Tag Archives: Apples

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Did you know that a half-sheet pan and a jelly roll pan are NOT the same thing? They’re not. Definitely not. I learned this the hard way when I tried my first slab pie a couple weeks ago.

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Since tis the season, I went with apples for the filling. I made the biggest hunk of pie crust I think ever in my life, chilled it, then proceeded to roll it out. I rolled, and I rolled, and then rolled some more, but I knew even before I transferred it to the half-sheet pan that it wasn’t going to fit. I tried stretching it to fit, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to hang over the sides of the pan without ripping it.

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

And then I rolled out the second, smaller piece of dough, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to meet the bottom crust. So the filling stuck out from the crusts about a quarter of an inch all around. Not great.

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Thanks to Google, that all-knowing internet being I should have consulted in the first place, I learned that a jelly roll pan is a little smaller, and that’s what you’re supposed to use for slab pies. Amazon Prime got some prompt business from me, and we tried this again. And isn’t it so interesting, that when you use the right pan, slab pie is not difficult at all! So many facepalms…

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Yes, please don’t repeat my dumb mistakes: make sure you are using the correct pan. You need a jelly roll pan, which will be labeled as such. They are 15×10 inches. If you don’t have one, they aren’t expensive and are totally worth it just to make this pie. It was hideously, fiendishly, unfairly delicious. Enjoy!

Apple Walnut Slab Pie

Source: this is an apple version of Martha Stewart’s Slab Pie, found via Food52


5 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs kosher salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 tsp cider vinegar
12 to 16 tbs ice water

7 medium to large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 oz. toasted walnuts, rough chopped

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup turbinado or other raw sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

First, make the CRUST: in a very large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add in the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut the fat into the flour until the mixture is sandy and the butter is the size of small peas. Add the vinegar, then drizzle in the water. Use a rubber spatula to stir the dough together, using as few strokes as possible. When the dough has mostly come together, use your hands to knead the last straggly bits into the mound of dough. Divide the dough into two pieces with one slightly larger than the other. Think of a 60-40 split. Wrap both pieces of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
For the FILLING: preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to an 18-by-13-inch rectangle. Fit into a 15-by-10-inch rimmed jelly roll baking sheet, pressing into corners (pastry will hang over sides). Chill while assembling filling.
In a large bowl, stir together the apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, lemon juice, salt, and walnuts. Spread this mixture over the chilled pie shell. Chill again while you roll out the top crust.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining piece of dough to a 16-by-11-inch rectangle; drape over the filling. Fold the edge of bottom dough over top dough. Crimp if desired. Prick the top dough all over with a fork. Brush entire surface of pie with the beaten egg (thinned with a little water if necessary). Mix the turbinado and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the top crust.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let pie cool until it is just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces. Slab pie is best eaten the same day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

White Cheddar Apple Crisp

White Cheddar Apple Crisp

Apple season is upon us!! Matt and I had originally planned to go apple picking this fall, like we sometimes do, but both the local grocery stores in our new ‘hood sell tons of local apples, something I was very excited to discover. We’ve found that this year at least, it’s been preferable to walk three blocks and replenish apples as desired instead of driving for two hours, picking two bushels and then frantically putting apples in absolutely everything to make sure they’re all used up before they go bad.

white cheddar apple crisp

White Cheddar Apple Crisp

Either way, I promised Matt I’d make his favorite fall dessert, which is, as you might have surmised by now, an apple crisp. I needed a new twist though, and while combining apples with cheddar in desserts is probably older than time itself, it’s a combination I’ve rarely baked in my own kitchen. So it’s a new twist to me, if you will.

white cheddar apple crisp

This one is rather interesting (I thought so, at least) – instead of incorporating the cheddar into the crust, chunks of super-sharp white cheddar are tossed with the apples before they go into the pan and get topped with the crisp. The result? Lovely! The crisp is definitely sweet, but contrasts so beautifully with the salty, sharp cheese in each bite. Of course the cheese gets melty and gooey in the oven, so there’s another contrast with the soft texture of the cheese complementing the crunch of the topping and the bite of the apples.

White Cheddar Apple Crisp

Matt was extremely happy with it! I bet you and yours will be too.

