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ANN BAILEY: Apple bounty becomes sauce, cakes

When my husband, Brian, and I moved out to the farm 19 years ago, my dad planted an apple tree in our yard. He wanted to make sure that the tree was safe from the deer, so he built a fence around the young tree. The fence, a fortress really, was ...

Ann Bailey

When my husband, Brian, and I moved out to the farm 19 years ago, my dad planted an apple tree in our yard.

He wanted to make sure that the tree was safe from the deer, so he built a fence around the young tree. The fence, a fortress really, was 7-feet high and swinging from it were aluminum pie tins which my dad hung to scare the deer.

The fence and pie tins worked and the deer never bothered it. The tree has flourished and now is about 20-feet high.

Every other year, it produces a bumper crop of apples. This is one of those years.

The other day our family and two of our friends picked five big boxes of apples. There still are several boxes of apples left on the tree. We gave four of the five boxes we picked away and kept one.

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I made apple sauce with a couple dozen of the apples. I didn't have a recipe, but made it liked my mom used to. I washed the apples, cut them into quarters, put them in a Dutch oven and poured about an inch of water into it. I cooked the apple-water mixture until the apples were soft and then used my great-grandma's food mill with a wooden paddle to squeeze out the apple sauce.

I added sugar to the apple sauce until I thought it tasted about right, and then cooked it a little longer. My children tested it and pronounced it delicious, so I felt good about my experiment.

Brian is easy-going about everything I make and will eat anything, but my children are tougher critics and I am never left uncertain about whether or not they liked something.

Although, I made the applesauce without a recipe, I'm not that adventurous with other apple creations. During the next several weeks I plan to make muffins, cake and other baked goods using some of my tried-and-true recipes.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

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1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups chopped, peeled apples

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Topping:

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1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup milk

1 cup packed brown sugar

Pinch salt

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy; gradually add sugar. Blend in oil and vanilla.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda; add to egg mixture.

Stir in apples and pecans.

Pour into greased 10-inch tube pan; bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

In a small saucepan, combine topping ingredients. Bring to a boil; boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour over warm cake (some topping will run down onto the serving plate).

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

Apple Crunch Muffins

Batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups sour cream

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup, diced, unpeeled tart apple

Topping:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons cold butter

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and nutmeg.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream and butter. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened.

Fold in apple.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups one-third full.

For topping, combine the walnuts, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle about two-two thirds of the topping over the batter.

Top with remaining batter; sprinkle with the remaining topping.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks.

Serve warm.

Reach Bailey at annb08@dishmail.net or (218) 779-8093.

Related Topics: FOOD
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