Apple Crumb Pie

I’m wrapping up my mini apple week today with a pie that would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table… An Apple Crumb Pie. I make my fair share of desserts for Thanksgiving and this year I decided to make things a little easier on myself and forgo making any pies with a decorative pie crust. My baking list for Thanksgiving usually includes about 6 or 7 different desserts so taking that small thing off of my list is definitely going to help me get everything done in a timely fashion. And since I normally head to the city to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons get inflated the night before Thanksgiving I have limited time on that day to bake so I normally end up baking one last thing on Thanksgiving morning and I am trying to avoid that this year. Coupled with no decorative pie crusts I am also thinking of baking one or two things ahead of time which should definitely free up some time for me.

To begin this pie I started by making the crumb topping. Once I mixed all of the ingredients together I placed it in the freezer so it could firm up. Next, I covered a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and placed it on the bottom rack of my oven and preheated it to 400 F. And finally I made the filling. I added all of the ingredients for the filling to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula gently folded them together.

Now, I’ve never had much success in making pie crust from scratch so I always opt to either use refrigerated pie crust or my real favorite frozen pie crust. I apologize to those of you who are cringing right now. I just find it fool-proof, especially the frozen one, and since I am usually more concerned with how the filling is going to come out and perfecting a decorative crust it’s just easier for me. To be honest, when I do make a decorative pie crust I use a frozen crust for the filling and a refrigerated pie crust to decorate it. It’s so much easier to make cut outs or cut long strips with pie crust that is already the perfect thickness. If you’re thinking of following my trick here’s another one. If you want to decorate your pie with cut-outs make sure you refrigerate them after cutting them out before placing them on your pie. Same thing goes for the strips you would use for braiding or a lattice design. Handling the pie crust softens it quickly and then when you go to place it on your pie it won’t place as well or may start to break (especially if you are making a lattice design), firming it up again makes it easier to work with and it will bake better. Okay, so back to the pie at hand. I used a frozen 9-inch deep dish pie crust. I kept the pie crust in the freezer until I was ready to fill it. I spooned the filling into the pie crust and then gently topped it with the crumb topping, breaking any pieces of crumb that were too large. I carefully removed the hot pan from the oven and placed the pie on it and then returned it to the oven.

Look at those nice pieces of crumb topping… YUM!!!

I baked it at 400 F for about 25 minutes and then reduced the oven temperature to 350 F and baked it for about another 50 minutes. My apples were a tad soft to begin with (I got them a few weeks ago from apple picking) so my pie was ready rather quickly. About 25 minutes after reducing the heat I covered the top of the pie with a piece of aluminum foil so the crumb topping wouldn’t burn. Once I removed it from the oven the crumb topping was a perfect golden color and the filling had bubbled out just a bit.

After letting it cool completely I placed it in the refrigerator covered with aluminum foil for a few days before cutting into it -I baked it on a Thursday night and sliced it on Sunday. Final verdict… It was the best apple pie I’ve ever made. I would say pie in general, but that distinction belongs to Key Lime Pie. Per requests, I am planning on making two of these for Thanksgiving!

 

Apple Crumb Pie

Ingredients:

1 Frozen 9-inch deep dish pie crust*

Crumb Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces at room temperature

Filling:

3 pounds mixed apples, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

*You could also use a homemade pie crust or a refrigerated pie crust. If using either, once you have prepped your pie plate with the crust place the dish in the refrigerator until the crust is firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. If using a frozen pie crust, you can fill the crust right out of the freezer.

 

Directions:

Make the crumb topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter to the mixture and use your hands to mix it until crumbs form. Place in the freezer until ready to use.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it in the bottom rack of your oven and then preheat the oven to 400 F.

Make the filling: Mix the apples, melted butter, both sugars, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Spoon the filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the filling with the frozen crumbs. Breaking any large crumbs into smaller pieces and making sure to spread them evenly over the pie and patting them down while doing so.

