Posts Tagged 'apple'

Grilled Cheddar and Apple Sandwiches

My first Mother’s Day was a great one. Breakfast in the city, a new pair of shoes, and a run with my two favorite people, one of whom clearly had the time of her life.

Ellie (okay, fine… Mike) gave me a 12-pack of Gu, which was a little interesting to explain to my kids when they asked me what I got for Mother’s Day. The concept of long-run fueling is kind of foreign to them and they really couldn’t understand why I’d get excited about a box of goo.

Anyway, we had a lot of meals out this weekend, so I was pretty excited to put together a week full of good, homemade dinners.

I pretty much consider Beth my food twin. We definitely have very similar taste, and when she posted this sandwich I knew I would make it. I just didn’t realize it would take me this long.

It’s not exactly the season for apples, but the Fujis at my favorite grocery store are still completely delicious (especially with melted cheddar cheese on sourdough).

I added some sauteed shallots (and Mike added a bunch of HP sauce) and it was fantastic. Thanks (as always) for the inspiration, Beth!



Apple Cheesecake Brulee

If you like apple pie, cheesecake, and creme brulee, this is pretty much your dream dessert. My friend Brigitte loves all 3, so it seemed like the perfect thing to make for her 28th birthday. I just wish it were more photogenic.

This was only my second attempt at making brulee anything, and I think I definitely still need some practice. I will probably double the amount of sugar I sprinkle over the cake next time, because to me it was a little spotty (the recipe below indicates what I think would work best). If you’ve never used a kitchen torch it is SO MUCH FUN, but takes a lot longer than I was expecting it to.

I also made a ground-breaking, world-rocking, earth-shattering discovery on e-how. My cheesecake came out of the oven looking beautiful and perfect, but after cooling it developed a gigantic crack in the middle. I was pretty bummed and was planning to just cover the whole thing with whipped cream and forgo the brulee, until I decided to google “how to fix a cracked cheesecake.” A video on e-how showed a chef dipping a knife in hot water, wiping it dry, then spreading the cheesecake to fill the crack. I tried it, and it worked PERFECTLY. Ideally, my next cheesecake won’t crack in the first place, but if it does, I’ll be ready to deal with it.

(from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream

1 1/2 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 tbsp corn starch
4 eggs, at room temperature

3 tbsp sugar

Position your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

To make the apple layer, cut the apples into 1/4″ slices. Toss with the lemon juice.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet and add the apples once the butter has melted. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, then sprinkle with sugar and cook another 5-7 minutes, then add the cream and cook until the apples are soft (but still intact). Set aside to cool.

To make the crust, combine the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and press into a greased 9″ springform pan. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Once the apples and crust are cool, layer the apples evenly over the crust, then proceed with the cheesecake.

Lower the oven temperature to 300 F.

Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium until nice and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar graduall, mixing on medium until well blended. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, sour cream, and cornstarch, mixing until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each is added.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the apples and set on the upper rack of the oven. Fill a roasting pan with water and set that on the lower rack.

Bake the cheesecake for about 75 minutes, or until the outside is set but the center is still slightly underdone (it will firm up as it cools). Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cheesecake is completely cool, run a knife around the outside then carefully release the sides of the pan. (If it’s cracked, now is a perfect time to try the warm knife trick) Transfer the cake, still on the bottom of the pan, to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of four hours.

To make the brulee topping, evenly sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Heat with a ktichen torch until browned and bubbly.

Apple-Cinnamon Whoopie Pies

I didn’t know what a whoopie was until about a year ago, and didn’t try one for the first time until last night. According to the not-always-so-reliable Wikipedia, they started in Pennsylvania so maybe it’s taken awhile for them to get to California. Who knows. But I can definitely see why they’re popular!

