Our best apple recipes

– Posted in: Fruit, Recipes

We have three apples trees. They came with the place.

One of three apple trees we inherited when we moved here. Photo by Justin Purdy taken September 2006

One of three apple trees we inherited when we moved here. Photo by Justin Purdy taken September 2006

That is how I know the secret to good apple pie and crisp is to start with delicious baking apples. When I started using these apples in the same recipes I’d always used, the compliments increased dramatically: “This is the best apple pie (crisp) I’ve ever had!” Too bad I don’t know the varieties we have growing here, though Baldwins and Northern Spies are both pretty good, and too bad our trees don’t seem to bear every year. We’ve missed two years in a row now, and we’re not sure if lack of bees or late frosts are to blame.

When we do get apples, we get a lot of apples, and over the years I’ve collected a lot of recipes to put that abundance to good use. Try them all. If they pass the taste test in Purdyville, you know they’ve got to be good.

Upside-Down Apple Gingerbread

We like this so much we quadruple the recipe and bake it in two 15″x10″ pans (4 quart capacity)
1/4 cup butter — melted
2 large apples — peeled, cored, and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter — melted
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup tea, brewed — hot

Pour butter into a 9″ square baking pan. Arrange apples over butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and set aside. (It seems like a lot of apples when you put them in the pan, but after it’s baked it always seems like you could have put more in.) For gingerbread, combine butter, molasses, sugars,and egg in a mixing bowl; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to sugar mixture alternately with hot tea. Mix well; pour over apples. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm, and it would be a pity if you didn’t have some vanilla ice cream to help cool it down.

Elderberry-Apple Pie

I discovered this in the 1974 edition of Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook. The elderberries we use (Sambucus canadensis) grow wild in the hedgerows.

2 crusts pie pastry
2 cups elderberries
1 1/2 cups tart apples — chopped and peeled
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons butter

Wash and stem elderberries. Combine elderberries, apples, sugar, salt, and tapioca, crushing berries with back of the spoon. Spoon mixture into pastry-lined 9″ pie pan. Dot with butter and top with lattice crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until apples are tender and crust is golden.

Tomato Curry

I usually make this with the last of the tomatoes and the first apples. The two seasons don’t overlap much. Add chickpeas for a one-pot vegetarian meal, or serve as a side dish with chicken.
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion — finely chopped
1 tart apple — peeled and chopped
2 cups fresh tomatoes — peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder — *see Note
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
salt — to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet, add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring often, till transparent. Add apple and cook gently 5 more minutes. Stir in tomatoes, curry powder, vinegar, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 5 more minutes. Add rice and salt to taste. Heat well before serving.

Purdyville’s Carrot Salad

I created this recipe myself. We devour this much in one meal, but you will either need to use one fourth as much or serve it to a crowd.

1 cup walnuts — chopped
4 pounds carrots — peeled and grated
6 apples — peeled and chopped (use a sweeter apple, not a baking type)
2 cups raisins
32 ounces lowfat vanilla yogurt, or apricot-mango, if you can find it

Chop nuts in food processor. Set aside. Grate carrots in food processor. Put in large bowl. Peel apples. Cut in quarters. Remove cores. Slice with 8mm slicing disk. Add to carrots. Add raisins, chopped nuts, and yogurt to apples and carrots. Gently mix.

Apple Crisp for a Crowd

Try to enlist the help of the crowd that will be eating this dessert with the peeling and chopping that comes first. They will appreciate it that much more!

15 cups apples, cooking — peeled, cored, and diced
1 1/2 cups sugar — (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups oats, rolled (raw)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed — packed
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts — optional

Combine apples with sugar, flour and cinnamon. Put in bottom of greased 15x10x2 pan (4 quart). Combine oats, brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter. Add nuts and combine. Sprinkle streusel evenly over apples. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream

Grandpa’s Improved Apple Pie

At my dad’s insistence, we started adding ginger to our apple pie, and we like it even better!
2 crusts Pie Pastry
3/4 cup sugar — (up to a cup, if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
7 large tart apples — (10 cups) (6 to 8 apples)
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425º. Line a pie pan with half the pastry dough. Mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples and toss them in the sugar mixture, coating them well. Pile them into the lined pan and dot with the butter. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top. Bake 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350º and bake 30 to 40 minutes more or until the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer and the crust is browned.

Visit A Way to Garden and Dinner Tonight for more apple-related recipes.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Carla's Tasty Treats October 10, 2010, 4:17 pm

I just got back from apple picking and stumbled onto your site… I am trying contain myself from trying all of these recipes but I think the gingerbread upside down cake will be the winner for this week

Bobarella September 10, 2010, 10:02 pm

I just made the Upside-Down Gingerbread and I just love it! What wonderful flavor and so moist. Thank you for sharing the recipe

frankie January 9, 2009, 11:33 am

I just tried your recipe today and wanted to say thank you, because it was really tasty! 🙂

Kathy Purdy January 9, 2009, 10:07 pm

Frankie, how kind of you to take the time to come back and tell me! I really appreciate it. Please stop by and comment again.

Ilona September 30, 2008, 3:07 pm

A diverse collection 🙂 I love apple desserts- Szegedi cake is my all time favorite. I should post it on the blog.

I tagged you in a meme @ ilonagrden.blogspot.com- tell me your quirks

Karen September 29, 2008, 2:21 pm

Your recipes look yummy! I just made crisp from Gravenstein apples, which grow well here in W. Washington and are my family’s favorite cooking apple. It just seems to melt and has the best flavor. I wonder if pruning your trees and thinning the apples (they look like large trees, so that may be more work than you’re into) would help them bear every year. Some fruit trees go dormant or biennial if the fruit is not thinned enough in a heavy-bearing year. Dunno, no expert but you could try it if you are a ladder person!

Jane Marie September 28, 2008, 3:04 pm

I can’t wait to try the apple gingerbread recipe. I’m going to make my husband soooo happy. Thank you!

Annie in Austin September 28, 2008, 2:18 pm

Oh Kathy – I’m sorry your trees are taking time off – it must be so cool to go out to those old trees and bring in the bounty!

We didn’t go out in the yard to pick apples in Illinois, but drove to a town with pick-your-orchards, coming home with a couple of bushels full of Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty each October. We ate some plain and made pies and crisps but the big favorite was Apple Dumplings with vanilla sauce.
The orchards are gone now, and so are we. Your gingerbread sounds pretty good – might have to pick up some apples at the store and try it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

What happened to the little check box for getting notice of other comments to this post?

Anna September 27, 2008, 2:27 pm

Wish I had an apple tree cause yours is beautimus! Thanks for the recipes. I like the first one and the apple crisp also.

Kathy Purdy September 26, 2008, 8:03 pm

Whatever you make with it, turn it into a party. Invite 3 friends to help you go through a bushel of apples, and make 4 pies or crisps. Everyone gets to take one home!

debra September 25, 2008, 11:39 pm

my mouth is watering…which one should i start with first? i just got out the apple-corer-peeler-spiral slicer, a reproduction castiron number that’s painted fire-engine red. A perfect thanksgiving gift from my friend Nancy. Your recipes inspire me to use it soon!
xoxo deb