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    Entries in autumn (9)

    Friday
    Sep272013

    Apple Upside Down Gingerbread Cake

    Wow, that’s a bit of a mouthful, huh?  Well, it was an easier title than sweet and spicy, apple-y, molasses-y, gingerbread goodness. Elise Logan and I went apple picking, you see.  In fact, I have to give a shout out to her munchkin for being such a great apple picker.  These are the ones I took, which was only a small percentage of the total haul. 

    While we were there, we visited the gift shop, of course.  Along with all the many jams and jellies, they had sorghum molasses.  I’ve only ever had cane derived molasses, so I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to try something new.

    So with an abundance of apples and exciting new molasses just dying to be made into something, the idea for apple upside down gingerbread cake was born.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 3-4 medium apples
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup flour
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • ¼ cup buttermilk*
    • 1 egg
    • ¼ cup oil
    • ½ cup molasses*
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • *the sorghum molasses I used was a little thinner than my usual blackstrap, so if yours is very thick, you may need to increase the buttermilk to ⅓ cup. 

    I know that looks like a huge list of ingredients, but I promise this is really quite easy to put together.  First, we’re going to deal with the apples.  Wait, first, butter an 8x8 pan and preheat your oven to 350°.  Now for the apples.  Peel them and cut them into a large dice.  Then, into a pan over medium heat, put 1 Tablespoon of butter. 

    Then in go the apples. 

    Toss them until they’re all coated with butter, then pop the lid on for 5 minutes. 

    When you remove the lid, they should just be starting to soften. 

    Sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

    Gently toss or stir until the apples are evenly coated. Pour them into the prepared pan.   

    Spread them around so you have an even layer, and then set that aside. 

    Now onto the cake part.  Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  (both flours, sugar, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, and ginger)

    Whisk those together and set them aside.  Next come the wet ingredients.  Buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla all go into a bowl. 

    Whisk that for a good minute or so to make sure the egg is well beaten.  Then, pour in the molasses.  Ah, there’s something beautiful about that, isn’t there? 

    Now, mix that well, and pour it over the dry ingredients. 

    Stir just until it all comes together.  Once the liquid and flour get together, you never want to over mix, or your cake will have air tunnels in it and can even be quite tough. 

    Pour that over the apples and spread it to even out the top. 

    Into the 350° oven for about 35 minutes.  It’ll be nicely browned on top, especially at the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. 

    In my world, hot out of the oven, spicy, apple-y deliciousness, can’t be served without a bit of good vanilla ice cream on top. 

     

    Have you ever been apple picking before?

     

    Friday
    Oct192012

    Apple Crisp

    As promised, I’ve made a recipe with apples.  Hubby and I went for a drive over the weekend to see the fall colors.  While we were out, we stopped at an orchard and picked up some apples.  Like everything else, apples bought directly from where they were grown are so much better than the ones shipped from across the country.  Then I had the task of figuring out the best way to put them to use.  My first thought was to make apple sauce, but that sounded a bit boring.  I’m not really that much of a pie making person.  I prefer to leave that to the professionals.  Lose the crust and add lots of spicy, crumbly topping, and now you’re talking.  Apple crisp is such a simple dessert, yet it’s fabulous enough that you’ll even see posh versions of it in fancy restaurants.  It’s really the perfect thing for those of us who are slightly pastry impaired.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 4 medium sized apples
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
    • 3 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    For the topping:

    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 2/3 cup oats
    • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    First up is the topping.  In a bowl, mix together everything but the butter. 

    Then, reserve 1 Tablespoon of the butter for the baking dish, and throw the other 7 Tablespoons into the bowl. 

    Using a fork, smoosh everything around until you get a nice crumbly mixture. 

    Set that aside, preheat the oven to 350° and we’ll start on the apples.  As always when baking with apples, it’s best to use a variety of them if you can. First, squeeze 2 Tablespoons into a mixing bowl.  You could use one of these gadgets for processing the apples.  They definitely make short work of peeling, coring, and slicing. 

    My problem with them is that I don’t particularly like thin slices for crisp.  So this is how I like to do it.  Peel the apple, then cut off the 4 sides leaving the core. 

    Then, cut those into chunks. 

    Drop them into the bowl and toss them with the lemon juice as you go. 

    Now, into a small dish go the corn starch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. 

    Mix them together until everything is evenly distributed and there are no more lumps of cornstarch or anything. 

    Sprinkle that over the apples. 

    Toss or stir until they’re all evenly coated. 

    I like to use a large shallow pie pan for this.  It makes for a good fruit to crisp ratio and also allows the apples to cook evenly.  This dish isn’t rocket science, though, so use whatever size pan suits you.  If you want it to be a bit fancier, you can even bake individual servings in small ramekins.  Personally, I like the more rustic approach.  Whatever you’re using, butter it liberally. 

    Pour in the apples, making sure to scrape every last bit of juicy goodness from the bowl. 

    Spread them to the edges of the pan and level them out. 

    Sprinkle on the topping.  As mentioned when I made sweet potato crisp, there is no such thing as too much topping.

    Now into the oven for 45 minutes.  When it’s ready it will be nice and bubbly around the edges and beginning to brown on top.  Look at that beauty!  Isn’t it amazing what a little time in the oven can do?  Not to mention, your house will be filled with the aroma of baking apples and spicy, buttery goodness.

    Now for the hard part.  Any fruit crisp really needs to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.  It’ll be hard, but I promise it’s worth the wait.  Top with some good vanilla ice cream, because I’m pretty sure it’s blasphemous to serve apple crisp without it, and enjoy. 

    What are you making with apples this fall?