Source: Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

4 medium Gala apples, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbs brown sugar
1 ½ tsp whole wheat pastry flour (can sub in all-purpose flour)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes

2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup loosely packed brown sugar
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub in all-purpose flour)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional but highly recommended)

Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the white cheddar cubes and toss again to combine. Set aside while you make the topping.
For the TOPPING, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the butter and vanilla extract and use your fingers to disperse the butter throughout the dry ingredients.
Pour the apple mixture into a greased 8×8” square baker. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples. Bake until the crisp is golden and the apples are softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Bacon-Streusel Topped Apple Pie

Bacon Streusel Topped Apple pie 6003

The other day I promised you some Thanksgiving-appropriate desserts, and today I shall deliver! I think we’d all agree: Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving without dessert. And for me growing up, Turkey Day dessert equaled PIE. Lots and lots of beautiful pies would line a table and a couple hours after our turkey meal, we’d all dig in and stuff our faces with a little slice of each kind.

Bacon Streusel Topped Apple Pie 5988

We kept things pretty traditional with the pumpkin and pecan pies, but once every few years, someone would make a lovely deep-dish, double crust apple pie. I’ve always been a fan of apple pie, since before I even have real memories, apparently. As in, there are high chair pictures. And, I still am a huge fan!

bacon streusel topped apple pie 6020

Bacon streusel topped apple pie 6034

When it comes to apple pies, the classic deep-dish version is always welcome, but this year I thought we’d shake things up a bit with a streusel topping instead of a top crust. And I couldn’t seem to stop there – oh no, I went ahead and included BACON in this streusel topping. Bacon bits!!! Oh, and let me not neglect to mention the bacon fat in the pie crust. And no, I didn’t clarify my bacon fat either. Something I didn’t do on purpose, I might add. When you clarify the bacon fat, it becomes mostly about texture, and I wanted that smoky, bacon-y goodness flavor in there too.

Bacon Streusel Topped apple pie 6051

Upon tasting, I must conclude it was the right decision. This pie is wonderfully familiar yet puts a unique spin on the good ol’ apple pie. Alert any vegetarians first, but I highly recommend putting this apple pie out on your dessert table this Thanksgiving. It’s really, really delicious. Enjoy!

Bacon Streusel topped apple pie 6057

{One Year Ago: Julie’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Apple Pecan Cheesecake Cupcakes, Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers}

Source: adapted from Bacon 24/7 by Theresa Gilliam


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Healthy pinch of kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 tbs un-clarified bacon fat, chilled
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
6-8 tbs ice cold water

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium Braeburn apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (about 6 slices)
2 tbs chopped, toasted walnuts

To make the CRUST: combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and bacon fat and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the fat into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Add the vinegar and the water and stir gently until the dough has mostly come together. Use your clean hands to briefly knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just to get the rest of the little crumbly bits to incorporate into the dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the PIE: preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a regular 9” pie plate and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the pie dough disc from the refrigerator and set on a floured surface. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the dough out into about a 12” circle. Transfer the dough to your prepared pie plate. You’ll probably have more overhang in some spots than others, so use kitchen shears to trim it and patch the more paltry spots. Fold the overhang under the pie dough, then use your fingers to crimp the dough decoratively. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and flour. Toss together very well until all the apples are coated.
Now make the BACON STREUSEL: in a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand and pea-sized clumps form. Add the crumbled bacon and walnuts and stir to mix.
Spoon the apples into the prepared pie shell. Smooth them out on top, then evenly sprinkle the bacon streusel over top. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is browned and the apples are tender, 50-60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Apple-Shallot Jam

Bacon Wrapped Monkfish with Apple Shallot Jam

It’s official: I picked too many apples at the orchard this year. Though I’ve always loved apples, either eaten as is, or used in cooking, or used in baking, I must confess that I got a little sick of them this fall. And I hope you haven’t gotten sick of seeing apple recipes coming across this blog, because yes, I’m aware that there have been a lot of them.

apple shallot jam

But it’s a relief good to know that here we are at the end of the run. Now, in my defense, I didn’t think I’d be blogging so many apple recipes – I fully expected to have some duds. But then I only had three apple recipe flops. Three! Out of… I don’t want to know how many. The first dud was supposed to be some apple crème brulee tartlets, but the pie dough didn’t remotely cooperate. The second flop was some toffee walnut blondies with an apple pie layer on top. The blondies themselves were fabulous, but the topping was beyond ugly. There was too much liquid, and after only a little bit of time it looked gray and very unappealing.

