this too.

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  3. Great yummy post PJ !
    We have the same saying here in France : "Pomme le matin, éloigne le medecin."
    We also have a lot of fancy dessert but nothing that comes close to a delicious old-fahionned Apple Pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicous cinnamon flavor and the flaky pie crust dusted with just a tiny bit of brown sugar...*sigh* Just Perfect !

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  4. Morning Helen! That Apple Sponge sounds delicious. I'll be giving that one a try for sure!

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  5. Oh Christine, that sounds yummy. I love hazelnuts so I'm sure I'd enjoy the gallette. I've never made one before. Do you have a favorite recipe?

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  6. My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicous cinnamon flavor and the flaky pie crust dusted with just a tiny bit of brown sugar...*sigh* Just Perfect !

    Emmanuelle, now you have my mouth watering too! :) The girls were reading over my shoulder just now while getting ready for school and announced that it's been much too long since I made Apple Pie Slices. It's been a week! LOL!

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  7. Yum! I'll definitely be trying this recipe, PJ! It reminds me of my mom's pineapple squares recipe.

    My mom's apple pie is a family favorite. She's making a few for Thanksgiving and I'm pretty sure they'll be gone before the pumpkin pies *g*

    At my house, our favorite apple recipe is homemade applesauce. We make a few big batches in the fall then freeze it :-)

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  8. PJ that sounds and looks delicious!!! Makes me wish I had some here to eat for breakfast. I love apple pie, really anything with apple, cinnamon, and pastry. You can't go wrong with those three.

    My family's favorite apple recipe is Apple Dumplings. This recipe is a quick take on an old fashion dish.

    Apple Dumplings

    1 Granny Smith Apple (peeled and cored)
    1 can crescent rolls
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    4 tablespoons butter
    cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 X 11 pan and set aside. Cut cored & peeled apple into 8 pieces. Wrap each piece of apple in a crescent roll, pinching edges. Lay in pan with sides not touching. Heat sugar, water and butter in a small pan until sugar is melted. Pour over crescent rolls. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over each crescnet roll. Bake 30 minutes or until rolls are brown on top. Spoon mixture in bottom of pan over rolls before serving.

    Great with ice cream or whipped topping on top.

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  9. Helen, that Apple Sponge sounds really good!!! I'll have to give it a try.

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  10. Hi Beth! Do you think your mom would be willing to share that pineapple squares recipe? I love pineapple!

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  11. Oops...hit enter too soon. ;-)

    Beth, I've never tried making applesauce. Do you have a favorite method/recipe?

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  12. Buffie, that sounds fabulous and so easy to make! I love apple dumplings but haven't made them in years. I think I'll let the girls help me make a batch using your recipe.

    Thanks!

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  13. PJ - that is so funny. Our family favorite apple recipe is my mother's apple slices. She got the recipe from my aunt also. It sounds pretty much the same. When I was younger my mom made the crust herself with lard but through the years she simplified with store bought crusts and apples.

    I very rarely attempt to make them cause they never taste as good as my mom's:)

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  14. Irish, I buy the roll-out crust at the store. I've tried many times to make it from scratch but it always falls short. Anybody have a fool-proof pie crust recipe?

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  15. That recipe is just plain cruel...I made the brilliant decision to start getting in shape a week ago...How dumb is that? But I'll enjoy it vicariously through you all.

    Hungry in Rhode Island,

    Jane

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  16. PJ, this recipe looks wonderful! Makes me hungry! LOL. My mom used to make a fresh apple cake--the recipe was my great grandma 's recipe. I need to get it from her and make it for Christmas.