I baked these when we had a few friends over, and I have to say, I can see why I usually make baking a solitary activity. About six of the cookies were grabbed off the cooling rack before I had a chance to frost them, and I was distracted when I was making the frosting so I added too much milk (which I know is easily corrected with more powdered sugar, but I didn’t bother). They could definitely be prettier (if I’d grated the apple instead of diced it) but the prospect of getting out my food processor just to grate one apple seemed like a little too much). I definitely need to invest in a box grater, right now!

I started with a recipe for carrot whoopie pies and just subbed apple for carrot. I didn’t have cream cheese around for the filling included with the recipe, so I made a half recipe of the cinnamon frosting from my Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. I think these are supposed to have more frosting between them, but I thought the cookie to frosting ratio was perfect.

(adapted from Epicurious via Abigail Goes Design Scouting)

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup diced or grated apple (peel the apple first)

Stir the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy.
Beat in the egg and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture.
Mix in the grated apple, then put plastic wrap over the dough and chill for about an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 F. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, mix up the frosting:

1/2 stick butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp milk

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add 2 tbsp milk, then add the rest of the milk 1 tsp at a time, stopping when the frosting has a nice spreadable consistency.

Match the cookies in pairs by size, then spread frosting between them.

Apple-Pear Crisp

apple pear crisp

As soon as we moved into our new place (only 3 days after coming back to America!) we could not wait to have friends over for dinner. I planned out a Morrocan-inspired menu, but when it came to dessert, I wanted to do something seasonal, preferably with pumpkin because I missed out on it when we were in Korea. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, given the economy) I found a job that required me to work the day I was planning on cooking for our friends, so my plans for an elaborate pumpkin tart got scrapped and I ended up having to figure out a much simpler dessert that I could whip up fast.

This is one of those ridiculously simple desserts that tastes like it took a lot more effort than it actually did. The hardest part is definitely just peeling the apples and pears! I love using lots of citrus zest because it really brightens up the flavor of the apples and pears, but you can definitely scale back on it if you want to play up the cinnamon and apple/pear flavors more.


3 bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
pinch each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, chilled and cut into small dice

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the fruit and toss with all the filling ingredients. Place in a glass or ceramic baking dish.
Mix all the topping ingredients (except butter) with a fork. Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, mix in the butter until the mixture resembles small pebbles.
Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the fruit is soft.
Delicious over vanilla ice cream!

Caramel Apple Galettes


Our neighborhood is constantly inundated with little old men driving pickup trucks full of produce, blasting tapes that repeat the names of whatever it is they’re selling at full volume, in Korean. They start at about 7 AM, which is a fabulous wake-up call to get me out the door on my run, but not so fabulous for my husband, who would rather sleep in past the crack of dawn.

Lately the watermelons in these trucks have been replaced by apples, and although I love eating apples just how they are, I definitely love baking with them more.

My husband left for the gym the other day with the suggestion that I “make something good,” if I got bored while he was gone. Um, is anything I make not good? I started off with Caramel Sauce, and then decided to use a little of that to make these tasty galettes.

These definitely fit the “something good” requirement, and I was glad I had them sitting around because a little boy knocked on my door a few hours after these came out of the oven with a full plate of Korean barbecue that his family had cooked up downstairs. I gave him one of these in return, and I think it was a pretty good trade!

3/4 cups flour
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp salt
ice water

3 tbsp Caramel Sauce
2 small apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp flour

To make the crust:
Toss the flour and salt together.
Rub the butter into the flour so that you end up with a bunch of small butter-flour pepples (they should be about Rice Krispie sized or smaller). You can also use a pastry blender for this, but the goal is to work quickly so that the butter stays cold and to be thorough, so you don’t have a bunch pockets of plain flour.

Add ice water 1 tsp at a time, stirring with a fork. You want the dough to stick together when pinched between your fingers. Try not to overmix. When the dough holds together when pinched, divide it in thirds, and press each into a round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Toss the apples with the cinnamon, sugar, and flour. The caramel sauce will work better if it’s cool, because it will be less runny.

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Take one disk of dough out of the fridge and roll out to a 6-8″ circle, about 1/8″ thick. I don’t have a rolling pin, so I just pressed the dough betwen two sheets of plastic wrap.


Put the dough circle on a baking sheet (if you have a Silpat, this would be a great time to use it.) Put about 1 tbsp of caramel sauce in the center of the circle.


Arrange a few apple slices on top of the caramel sauce.

Fold the edges of the dough up onto the apple slices.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is no longer doughy and the apples are soft.


Apple Upside Down Cake

apple cake 3
Humidity and I are not friends. Sure, I love visiting tropical places and can deal with humidity just fine on a short term basis, but this summer in Seoul has been pretty unpleasant, with all the heat and humidity of the tropics, but none of the beach and fruity drinks.

Baking has been the last thing on my mind for the past couple weeks, but when I opened the door the other day and felt cool air (cool and DRY, even!) I immediately started thinking about fall baking – bring on the apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin!

I made an unsuccessful attempt at apple upside down cake awhile ago; I cut the apple slices too thinly and they ended up getting lost in the batter. The flavor was great, though, so had to take another stab at this cake. The whiskey-soaked raisins and cinnamon bring those great fall flavors, and the brown sugar and apple topping makes it just a little more special than typical apple cake.

It’s not as pretty as pineapple upside down cake (the lack of artificially colored fruit may have something to do with it), but it has a rustic charm and great flavor to welcome the cooler weather I’m so excited about.

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 or 2 apples

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup minced apple (in 1/4″ cubes)

Between 8 and 12 hours before you plan to bake the cake, combine the raisins and whiskey in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For the topping, peel the apple and slice crosswise into slices about 1 cm thick. With a paring knife, carefully cut a small circle in the center (around the seeds) and remove it so you’re left with a doughnut shaped slice. You may need to use more than one apple to have enough slices to fill the bottom of the pan.


Put a 9″ cake pan with sides at least 2″ high (probably best not to use a springform pan in case of leaks) on a burner over low heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and stir well until butter is melted and the mixture is uniform. Arrange the apple rings in the sugar mixture with one in the center and the others around the outside.

To make the cake, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter in 3 parts, alternating with milk.
Gently fold in the raisins and minced apple, then spoon into the cake pan so that the apples and topping mixture are completely covered.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


French Apple Tart

This is one of my favorite desserts to make because it looks so fancy, and yet it takes no artistic skill whatsoever.  My cakes always come out a little lopsided, but this tart looks beautiful no matter what!  It just takes some patience to cut and arrange a whole bunch of little thin apple slices. (And really, those apples didn’t taste as burnt as they look).  It was a great Thanksgiving dessert – a nice change from the usual apple pie.  

(Adapted from Baking with Julia, seen at Once Upon a Cakestand)

Tart shell
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces
about 1/4 cup ice water

Stir together flour and salt.

Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture.  
Using a pastry blender, mix the flour and butter until it is in small crumbs.
Stir in half the water gently, mixing just until a dough forms.  Add the remaining water only if needed. 
Pat into a disk and refrigerate.

2 pounds Golden Delicious apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
a large pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
juice of one lemon

Peel and core the apples.  Cut into thin slices.

Put in a large saucepan and drizzle with lemon juice. 
Add sugar, flour, cinnamon and breadcrumbs. 
Add a tablespoon of water and put on medium heat. 
Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are easy to mash with a potato masher.
Mash apples until nearly smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  
Roll the tart dough out to 1/8″ thickness and press into a 9″ tart pan.  Line with parchment and pie weights and bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
Remover from the oven and turn the heat down to 375 F.
When the tart shell is cool, spoon the apple puree into it and smooth evenly.
2 Granny Smith apples 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of sugar

Peel and core the apples and finely slice them.

Drizzle lemon juice over them to prevent them from browning. 
Arrange the apples in a circle over the purée. The slices should overlap each other slightly.  
Cut a round piece from one slice to go in the center.
Once all the apple slices are arranged, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the tart for about 30 minutes. When the edges of the apples have started to brown, take it out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.


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