Apple Shallot Jam

And the third, an apple upside-down cake, wasn’t so much of a flop per se; it was perfectly edible and quite delicious in fact. But I really hated the way it looked and the way the pictures came out, so I skipped blogging it.

This dish wasn’t a dud – not in the least. It’s incredibly tasty. If you’ve never given monkfish a try, I highly recommend correcting that. It’s a wonderfully thick, fatty white fish, with a texture something akin to swordfish, but then again something all its own. And if you don’t groove on the fish, this jam would stand on its own quite nicely. It would be perfect for sandwiches or spread on biscuits. Enjoy!

bacon wrapped monkfish

And here’s my round-up of apple recipes for this year, with one special addition: last year, with my apple stash, I made one of the best things I’ve ever tasted – Apple Pie Ice Cream. While it was one of the best things I’ve ever made, it was NOT one of the best things I’ve ever photographed. So I made it again this year and got much better pics. I’ve updated the post, so please, click over and enjoy!

Apple Pie Ice Cream

Apple Cheddar Quiche
Cranberry Apple Muffins
Savory Apple, Oat and Herb Scones
Apple Pie Bagels
Apple Butter Doughnuts
Apple Streusel Bread
Beer Waffles with Cinnamon Apples and Caramel Sauce

Apple-Pork Ragout over Pappardelle
Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash

Pumpkin Apple Cake
French Apple Tart
Apple Maple Walnut Cobbler
Apple Crisp
Caramel Apple Layer Cake
My Mom’s Apple Cake

Good lord, that’s a lot… Oh well, they were all delicious, I stand by it. 🙂

{One year ago: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onion, and Candied Pecans and Sweet Potato Biscuits}

Source: adapted from The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook by Linda Beaulieu

2 (10 oz.) monkfish tail ends
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 strips bacon
2 tbs olive oil

1 cup sugar
4 shallots, chopped
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup red wine, such as merlot
2 cups apple cider
2 tbs maple syrup

Season the monkfish all over very lightly with salt and moderately with black pepper. Wrap 3 strips of bacon around each piece of fish and secure with toothpicks.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a cast-iron or other ovenproof large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. When it is nearly smoking, carefully place the fish in the pan and sear for about 1 minute per side. Place the skillet in the oven and cook the fish until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to be sure. You want it to read 145 F.
While the fish is cooking, make the jam. In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook the sugar until it caramelizes. If it is seriously refusing to caramelize over low heat, inch the heat level up until it cooperates. Don’t walk away during this process though. Sugar can go from beautifully caramelized to burnt in a split second.
Add the shallots, apples, wine, apple cider, and maple syrup. Cook until thick and reduced by half. Again, your heat level and cook time may vary. I kept mine around medium heat and it took around 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching the bottom of the sauce.
Remove the fish from the oven and remove the toothpicks. Serve immediately with a dollop of jam. Store leftover jam in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Pumpkin Apple Cake

Pumpkin Apple Cake

Happy Monday, y’all! I’m finding Mondays to be a very good television viewing night. Every Monday evening our TV is glued to NBC; and now I actually sort of look forward to the most universally dreaded day of the week. Hey, whatever works, right?

pumpkin apple cake, before baking

pumpkin apple cake, out of the oven

“The Voice” is hopelessly addicting, I always have to watch it. I occasionally sing along if I like the song (be grateful you only know me virtually, your poor ears have been spared!) and of course I have to be catty critique the song choices (for the love, people, lay off the Beyoncé songs already!). Then “The Voice” ends and “The Blacklist” comes on. Have y’all seen that one? OMG. I’ve gotten completely hooked. It’s so friggin’ good! The acting and writing is extremely well-done, so suspenseful with just the right amount of dry humor. And what on EARTH is going on with her husband?? Aaahh! I went and got my mom hooked on it too, aren’t I nice?

Pumpkin Apple Cake

I share this cake today because it’s a perfect TV viewing dessert or snack. Easy to throw together, uncomplicated, seasonal, and uber-delicious. You can’t go wrong, it’s just perfect. One thing I loved about this cake is that there aren’t many spices in the recipe, so the unadulterated pumpkin flavor really shines through. The original recipe called for none of the usual spice suspects, but I couldn’t resist throwing in just a touch of cinnamon. Don’t get me wrong, spiced pumpkin desserts are delicious, but I really enjoyed tasting the pure pumpkin flavor this time around. And the apple lends wonderful moisture and just a hint of background sweet/tart notes.

pumpkin apple cake

Pumpkin apple cake

So, my beloved readers, I really want to know: what TV shows do you watch? What are you completely hooked on? What great television viewing do you recommend? And what snacks or treats have you made to accompany a night on the couch?