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  17. You might like:

    Recipe: Easy Apple-Berry Crisp
    BY: Virginia C

    Ingredients:
    1 can apple pie filling
    1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (or 1 can cherry pie filling)
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal

    Preparation/Instructions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10" x 13" baking pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine fruit. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, sugar and oatmeal (mixture will be crumbly). Spread fruit mixture evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle oatmeal topping evenly over fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp (do not over bake). Serve warm or cold. If desired, top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

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  18. My favorite apple recipe has always been my grandmothers apple pie. You make a normal apple pie as usual, but you mix cinnamon with the apples and put it on the glazed crust. This is really the only apple recipe i've ever done. lol

    You're desert sounds delish though and perfect for thanksgiving. ^^

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  19. PJ, as always you know how to put real flavor into your posts. LOVE apples. I eat two green apples a day. My family just shakes their head. I make a pretty good apple pie. About 10 green apples cored slices and dumped into a 9-inch pie plate. Add a crumble mixture of one stick of butter, 1/2 cup or so of sugar and 1/2 cup or so of flour (I never have followed directions well LOL) Cut in the butter to the dry ingredients then deposit on top of the green apples. Bake for 425F for 15 min then reduce heat to 350F (I think, might be 325) for another 45 minutes.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone. My ingredients are bought, just have to start cooking on Wed.

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  20. PJ, it's official I'm baking your recipe tomorrow ! (and no it's not for my kids ;-)

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  21. I love apple desserts! Apple pies, cakes, turnovers, etc. I especially love this Jewish Apple Cake I got at a deli last summer. Unfortunately, I am more of a eater than a baker-I really have little to no culinary skills, so don't have any recipes to share. Sorry!

    And while I have heard of the apple a day saying, I don't think I ever felt sorry for the dentist, which proves that you're a nicer, more considerate person than I am, PJ. lol.

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  22. Oooooh PJ I had forgotten how much I used to love this dessert! I too have fond memories of my Auntie Frannie's, make that great-aunt Frannie, apple pie squares. My Grandmother had seven sisters. All of them were excellent cooks. Several owned restaurants or had children who became profession chefs. Its not had to imagine what happened when eight sisters, eight Competitive sisters, gathered for a meal. Every family get-together was like

    the Ziegfeld Follies of Cake. The tables were filled with a culinary cornucopia of high caloric desserts. My Grandmother's cooking style was very Continental. She was the kind of woman who made puff pastry by hand. ... French and Viennese pastries, ornate tortes, towering sponge cakes. and bombes ... Ask me sometime about the time my grandmother & her chef Friend were cooking bombes . ... I thought that they were making Bombs, as in explosives.

    Where was I? Oh yes, my grandmother was a formal woman. One time, when I showed up at her house unannounced, I caught her dusting her house in a Chanel suit. So I suppose that it wasn't surprising that her desserts, like her persona, were ornate, opulent, and rather ostentatious.

    My grandmothers desserts were Coco Chanel. Auntie Frannie's apple pie squares were like an old pair of jeans. Comfortable and homey ... and never out of fashion.

    What a Sweetheart you are PJ for sharing this recipe.

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  23. Make that "Its not haRd to imagine..."
    Sigh

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  24. I remember when I mentioned to my dad that you had given me the recipe for these and he fondly remembered back to when you'd practically mug your aunt to get to them :P

    I tried making these twice: once with store bought pie crusts (which, to be honest, were kind of bland) and once with homemade (not bad flavor-wise, but I'm still perfecting the art of the pie crust). Perhaps I'll try these again with the vodka pie crust recipe!

    Dad said that he remembered there being almost a thick layer of icing on top, but neither he nor I can justify that much sugar. haha.

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  25. Oh, I can't wait to try your recipe, PJ. It sounds delish!

    My favorite apple dessert is fried apple pies. I rarely make them because they have about ten zillion artery-clogging calories per bite, but I do allow myself to eat one once or twice a year at a church supper. I love the taste, not least because it has a real Proustian flavor which takes me back to my grandmother's kitchen.

    Fried Apple Pies

    2 cup sifted flour
    ¼ tsp salt
    ½ cup butter (skip salt if using salted butter)
    6 Tbsp ice water
    powdered sugar
    4 large Granny Smith apples
    ½ stick butter
    ½ cup loosely packed light brown sugar
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    dash allspice

    Sift flour with salt into mixing bowl. Cut in butter. Add enough ice water to make a stiff dough. Work with half of the dough at a time. Roll out to approx. ¼ inch thickness or less. Cut squares of pastry approx. 4 inches on each side. Set aside. Peel and core apples and cut into small pieces about ½ inch thick. Melt butter in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add apples to the mixture, stir to coat well and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until apples are fork tender but remain in wedges.

