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Published August 19, 2009, 04:34 PM

Best ever apple crisp makes for decadent dessert

I’m trying to mix up the variety and flavors of my recipes each week focusing on a particular fruit or vegetable as my theme. Over the weekend, I noticed the apples on my backyard trees are getting heavy and some are even falling off, either prompted by the strong rain and wind we had or by the birds who like to sit in the trees and pick away, much to my dislike and dismay.

By: Karen Huber, West Fargo Pioneer

I’m trying to mix up the variety and flavors of my recipes each week focusing on a particular fruit or vegetable as my theme. Over the weekend, I noticed the apples on my backyard trees are getting heavy and some are even falling off, either prompted by the strong rain and wind we had or by the birds who like to sit in the trees and pick away, much to my dislike and dismay.

The hope is that once they are fully mature and ready to be picked, enough of them still remain so I can use them as an ingredient in a few of my apple-based recipes.

Today I’m featuring four excellent recipes, two variations of made-from-scratch apple cakes, each with their own unique toppings, as well as one of the ‘best ever’ apple crisps I’ve ever made, complete with double crust and gooey apple base, thanks to the cornstarch and sugar and water combination; and a refreshingly easy fruit salad, at its finest when prepared with Granny Smith apples. The salad can also pass for dessert when served alongside a homemade cookie or brownie type bar.

With their high sugar content, all of the dessert recipes are extremely sweet, so you might do well to start with a small piece and go from there. The apple crisp is wonderful served al a mode with your favorite ice cream flavor, whether it’s vanilla, French vanilla or you are lucky enough to come across cinnamon ice cream in the freezer case. No matter what your choice, any will work well to complement the delicious apple flavor. A dollop or two of real whipped cream or Cool Whip is also outstanding.

Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

German Apple Cake

With Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup oil

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

4 cups diced, peeled apples

1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix the oil and the eggs together. Add the sugar and mix again. Add the flour, cinnamon, soda, salt and vanilla and mix in. Fold in the apples and walnuts.

Pour into greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or cake springs back to touch.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1-8 oz. package cream cheese

½ cup margarine or butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Approximately one pound of powdered sugar

Blend all together well and spread on cooled cake.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Apple Cake:

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup butter

1 egg, beaten

4 cups chopped, peeled apples

1 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts

Blend ingredients together. Bake in a 9x9 greased pan at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Caramel Sauce

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup whipping cream

½ cup butter

1 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. vanilla

Bring to a boil over low to medium heat. Add vanilla. Serve warm over apple cake. Can be reheated.

Apple Crisp

1 cup flour

3/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Press half of crumb mixture into 9 x 9 inch pan. Cover with five cups of apples.

Combine:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. vanilla

Cook until clear. Pour over apples. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

Apple-Snickers Salad

4 to 6 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and sliced

1 box instant vanilla pudding

2/3 cup milk

1-8 oz. carton Cool Whip

4 to 6 Snicker Candy Bars (the large ones)

Mix pudding and milk to box directions. Fold in Cool Whip and then add apples and cut up candy bars to mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yummy.

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