Place the pie on the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the crumbs lightly brown, about 25-30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and continue baking until the apples are completely soft when pierced with a knife, about an additional 60 to 80 minutes. If you find the crumb topping is getting too dark cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Monday has become my day for sharing new pumpkin recipes with you. That’s not a bad way to kick off the week if you ask me. Today’s recipe is a Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake. It’s a nice light dessert that creates its own sauce for drizzling while baking. I found the recipe during a recent cleaning/organizing frenzy. I went through a bunch of holiday baking magazines I had sitting on a bookshelf for quite some time (some for almost 10 years.) I had flagged recipes in each of them and then never made them. I found quite a few pumpkin recipes, some cookie recipes, and some other goodies that I am hoping to try out sooner rather than later.

You may be wondering how exactly this cake created its own sauce. Well, after making the batter for the cake I spread it into an 8x8x2-inch baking pan I sprayed with baking spray and then sprinkled the top with brown sugar and cinnamon. Next, I poured a mixture of boiling water and butter over the top of the cake prior to baking. While baking the water combines with the sugar and cinnamon to create a sauce under the cake. You may be tempted to reduce the amount of brown sugar you sprinkle over the cake thinking a cup is too much (I did!), but, the end result isn’t overly-sweet. Since the cake itself isn’t that sweet it offers a perfect balance for the cake.

After baking the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 35 minutes I let the cake cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

And the best way to enjoy this cake is warm with the sauce drizzled on top with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream on the side. I made the mistake of letting the cake cool for too long before enjoying a piece so I placed it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it up and then added my ice cream.

If you are really in a pumpkin mood you could also make my No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream from last week to go along with this cake. The best part, you can try both recipes with just 1 can of pumpkin puree.

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray and 8x8x2-inch square pan with baking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the 1/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, pumpkin puree and vanilla and continue beating until the mixture become light and fluffy again. Add the flour and stir with a spoon until just combined. Transfer the mixture to prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the batter and then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the sugar.

In a measuring cup combine the boiling water with the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until the butter is melted. Pour this over the batter in the pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then spoon the cake into a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle the syrup from the pan over it.

Recipe from Mixing Bowl Magazine from Fall/Winter 2010

Pumpkin Quick Bread

It’s officially Fall… Bring on the pumpkin treats! While I have purchased and enjoyed some pumpkin spice treats – Special K cereal (I’m yet to try it), Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter (still haven’t tried this either), Pumpkin Pie Kit Kats (I definitely didn’t need a whole bag of these) and Werther’s Original Caramels (just a nice hint of pumpkin spice) – I have refrained from posting any pumpkin treats on here until Fall officially began. And while last week brought some Fall-like days this past weekend felt more like Summer. I guess Summer wanted to go out with a bang.

For my first pumpkin treat of the season – there will definitely be more, just not sure how many more – I bring you a Pumpkin Quick Bread. Now, I have shared a Pumpkin Bread recipe on here before but this one is a bit different as it doesn’t involve using any canned pumpkin. Some of you might be taken back by the ingredients, but, trust me, it’s delicious. It involves a box of yellow cake mix and a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix. I got the idea for this quick bread after making a Pistachio Quick Bread earlier this year with a box of white cake mix and a box of pistachio pudding mix.

I began by making cinnamon sugar and then setting it aside. In a large bowl I whisked together the cake mix and pudding mix. I then added in eggs, sour cream, water and oil and beat it with a hand mixer. I poured about 1/2 cup of batter into the bottom of two loaf pans that I sprayed with baking spray. The batter was thick so I used a spoon to spread the batter evenly across the pan. I then sprinkled the top of both with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar. I spread the remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon sugar in both pans and smoothed the top with an offset spatula and then sprinkled the remaining sugar evenly over both. There didn’t seem to be a lot of batter in the pans and I thought that I was going to end up with loaves that lacked height…

But, after baking both loaves for about 40 minutes both had risen nicely.

I let them cool in the pans for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

And once they were cool it was time to slice into one of the loaves. You can see the cinnamon sugar swirl in the bottom of the bread and a little up the side of the cake. As for the cinnamon sugar on top, it baked in nicely to the breads.

I kept one loaf for myself and brought the second one to a friend’s house for Sunday dinner and it was a hit!

 

Pumpkin Quick Bread

Ingredients:

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package instant pumpkin spice pudding mix

4 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup canola or corn oil

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prep two loaf pans by spraying them with baking spray or greasing them with butter.