    In a skillet, place 1½ cups oil and bring to temperature on medium high heat. Place about a heaping tablespoon of apples on one side of each square of pastry. Fold each pie into a triangle. Lightly dampen the edges with ice water and use a fork to press and seal the edges together. Prick each side of each pie with a fork 2-3 times. Fry the pies in the hot oil until brown on each side. Drain well on a paper towel and sprinkle tops with powdered sugar while pies are still hot.

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  26. Janga, I love fried pies!! But the closest I ever get to making them is pulling through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A and ordering one!

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  27. AH! Not only is this blog killing my book budget, but now my diet too :) The recipe sounds delicious!

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  28. Hi, PJ.
    My grandmother made the most delicious fruit pies and the crusts melted right in your mouth. She also made many apple crisps in her day and her philosophy for the recipe was "...when in doubt, use equal amounts...of flour and oatmeal."
    My mother's pies are just as delish.
    One recipe that I tried and thought was very good is Caramel Apple Squares from Midwest Living magazine.
    I do have a recipe for a no-fail pie crust that uses vinegar.

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  29. Gannon, I'd love to have that apple cake recipe if your mom would be willing to share. My grandma made a wonderful apple cake but nobody saved her recipe.

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  30. Virginia, that sounds wonderful! Apples and cranberries are two of my Fall favorites!

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  31. Hi Jedisakora! Apples and cinnamon seem to be universally loved, don't they? So good!

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  32. Hi Monica! I prefer red apples for snacking but, when I bake, it's tart, green ones all the way.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  33. I don't think I ever felt sorry for the dentist, which proves that you're a nicer, more considerate person than I am, PJ. lol.

    That was when I was a child, LuvEurope1. Nowadays I'd probably fight him for that last piece of pie. LOL!

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. Oh my, Julie! I would have loved being a guest at either your grandmother's or your great-aunt's table!

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  36. Janga, we like fried apples in our house, too. I make them as a side dish for pork chops or pork roast.

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  37. He's right, Jenn but I just lightly drizzle it with glaze. I can't justify that much sugar either. ;-)

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  38. I'll be trying that vodka crust recipe too, Jenn!

    For those of you who missed it, Clarisse posted a recipe for Vodka Pie Crust at Jenn's guest blog from this past Saturday (Nov. 21).

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  39. Thank you, Janga! I've already printed off your recipe. Actually, I've already printed all the recipes! I'm going to be baking up a frenzy!

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  40. Good idea, Deb. That would be a perfect side dish to pork.

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  41. PJ, I think I've gained 10 lbs. just by blog hopping the past week! LOL I love apples any way you fix 'em and your apple pie squares sound and look delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

    And thanks Helen, Buffie, Virginia, Monica, and Janga for your apple recipes, too! I'm printing them all out to add to my recipe box. :)

    And now I'm off to eat an apple.....

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  42. Wow! Lots of really good recipes. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Tami Brothers
    Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Blog

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  43. I love all of the recipes posted here. PJ , I have made something similar to your apple pie slices. Very yummy.
    Two of my favorite apple memories are things that neither Grandmother is around to help make or share the recipe for anymore. My Oma used to make homemade apple streudal and my father's mother (Farmor) used to make apple skeivva . I probably didn't spell that right. They are tiny filled pancakes that look like doughnut holes. Then you would dust them with powdered sugar.
    Excellent memories. Thank you.

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  44. Janga, my grandma made amazing fried peach pies, but she never had a written recipe. My sister and I have been talking about trying to recreate them. The holidays will be a perfect time. I remember eating them for breakfast sometimes. :)

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  45. Hi Beth! Do you think your mom would be willing to share that pineapple squares recipe? I love pineapple!

    Of course!

    Pineapple Squares

    Filling:

    1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
    3/4 cup sugar
    3 Tbsp. cornstarch.

    Combine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

    Crust:

    2 cups vegetable shortening
    1 cup milk
    1 tsp salt
    5 cups flour

    Mix together as you would a pie crust. Roll out a little over half of dough and put onto a large cookie sheet with sides. Spread filling over top. Roll out remaining dough and place on top, pinching edges together.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.

    While still hot, glaze with 1 cup confectioners sugar and 3 Tbsp water

    Enjoy!

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