Apple Creations

Apple Creations

The start of fall ushers in the height of apple season. Apples are available year-round here in the United States, but during autumn you can find many fresh, local apples to use in your cooking. The apple is a fruit with many varied uses; they are tasty when fresh, but are equally good cooked in both sweet and savory dishes.

Apple Cranberry Chutney

Chutneys are a great sauce for turkey, pork and other types of protein. You can find many varieties of apple chutney recipes that are all equally simple and delicious. Apple cranberry chutney is a great chutney to make during the fall to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner.

2 1/2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (2 large apples, preferably golden delicious or granny smith)
1 1/2 cups cranberries, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh peeled garlic, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are tender and sauce is thick, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature and serve with dinner and enjoy! Chutneys can also be canned if you are interested in taking the time. Canned chutney will keep much longer.

The most common use for the apple is in deserts. You will find a multitude of desert recipes using apples, but the apple pie is easily the most popular. My family loves our delightful variation on the traditional apple pie, apple dumplings. Apple dumplings are just as easy to prepare as apple pie, but they are even more exciting and delicious. The recipe that follows is my grandmother's recipe, which we have all enjoyed for years. This recipe serves four, but it can easily be increased.

Apple Dumplings

First, prepare enough basic pastry dough for a double crust.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, very cold
2 teaspoons salt, if using unsalted butter
1/2 cup water

Blend flour and butter until it has the texture of coarse meal. You can use a food processor if you have one, or you can use a pastry blender to mix flour and butter.  Alternately, you can blend with your hands or with two knives. Next you add the water. The amount of water depends on the flour and the butter, you want to add enough water so that the flour and butter begins to adhere together.  If it forms one mass without being pressed together, you have used too much water. After adding the water, form the dough into two flattened disc shapes. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use. When you are ready to use the dough, roll it out and cut into four squares of approximately the same size. You will have some extra dough, but its better to have too much than too little.

Prepare Apples:
4 small to medium apples, peeled and cored, but left whole
Cinnamon and sugar, mixed

Place each peeled and cored apple on a square of pie dough; fill the hollow center of the apple with mixed cinnamon and sugar. Take the pie dough and wrap it around the apple, pinching the edges to make a nice and secure wrapping around the apple. Place all four apples into a baking pan.

Prepare Sauce:
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Now pour the sauce over the apples in the pan. Place the baking dish in a 425 degree preheated oven. Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool and serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream. These apples wrapped in pie dough will delight your taste buds and stun your guests with its simple delicious flavor.

This desert can be fairly rich, so if you want smaller portions, use smaller apples rather than dividing the dumplings. The cinnamon and sugar mixture melts during the cooking and is one of the dumpling's greatest aspects. If you cut into the dumpling before eating it disturbs the cinnamon and sugar as well as ruining the presentation.