In a large bowl combine the cake and pudding mix. Add the eggs, sour cream, water and oil and beat until blended (the batter will be thick).

Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Spoon about 1/2 cup of batter into each of the prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar over the batter in each pan. Divide the remaining batter among the two pans and sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe modified from Taste of Home

Slow Cooker Sunday: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am sneaking in one more pumpkin recipe this season before the Holidays take over… A Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake. This is actually the third cheesecake I’ve made in my slow cooker. Earlier this year I shared with you a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and a Sour Cream Cheesecake. Out of the three, this one is my favorite. What can I say… I am a fan of Pumpkin. I actually adapted this recipe for a slow cooker as the original one called for it to be made in a pressure cooker. While I do own one, only because it was my parents, I am a bit fearful of using it. I remember my mom always using it to make beans. She preferred using dry beans over can ones to make habichuelas guisada (stewed beans) so she would use the pressure cooker to soften them up before making them in the stew… YUM! Maybe one day I will work up the courage to using it, but, for now, it is perfectly situated on the back of a shelf in my cabinet.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I pulsed graham crackers into crumbs. I transferred the crumbs to a medium bowl and added in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and mixed it together until it was well combined. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan that I sprayed with cooking spray.

Next, I made the filling. I beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and then added in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour, and whipping cream and continued beating until it was well blended. Finally, I added in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat it until just combined. I then poured this into the prepared crust.

I placed a rack in the insert of my slow cooker and then filled it with a 1/2-inch of water (about 2 cups for my 6qt. slow cooker) and then placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered it and cooked it on high for 2 hours. The center should still be a bit wobbly and the rest of the cheesecake set. You don’t want to overbake it. After the 2 hours, I turned off my slow cooker and left it covered so the cheesecake could cool. After the hour, I removed the pan and transferred it to a wire rack so it could cool completely.

After refrigerating it overnight, the following day I enjoyed a slice!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 7 graham crackers)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a rack inside the insert of your slow cooker and fill with a 1/2 inch of water (about 2 cups for a 6qt. slow cooker).

In a medium bowl mix the graham crack crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Press the crumbs in the bottom and slightly up the sides of the springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour and whipping cream and continue beating until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan onto the rack inside of the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and keeping the lid on, let the cheesecake cool in the slow cooker for an hour. After the hour, remove the cheesecake and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least four before serving.

Recipe adapted from Dear Crissy

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Fall! My favorite time of the year is upon us. Although, while in my kitchen the other day looking in my backyard I noticed that my least favorite part of the season had already begun… the falling leaves. I am not a fan of raking leaves. And since I have quite a few trees in my backyard that are a welcome blessing in the hot summer they become the complete opposite when the cooler temps of the fall roll in. Oh well! In honor of the first full day of fall I am sharing with you cupcakes that tie together the flavors of fall deliciously, a spice cupcake with a pumpkin mousse filling and topped with a cream cheese frosting. I actually made these cupcakes while visiting a close friend in Virginia who happens to enjoy pumpkin spice items as much as I do. We actually text each other different food items we come across in pumpkin spice flavor, come to think of it, we text each other for a lot of out of the ordinary flavors we come across… Especially with Oreos.

I began by baking the cupcakes…

As they were cooling I prepped the pumpkin mousse. Now, I cheated a bit to make the mousse. For most of my cakes I use Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix combined with a cup each of whole milk and heavy cream and beat it until it’s smooth and thick. I’ve done it with vanilla and chocolate flavored Jell-O and I finally tried it with their Pumpkin Spice flavor. You should be seeing it on store shelves soon as fall is right around the corner. I purchased a few boxes last year that haven’t expired yet. Now, the nice thing, you can actually eat this mousse as dessert all by itself, so if you choose to make the entire box of pudding you will have some extra to enjoy. If you don’t want extra, use half the pack and only 1/2 cup each of whole milk and heavy cream. You can also omit filling the cupcakes and just top them with the cream cheese frosting… They will be just as delicious.

Once the cupcakes had cooled I cored the center of the cakes and filled them with the pumpkin mousse and then topped them with a small piece of the removed cupcake.

