Tag Archives: apples

Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie

After taking a few years off from entering any of my pies in the local fair, I decided it was time to get back to it. I entered the State Two Crusted Apple Pie Contest, because I figured go big or go home! The rules stated that you could have other flavors added in as long as it was predominantly apple, so I decided to mix it up a bit so that my pie would stand out to the judges. I chose to develop a recipe using maple syrup and maple sugar because it’s a little bit different but still a traditional apple pie. I did a few trials, with feedback from my parents, brothers and sister in law (who are all apple connoisseurs) and my mother in law (who used to win all the baking contests and then became a judge at the fair). I also had my husband and picky kids as enthusiastic testers! I loved all the constructive criticism they gave me, because that made the pie so much better. My goals were to have a flaky, buttery crust that was golden brown and cooked well on the bottom, and tender, juicy (but not too juicy) flavorful apples. I pulled out all my tricks and got a delicious pie!

Crust

  • 3 cups flour
  • 12 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup cold shortening
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 Tbsp ice water

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.

2. With the food processor running, pour in the water one tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball.

3. Separate the dough in half, form into disks, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • 6 large apples, Cortland and McIntosh, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (granulated)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Other ingredients for putting it all together

  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened and divided
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water added
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar (granulated)

Make the pie!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

2. Grease a 10″ pie pan with 1 Tbsp of the softened butter. This is one of my tricks to get a nicely browned bottom crust.

3. Combine all the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

4. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pan. Pile in the filling, leaving behind some of the juices that accumulate in the bowl so it’s not too runny. Pile it high! I like a lot of apples.

5. Dot the top of the apples with the remaining 2 Tbsp of softened butter.

6. Roll out the top crust and place it on top. Crimp the edges and cut a hole in the middle for a vent. In my family’s farm market, we carve designs into the tops of the pies so we can tell them apart. The apple design is three sheaves of wheat, and I find it’s impossible for me to make an apple pie without that design on top! That’s how I know it’s apple!

7. Brush on the egg wash and sprinkle on the maple sugar. Place on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment to catch the drips, and place it in the middle of the oven.

8. Bake for an hour, then move the pie to the bottom rack for 10 minutes to finish cooking the bottom crust. Finally, move it to the top rack to nicely brown the top for about 10 minutes. It’s done when the filling bubbles out and the crust is golden brown.

9. Let the pie cool for at least an hour before slicing so it’s not too runny. Or go ahead and eat it if you can’t wait! Serve with a couple slices or sharp cheddar cheese, or vanilla ice cream on top.

So after all that work, I got second place at my local fair. I was busy (I do have a job and three kids) and only baked one instead of doing a back up pie, and I got a huge crack in the crust! I lost points on the appearance, and ended up losing by one point! My pie scored highest for crust, flavor and texture though! Lesson learned, bake two and enter the prettier one. And eat the other! Next year I’m going to try again. The winner at the local fair goes on to compete at the state level.

I also entered my old favorite, Butternut Squash Pie, and won a blue ribbon for it. That pie is always a winner!

We brought the Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie to Thanksgiving this year and my family loved it. If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!

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Enjoying the Apple Harvest

As apple season nears its end in our area, I spent some time going back through my recipes to make sure I’ve gotten a chance to enjoy them all with fresh apples.  Since I grew up with an apple orchard right next to my house, apples have always been a big part of my life.  Snipping blossoms and arranging them in a big vase in spring time, watching the little apples grow throughout the summer, picking that first Macoun in early fall and polishing it on my jeans before taking a crispy bite, sampling all the different varieties, helping press the apples into cider, and of course baking apples into a pie.  Now that I no longer live on the farm, I’ve planted my own little mini-orchard of six apple trees, but it will be a few years before I get any apples. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat apples.  As you prepare any of these recipes, I highly recommend eating the skin that you peel off of the apples.  The skin smells and tastes wonderful, so don’t waste it!

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Apple Tart

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Apple Walnut Bread

Apple Raspberry Crisp

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Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie or traditional Apple Pie

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Cinnamon Cider Jelly (Reduced-sugar version, too!)

Applesauce and Caramel Apple Butter 

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Cran-Applesauce

What’s your favorite way to eat apples?

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Apple Pie

Can you believe I don’t have a recipe for apple pie posted already, after 2.5 years of blogging? I grew up on an apple orchard, for goodness sake! This one has a flakey crust and nice, soft apples. (My two pie pet peeves are a raw bottom crust and crunchy, uncooked apples!)

  • dough for 2-crusted pie
  • 5-6 large apples (I like a mixture. This time it was Ida Red and Macoun.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Roll out the bottom crust and line the pie pan. Peel and slice the apples thinly and place them in a large bowl, then add the sugar, flour and spices.  Stir to combine and pile the apples high in the crust.  Dot with butter, then roll out the remaining crust and place it on top of the apples.  Crimp the edges and cut some vents.  Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 minutes.  Serve warm with slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

I had planned to take a picture, but we ate it too quickly. Next time, I promise!

Please link up in the comments with your best apple pie recipe!

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Picking Apples

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Autumn Relish

I have yet to find an apple pie filling recipe that I really like, so I’m sharing this recipe instead.  I tried a recipe from Hobby Farms, but it was too much glop and not enough apple for my taste.  I’m busy formulating a different recipe in my mind, and may try it next weekend.  For now, enjoy this apple-pear-cranberry-walnut relish instead.

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  • 2 cups peeled and chopped apples
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped pears
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine fruit, sugar and water in a large pot.  Simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.  Stir in the nutmeg and walnuts, then cook for 5 more minutes.  Place a whole cinnamon stick in each sterilized jar, then ladle the hot relish into jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

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Looking for suggestions!

I’ve got a bunch of apples that I’d like to can. Of course I’m going to make a ton of unsweetened applesauce, but I’d also like to can apple pie filling or apple slices.  Anybody have a good recipe?

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Reduced-Sugar Cinnamon Cider Jelly

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This is the reduced-sugar version of my Cinnamon Cider Jelly.  The only real difference I see is that the no-sugar-needed pectin makes a cloudy jelly and the regular pectin makes a crystal clear jelly.  You can use regular sugar, as I have, or splenda or honey.  Just follow the directions on the no-sugar-needed pectin to decide how much of the alternative sweetener to add.  In a fancy canning jar like the one above, these make great holiday gifts.

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 package no-sugar-needed pectin
  • 1 tsp butter (optional, reduces foaming)
  • 0-3 cups sugar (I used 2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Sterilize jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Ladle some of the boiling water over the lids in a bowl.  Let them sit in the hot water until ready to use.
  2. Pour the cider into a large pot and slowly stir in the no-sugar-needed pectin.  Add the butter.  Bring the mixture to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down. 
  3. Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim the foam.
  4. Fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process for 10 minutes.  Makes 3-5 half-pints, depending on how much sugar you add.

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