Apple Crisp Re-do

A while back I made a couple of apple desserts and never got around to posting them. This one is a do over. Not that I thought the first time wasn’t great. I just made it again because it’s one of Charisse’s favorites. Aren’t I a sweet mommy? It’s a Weight Wathcers recipe and for sure lower in calories.

There are so many apple choices out there and although most recipes give suggestions for which one to use here’s a couple of ideas to get you started.

Jonagolds – These are more of a Jonathan/Golden Delicious hybrid. They have a firm flesh and a sweet yet tart taste. These beauties are great in pies.

Honeycrisps – The name implies that this apple is sweet, and it is. It’s also an all around good pick for anything from snacking to baking. Another great characteristic is that it retains most of its firmness. The downside is that they’re only available for a few months in the fall. Honeycrisps also play well with others, meaning you can combine them with other varieties.

Granny Smith – If there is an all-star in the apple lineup this variety is it. Granny Smith’s are one of the most popular and I have to admit my least favorite. They are used in more apple pies than any other. Maybe it’s their tart and tanginess that I don’t particularly care for. To get around all that tartness try pairing this one with a Golden Delicious or a Honeycrisp.

My two top apple faves for eating and baking are Fuji and Braeburn. The Fuji apple is a late-season apple so you can look for them to be around for a while. Just perfect for Thanksgiving baking. Fuji’s are most often used for snacking, salads and are totally terrific for sauces. Due to their natural sweetness they require little additional sugar. When I bake with them I do very little pre-cooking because they aren’t one of the firmest varieties. On the other hand, the Braeburn is a firm apple. I love it‘s dual taste of spicy and sweet. No worries about it losing it‘s shape either, it holds up well.

So there’s my take on the best of apples and here’s the link to the recipe I posted a couple of years ago. Stay tuned for an apple cake recipe that was off the hook!!

Apple Torte

So we got the diva off to school yesterday. She was quite happy to return and reclaim the friends she was sure someone was stealing. Never mind learning and getting caught up, nooo our future homecoming queen had to retain her social standing. Gotta love her! I’d been eyeing this Apple Torte for a long time. It was to be another attempt at giving The Apple Crisp Queen another option. She was excited, at first. For some strange reason she assumed that it was a healthy recipe. Now with that amount of butter sunshine. Honestly, I don’t know which aroma was more dominant, the butter or the apples. Sorry about that sunshine.

I really wish I’d read the reviews before I finished this cake. They weren’t bad, however it may have led me to do what I thought would be best and that was to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. This cake is so buttery and so good and the lemon zest gives it just enough oomph to make your taste buds happy. However, it clung to the pan as tight as jeans fresh from the dryer. Looking at the pictures you’ll see that it bears no resemblance to a torte at all. Do you think we cared? Not one bit! I would like to see it in torte form so I will make it again. It almost taste like a bread pudding, and did I tell you how buttery it is? So glad I’m up to date with my cholesterol medicine.

Buttery Apple Torte Recipe – adapted from Simply Recipes
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
3 Renette or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp grated lemon zest
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

I’ve never heard of a Renette apple and mostly by Fuji so that’s what I used. I’m also hooked on vanilla paste these days so that was my choice rather than the extract. Those were my only two changes this time around.

Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 inch sides. In a microwave, melt the butter. Pour 6 Tbsp of it into a small bowl or cup and set aside. Add the apple slices and the remaining butter to a large frying pan and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolk until blended. Add the 6 TBS of melted butter, the vanilla, the granulated sugar, and the lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture and the apples. Spoon into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until browned, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and lift off the pan, then invert the cake again onto the rack and let cool completely. (Optional) Just before serving, place confectioners’ sugar in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake. Serves 8.

We’re getting close to the end of the story friends. Here’s Part 6.

The return trip to New York was more fun because Samara (our oldest daughter) met me there. The New You Revolution began on my birthday; it would end on hers. Mother Nature was showing out on the east coast at the beginning of March that year. Unseasonably warm weather greeted us as we met at the airport. Our driver was a good-natured guy and played the CD that Samara handed him. Turns out he liked Maroon 5 also. Strains of “Sunday Morning”, and the mid afternoon sun, escorted us to our hotel. I was in such a rush to check in and show Samara what I knew of the city we stopped at the wrong hotel. I should have listened to the driver when he tried to tell me differently, instead of pretending to be a native New Yorker. Not to worry, we didn’t look too foolish crossing the street with luggage and bellman in tow. Ha!

This time the network had booked us at the Shearton. It was nice, but no Michelangelo. Leigh Ann one of the participants and her friend probably thought the same thing; they were stuck in the elevator for about a half hour. I would have had a panic attack for sure. We had dinner at Tao the first night, way cool. It was dark and packed to the rafters. The crowd was thirty something-ish and very up and coming. It was easy to see why the producers of Sex and The City had once filmed there. The gigantic Buddha seemed to watch us at every turn threatening to spill all the secrets it had learned. After dinner Samara and I weren’t ready to turn in. So this time I had company strolling down Times Square. We were typical tourists, oohing and aahing over the lights, street corner vendors and the crowds. Arm in arm we headed in the direction of the Ed Sullivan Theater hoping to take a peek inside and maybe catch a glimpse of David Letterman. No such luck he was on hiatus, and taping would’ve been over by that time. Reluctantly we headed back.

No early call this time, but the weather had changed dramatically. Snow, sleet, rain it all seemed to come down at once. The nervousness we’d felt at the onset of the program was gone. We felt like veterans on the set and were sorry that it was about to end. I’d lost 19.5 pounds (yes I wanted credit for that half pound) but still had a ways to go. Now the real work would start, and we would find out if our bad habits really were broken. Could our newfound determination stand up to life without CNN? Time would tell. The 21 club hosted the wrap party. As we listened to the history of the club by a waiter that had been there for years, I imagined the likes of Sammy Davis Jr, and the rest of the Rat Pack hanging out there. Everyone seemed to pick at their lunch. Maybe it was the reality that the program was ending and we would be on our own. Onward and Upward as I always say.

Far be in from me to deny my daughter the opportunity to shop, so back into the elements we went. Living in Michigan had taught us how to dress for inclement weather, and we were not about to let below freezing temperatures, snow and ice keep us from the bargains. We were literally like two kids in a candy shop. Later that evening sitting in the lobby of the hotel, we wished for more time to enjoy the city together and wished that Charisse (the Apple Crisp Queen) were with us. I had one more early morning meeting with Miriam before the flight back home. I can’t say enough how friendly and supportive the Medical Team at CNN were. They made each of us feel so special and gave us all the attention we needed. After the meeting it was off to the airport. As the driver made his way through the slushy streets I spotted Sanjay, perfect timing. He was one of the only people I hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye too. The driver was kind enough to stop so I could thank Dr. Gupta again for all he’d done. He reminded me of my goal and I promised to keep it. No more delays, it was time to go home and find out what I was really made of.