One of the best things about living in Northeast Georgia is undoubtedly the proximity to the mountains, especially when those mountains start producing apples. And now is the perfect time to start planning recipes to use the delicious fruits.
Some apples are better suited for eating raw because of their flavor and texture while others are better for pies and baking because they hold their shape when cooked. Yet other apples have the texture and flavor for applesauce and apple butter.
So let’s compare apples to apples.
Everyone has his or her preference, but my favorite apples to eat raw are Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala. These have the crisp texture but still a sweet flavor to make your mouth water.
For baking, my go-to apple is a Granny Smith because of its tart flavor and firm texture. Although lately, I’ve found myself using Braeburn apples because of their rich, sweet-tart, almost spicy flavor.
To make applesauce, I usually find a combination of a tart (Granny Smith) with a sweet apple (Honeycrisp) will give you just the right amount of natural sweetness, so you don’t have to add a lot of sugar to the mix. However, when I make homemade applesauce, I do add a little brown sugar to give it a rich, almost caramel color.
Now to make apple butter, my preferred method is my slow cooker, but y’all already know how I feel about my slow cooker. I just love the fact that I can put apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in the cooker and about 10 hours later have the best-tasting spread this side of Nutella. If you’re interested in the recipe for my Slow Cooker Apple Butter, check out my blog, cookingwithcrevolyn.com.
My husband’s birthday is in late September, so many times he has asked for a caramel apple cobbler in place of a traditional birthday cake. The key to taking this recipe to the next level is undoubtedly the toasted pecan ice cream.
Toasting pecans is so easy and well worth it to enhance the flavor. Just lay out pecans on a baking sheet and put them in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn, but you’ll probably start to smell their delicious aroma and know it’s time to take them out.
It’s so easy and so worth it! The problem will be trying not to devour them before you put them in a recipe.
Well, are you hungry now? Yeah, me, too. Let’s go get us some apples!
Caramel apple cobbler with toasted pecan ice cream
1/2 cup butter
12 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
For ice cream:
2 pints homemade-style vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add apples, sugar and juice.
Cook, stirring often for 20-25 minutes or until apples are caramel colored. Spoon into a shallow, greased 2-quart baking dish.
Unroll 1 pie crust; cut into 1/2-inch strips. Arrange strips in a lattice design over filling, folding edges under.
Bake cobbler at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden.
Stir together ice cream and chopped pecans and refreeze for 4 hours. Serve cobbler warm with ice cream.
Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.