Pumpkin Apple Cake

{One year ago: Chipotle Pumpkin Chowder}

Source: slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennie Perillo

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup buttermilk
1 large apple, peeled and grated
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×9” square baking pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon to combine.
In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and oil. Whisk vigorously until thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the buttermilk, then gently fold in the apple.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, gently spreading it to the edges. Bake until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the cake pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Apple Cheddar Quiche

Apple Cheddar Quiche

Happy Halloween everyone! I gotta tell ya’, this is one holiday that just doesn’t rank very high on my radar. There’s no negative, subconcious underlying reason for it, it’s just the way it goes, I guess. I don’t have kids to take trick-or-treating, I’m not very craftsy so I don’t get into decorating, and I really don’t get into making Halloween themed food. I’m not the greatest at decorating cupcakes like spider webs, I don’t make eyeball soup, and those cheese sticks that look like fingers really freak me out, quite frankly.

cheddar baked into pie shell

Whatever, it’s fine. But for all of you in different circumstances and with different talents, I hope you all have a great time with your festivities tonight, and please stay safe!

apple quiche filling

I must, however, confess to being a bit of a Halloween Scrooge when it comes to handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Before you judge, please know that I live in a second floor walk-up, so the idea of constantly running up and down stairs to give out candy just isn’t appealing to me. We leave the lights off in hopes of discouraging trick-or-treaters and saving our leg muscles.

Apple Cheddar Quiche

But I’m quite lucky this year; I’m in Boston visiting my mom, so it’ll just be Matt’s problem! Bah Humbug!

apple cheddar quiche

Today I’m sharing something that is quite a treat, but could also fall into the “trick” category. Treat because it’s so delicious, and trick because it’s an unexpected flavor combination and an unexpected vehicle for apples – I’d certainly never heard of using them in a savory quiche before. But it works! Enjoy!

apple cheddar quiche

{One year ago: Apple Pie Ice Cream}

Source: slightly adapted from What Megan’s Making

1 9″ unbaked pie crust, or half of this recipe
1 3/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups peeled, cubed, tart apples
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups half & half
1 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Roll out pie dough, if necessary, and transfer to a regular 9″ pie plate; sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese into the bottom of the pie shell and bake 10 minutes on lowest rack of oven; set aside away from the oven and let cool a bit.
In a medium skillet, saute apples and shallots in butter until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread apple mixture evenly in pie shell; sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, cream, milk, and salt. Pour egg mixture over the apples and cheese in the pie crust, enough so that it comes to the top of the pie plate but obviously you don’t want it spilling over. You may not need all of the egg mixture.
Place the pie plate on the lowest rack of the oven and bake until firm and knife comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. Leftovers are even more amazing!

French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart

When you go apple picking and come home with a plethora abundance of the lovely fruit, it’s pretty much sacrilege to not make at least one pie with your stash. Last year I made a wonderful, deep-dish, double-crust apple pie. Basically the classic version. It was comforting, earthy and so delicious. I even made it again for Thanksgiving.

french apple tart, before baking

But this year I wanted something different in the realm of apple pies, and this tart seemed ideal. It was. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat. And while this might not have been what the French had in mind, once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can totally pick it up with your hands and eat it like an open-faced hand pie!

French apple tart, before baking

This tart is more difficult and fussy to make than your standard American apple pie. It just is. I know it’s all vogue these days to say that French food really isn’t fussy (really!), but I’m not always convinced that’s entirely accurate. This was a little fussy. You do need a ruler to measure the pie dough as you’re rolling it out. And I will HIGHLY recommend completely and thoroughly wrapping your baking sheet in foil first. I didn’t; I just lined it with parchment paper, baked the tart, and then had a hell of a time getting the crusted burnt sugar off the baking sheet later.

French Apple Tart

French apple tart

Also, I could have easily halved the amount of glaze called for, so that’s how I’ll write it; of course you can increase that amount if you wish. And I think that’s it! Enjoy this one guys, it really is a showstopper apple dessert everyone will love.

French apple tart

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbs sugar
12 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks or pats
½ cup ice water

2 large apples, such as Granny Smith (you want apples that will stay sturdy when baked)
½ cup sugar
4 tbs cold unsalted butter, small-diced
¼ cup apple jelly
1 tbs brandy

First, make the pastry crust. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk lightly to combine. Add the butter and use your pastry blender to cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas. Add the ice water and stir together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough has mostly come together. Use your hands to knead in the last little bit of crumbs. Form the dough into a rectangular (as much as possible) shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Tightly wrap a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Then line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
Flour your rolling pin. On a floured surface, unwrap the dough and roll it out to slightly larger than 10×14 inches. With a sharp knife and a ruler, trim the edges to make a 10×14” rectangle. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Keep the baking sheet away from the preheating oven while you prep the apples. Stick in the refrigerator if necessary.
Peel the apples. Use a melon baller and sharp paring knife to remove the core. Thinly slice the apples across in ¼” thick slices.
Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle the apples with the full ½ cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during baking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.
When the tart is done, remove from the oven. Heat the apple jelly together with the brandy. Brush the apples and pastry edges completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula and carefully slide it to a wooden cutting board. Let it cool a bit, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.

Cranberry Apple Muffins

Cranberry Apple Muffins

So the other day, I leave the house in a big fat hurry, don’t have time to eat breakfast, and my rumbling stomach lures me into the corner bakery in my neighborhood, a bakery that makes wonderful New York bagels and some of the best lox spread I’ve ever tasted. Being in too big a rush to have them toast and prepare a bagel, I grabbed a cranberry muffin and ran out the door. I figured it would be extremely tasty since that is the way of their bagels.

cranberry apple muffins, before baking

Ouch. Wrong. So, so unbelievably and indescribably wrong. It was terrible! I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. The texture was all wrong – too dense and dry. Also, it didn’t taste freshly baked – more like it has been sitting somewhere for too long a time. The flavor was quite unimpressive, it almost tasted chemical-y, like they used a boxed mix or something. And adding insult to injury, there were hardly any cranberries! They had stuck a few fresh (and I use the term loosely) cranberries on top, and I found a few at the bottom of the muffin, but none in the middle.

Cranberry apple muffins

Lest I be scarred for life, I decided to come home and make my own cranberry muffins, to erase the impression of that horrid, barely-edible foodlike concoction from the bakery. I had some dried cranberries, which I do like in baked goods, so I decided to go with those, even though the muffin I attempted to eat used fresh cranberries (or well, cranberries that were fresh at one point in time). And then I added an apple. Of course. Almost done with my stash, I promise.

Cranberry Apple Muffins

These muffins are so delicious. Thank goodness. Perfectly moist, lots of tart cranberry flavor, and wonderfully fresh tasting. The scars are fading. Enjoy!

Cranberry Apple Muffins

Source: adapted from The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook by Linda Beaulieu

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk
½ cup canola oil
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup dried cranberries
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil. Add to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in the apples, cranberries, and orange zest.
Use your ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to the prepared muffin cups. Bake 14 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then either turn them on their sides or remove them to a cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.

Apple-Pork Ragout over Pappardelle

pork apple ragout over pappardelle

I am such a sucker for a good pasta with red meat sauce. My mom makes a killer spaghetti with meat sauce, and it was hands down my favorite thing she made growing up. She taught me how to make it, and after a few misses learning curves, I did master it. I’ll blog it sometime.

Pork-Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

As much as I love the spaghetti and meat sauce of my youth, I do branch out and try other recipes. So today, we have this delectable meaty ragout made with pork, apples, and capers. I discovered this dish last year with my apple picking stash, but didn’t end up blogging it. Reason being, while it was initially simmering away, it looked rather odd for a meat sauce, and I was convinced the recipe wasn’t going to come together and work well, so I didn’t photograph it. One bite and I felt pretty darn stupid.

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

It’s a beautiful dish. Meaty pork, with a background hint of sweetness from the apples, and the salty bite of capers… Oh, it’s so good. And leftovers only get better. Feel free to use whatever cut of pasta you like. This would work just fine with fettuccine or linguine, and probably fine with rigatoni, too. This meal is PERFECT for fall and you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Enjoy!