Next, I whipped up some cream cheese frosting and piped it on top of the cupcakes. Finally, I crumbled some of the cupcake crumbs left over from coring and sprinkled them on top of the cupcakes.

Finally verdict… DELISH! Just might be the perfect cupcake for the fall!

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Mousse:

1 3.4oz. package of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding Mix

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup muffin with liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, both sugars, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, about 1/4 cup in each. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and the transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling make the mousse & frosting.

To make the mousse, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt on medium speed until cream. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar on medium-low speed until smooth and then beat on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy. Set aside until ready to use. If not using immediately refrigerate until ready to use. You may need to bring to room temperature before using it.

Core the cupcakes and spoon the mousse to just about level and then top with the removed piece and then frost with frosting.

Recipe from Food Network

Apple Cider Fritters

I love Apple Cider Donuts! I first had them years ago when I went apple picking in upstate NY and now you can find them anywhere and everywhere. The best one’s I’ve had are from Wilklow Orchards in upstate NY and from Wooside Orchards out on the North Fork- their hard cider is good as well. I’ve also had some bad ones, but, we won’t get into that.  I did try to recreate them at home last year, but, it was a fail. I tried again this year, but, instead of donuts I made fritters and they were DELISH! The only problem… It’s easier to mindlessly eat a ridiculous amount of fritters than it is donuts.

Apple Cider Fritters

  • Servings: 24 Fritters
  • Print

Ingredients:

Fritters:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*

1/8 teaspoon cardamom*

1/8 teaspoon all spice*

3/4 cup apple cider

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

*Instead of all 4 spices, you could sub 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice for them

**Can use salted or unsalted, I used unsalted

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and all spice in a large bowl. In another bowl stir together the apple cider, eggs, butter and vanilla. Add the apple cider mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a shallow bowl.

Pour the oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy bottom deep pot and heat over medium heat to 360 to 370 F. Using a cookie scoop, drop the batter in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

While still warm roll the fritters in the cinnamon sugar and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from My Recipes

Pumpkin Churros

Initially I was planning on making a Pumpkin Spice Latte with some leftover pumpkin puree, but, then I came across a recipe for Baked Pumpkin Churros and I decided that my puree would be put to better use making them.

The batter came together quickly – less than fifteen minutes – and it was easy to pipe it on a parchment lined baking sheet to pop in the oven. While I didn’t try it, I am sure you could fry these if you want a more traditional churro, the downfall of that of course is that frying them means they won’t keep as well as baking them.

Once baked I sprayed them with cooking spray and rolled them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture to give them the traditional churros coating.

And finally I made hot fudge for dipping… YUM!

Baked Pumpkin Churros

Ingredients:

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

6 tablespoons butter, sliced into 1 tablespoon pieces

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Cooking spray, to spray baked churros

Hot fudge sauce, for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay 2 same-sized baking sheets on top of one another and line the top sheet with parchment paper. Using 2 baking sheets will prevent the bottom of the churros from burning.

In a medium saucepan combine the water, pumpkin, butter, brown sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the mixture boils.

Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla extract and flour and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and forms a smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and let it rest for 2 minutes.

On low speed add in one egg and mix until well combined, increasing the speed if necessary. Repeat with the second egg.

Transfer the dough to a large piping bag with a large star tip (I used a Wilton 6B tip).

Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. I ended up piping churros that were about 4 to 5 inches in length. You could pipe them smaller or larger.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes. The length of time will depend on the tip used and the length of your churros.

In a shallow dish combine the sugar and remaining cinnamon.

Once out of the oven, spray the churros with the cooking spray (top and bottom) and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer to a wire rack. Eat them alone or with hot fudge sauce.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

 

Hot Fudge Sauce*

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter**, cut into pieces

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder.

Whisk in the cream, then turn the heat to medium and continue whisking as the mixture warms up.

Once the mixture is warm add the butter and stir to melt.

Once hot, add the vanilla and stir to combine.

Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a heat-proof container.

Store in the refrigerator. It will become solid as it cools. When using, just spoon out your desired amount and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir and then heat for an additional 10 seconds or until your desired temperature.

*This recipe can easily be halved

**The original recipe called for salted butter

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman