So, I typically make this recipe in the fall, and much like the ad for Frank’s Red Hot, I put this *stuff* on everything.. But its Summertime, and I bought some local pork chops from my friend Anthony’s locally grown food store, The Food Shop in downtown Peterborough and it was just calling out for cooked apples.
My hubby likes to order the pork shops and cooked apples from Cracker Barrel on our annual trip to New York to cross border shop. Since our trip will be later this year than usual, I decided to host Cracker Barrel night at our house for dinner. His side dish of choice is usually hash brown casserole, so heck, I made that too. I must have been trying to score some wifey points to keep in the bank… I do have a girls weekend coming up.. (woot woot Ottawa 2019 Rebecca <3 )
Here’s a Cracker Barrel breakfast featuring their fried apples and that cheesy hash brown casserole with country ham, eggs, and country biscuits. I feel my heart warming with joy and my arteries clogging with happiness.
Anyway, I did a Facebook post to give a shout out to The Food Shop for the great ingredients, and a friend (Hi Nicole!) asked for the cooked apples recipe. Since I’m likely never getting around to writing the cookbook that I’ve always planned to… (#futuregoals #retirementgoals) I’ll just proceed to share my original recipes here on my blog.. Come for the Real Estate, stay for the recipes.. lol
Anyway – I’ve never actually ‘gone to the googles’ for a recipe for cooked apples. It seemed simple enough to concoct something tasty myself as long as I used simple ingredients – and I encourage you to do the same. Look at recipes and tweak and make them your own. Take culinary risks, invent something new! (Ever watch that show ‘Just Like Mom’ in the 80’s ??! Omg, I just remembered that show. I wanted so freakin bad to be on that kids reality show, and I knew if given the chance, I’d make excellent cookies and my mom would know straight away the good ones were mine, and I wouldn’t give in to temptation like all the other loser kids who added ketchup and orange soda to their chocolate chip cookie recipes just because those tempting but nasty ingredients were there in the studio kitchens… I didn’t realize that dream, but I do keep my chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized just in case an opportunity to bake competitively, or blindfolded presents itself. You can’t be too prepared.
So, yeah, apples. I have used these apples on many dishes, I’ll list a few I have tried here:
Side dish for pork chops, obvi.., warm topping on pancakes or belgian waffles with fresh whipped cream, on new york deli style cheesecake (oh sweet Jesus, yes! a culinary triumph, if I do say so) , side dish for breakfast buffet (good with ham), thanksgiving side dish for main course or dessert. I’m thinking crock-pot potential here.. – I may have just opened a new door…
Potential other uses – in pie irons for camp pies, ooh! with granola for a quickie apple crumble! (genius!), or warm apples on a scoop of good vanilla bean ice cream for your next boujee dinner party. Flambe that shit! go wild!
Choosing your apples:
You’ll need 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced. I recommend you try using a variety of apples for a better flavour and texture mix. I do this for pie too. I never bake with one type of apple because all apples cook down differently. Some will release more water, some are sweeter, some are more tart. I’ve found that softer apples like Macintosh break down and don’t hold their shape in pies, harder like granny smith hold their shape but aren’t as sweet, red delicious need more sugar added, etc. I literally use 4 or 5 different apple types when I make cooked apples. It gives a variety of texture, sweetness and flavour – something for everybody! I used what we had kickin’ around in the crisper for a couple weeks (good use for bruised or ugly old apples) I used a honeycrisp, 2 granny smith, a macintosh, a gala and an opal apple this time.. I literally had 5 varieties in my crisper for 2 weeks… I’ll do more apple recipes after our family apple harvest haul in the fall.
6 large apples – washed, peeled, cored, sliced
1/3 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon – depending on your taste and if being served with other flavours
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (good pure Madagascar vanilla – liquid heaven – don’t get me started)
3 tbsp salted butter
Slice your apples based on how thick you’d like your end results – want it more like apple sauce? Slice ’em thin. Want chunky apples you need a fork to eat? Slice em thick. Just be consistent so they cook evenly. I do about 16 pieces per apple if you’re legit clueless and need 100% direction.
Add apples to a large skillet with high sides and a lid. I use this pioneer woman pan on the bottom left. It’s called a ‘cooker’. ha, doi.. Add the juice and sugar and cover to cook over low heat.
Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until starting to soften. Add ground cinnamon and stir to combine. The liquid should not exceed a simmer and steam. No boiling here. It’s a low and slow kinda game. Keep an eye on them, but don’t uncover often unless you need to. The moisture needs to stay contained. If they ever look dry, add a splash o juice. If they’ve released excessive moisture and are floating in the deep end, leave off the lid for a bit to let some steam out.
When it’s time to serve warm, add the butter to caramelize the sauce. If it is a glossy somewhat thick syrup – excellent! You’re a pro. Enjoy. If it’s runny A.F; add a small cornstarch slurry to thicken.
HUH?? Cornstarch slurry – in a small mise en place bowl, or a glass, add a tsp of cornstarch to a tsp or less of cold water. Stir like the dickens with a fork to make a thick liquidy paste, and add it gradually to your hot liquid over the heat (in this case, add it to the liquid in your apple mixture. Raise the heat slightly before you add it – slurrys work best in heat. This will thicken your apple’s ‘sauce’. Add gradually, a little splash at a time while stirring if you’re new. You don’t want to bind it up, so add only what you need, stirring and waiting between additions.
So, that’s it. Cooked apples. Fancy, tasty, easier than pie. I’ve added chopped pecans before when I topped a homemade cheesecake, and you could add raisins too I guess if you’re cray.
Serves 6 apparently, but no judgement. It’s fruit.. And you’ll be making them again.
Since you made it to the end of this post, I’ll blow your mind and say you can do this recipe with peaches too! I do a mix of fresh peeled with canned, Boom. Mic drop.