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

Source: adapted from Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

1 tsp olive oil
2 oz. diced pancetta
12 oz. ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can stewed or whole tomatoes, with juices
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. fresh or dried pappardelle, or other long cut pasta
2 tbs brined capers, drained
2 tbs thinly sliced basil
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the pancetta. Cook until browned and the fat has mostly rendered. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up with your spoon, until no traces of pink remain. Now add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and apples. Cook one minute.
Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by three quarters.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Stir to combine, then hit the pan with your potato masher to crush the tomatoes and apples. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes, until thickened and more uniform. If after 15 minutes it has not thickened to your liking, simply turn up the heat and let it go until it is. Don’t forget to stir occasionally during this time, as that will prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom of the skillet. Season the sauce lightly with salt and generously with black pepper.
Meanwhile, generously salt the pasta water once it reaches a boil, drop in your pasta and cook according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Lower the heat, then add the capers and basil. Combine everything in the pot, then taste for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash

Is it shameful to admit that part of why I love fall so much is because it’s a time of year when tons of new cookbooks hit the bookstore shelves? Ah, well, so be it. This year is no exception, and I’ve already begun my shopping. I snapped up the much anticipated Scarpetta Cookbook by Chef Scott Conant.

pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin

His restaurant Scarpetta is on my bucket list; I haven’t gotten myself there yet, but in the meantime I have this beautiful book of their recipes. This pork dish is my inaugural use of the book, and all I can say is WOW! If this recipe is an indicator of what the rest of the book is like, flavor-wise, then I have hit a jackpot. Because, my friends, it was so delicious.

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple Turnip Hash

The flavors were so clean and vibrant. The mild, lean pork tenderloin benefitted from the crispy, saltiness of the pancetta; and the sweetness of the apple balanced so well with the bitterness of the turnip. The earthy pop of rosemary took the whole thing over the top. So far, yeah, I’m loving this book.

I will heartily recommend it to any foodie out there, but I should warn you, it’s a restaurant cookbook. And restaurants have resources and budgets that home cooks can’t really even fathom. So I did adapt this recipe a bit, since I’m home cooking, and I’m sure I’ll be adapting many of the recipes from this book. But I think the spirit and core essence of the dish was wholly captured, and it turned out to be a very easy, quick, yet total knockout, weeknight meal.

pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin over apple turnip hash

Only one recipe note: this recipe requires tying the tenderloin up with kitchen string. Of course you want to make certain you have cut all the string off before serving. But you should also make very certain you throw all the strings in the garbage. While humans do not want to eat pork-sopped kitchen string, it’s possible that you have a cat who would love such a thing. Unfortunately, kitties cannot property digest kitchen string. Don’t ask me how I know this. So just make sure you have thrown it out before sitting down to dinner. 🙂 Enjoy!

Pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin over apple-turnip hash

{One year ago: Banana Bread}

Source: adapted from The Scarpetta Cookbook by Scott Conant

3-4 oz. deli-sliced pancetta
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Fresh cracked black pepper
Olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 left whole and 1 minced, divided
3 garlic cloves, 2 smashed and peeled, 1 minced
1 small-to-medium turnip, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
Kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 275 F. On a clean work surface, unroll the slices of pancetta. Sprinkle the black pepper all over the pork tenderloin. Starting at one end, wrap the pancetta around the pork. Tie with kitchen string at about 4-5 intervals along the tenderloin to secure it. If at either end you have any portion of naked pork tenderloin, lightly salt just that part that isn’t encased in pancetta.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet. Heat over medium-high and add the tenderloin. Brown well on all sides. Remove from the heat and pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the smashed garlic, the thyme, and 2 sprigs of rosemary to the skillet on one side. Place the browned tenderloin on the other side and slide it into the oven. Roast until the internal temperature reads 135 F on a meat thermometer, anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes depending on your oven and thickness of your pork.
While the pork is roasting, heat another drizzle of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turnips and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and about halfway cooked, 5-6 minutes. Add the apple, the minced garlic and minced rosemary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the turnip is cooked completely, another 5 minutes or so.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let rest on a cutting board for 5-7 minutes. Cut the string off and using a sharp knife, slice the pork tenderloin into rounds. To serve, divide the hash among to dinner plates. Lay half the pork tenderloin slices neatly across the hash. Serve immediately.