In Season Now, Apples! : Tidbits from Chef Melissa

In Season Now, Apples!

by Chef Melissa on 11/19/10

I love Autumn, it brings me back to my childhood. When I was trying to decide what to write about for this entry I thought of gourds, pumpkins, turkey, sage, all the things that remind me of autumn, and then it hit me... Apples!! "That's it!" I said to myself. Apples and I go way back. I have such fond memories from my childhood in New York.  We would head to the apple orchard and pick bushels of apples.  I  loved to watch the cider press, the old fashioned kind, made of wood that would spin around and produce that amber sweet cider, the essence of apples at their best. I still to this day haven't found any cider that tastes quite like that one. My mom would make loads of homemade applesauce, which was so yummy on a cold day. I never appreciated the experience until we moved far away from any apple orchards.

Tidbits about Apples...

  • Did you know that Johnny Appleseed was a real person! His real name was John Chapman, and he loved apples. He went around planting orchards all over the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley in the early 1800's.
  • Research is finding that the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has merit! They have vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium, antioxidents, and loads more.
  • One apple has 5 grams of fiber and only 80 calories.
  • Archeologists have found evidence of humans using apples as far back as 6500 BC.
  • There are over 2500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., so there are lots to choose from.

My brother asked me which apples to use for cooking, well almost all apples are good for cooking, but it depends on whether you are making a pie or sauce. Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, Cameo and Golden Delicious are good for pies. McIntosh, Jonathon Variteties, and Empire make good sauce. Gala and Red Delicious are best if eaten raw.  I think they are all good! I haven't found an apple I wouldn't eat.

I was trying to think of a recipe to include this week, I thought of all kinds of things, but I kept coming back to the memory sitting in my Grandma Peg's tiny kitchen as she would peel and slice the apples for this dish. I called my mom to ask if she still had the recipe, and luckily she did. My mom also said my grandma made this for my her when she was little, so this recipe goes way back. She called it Poor Man's Pudding.  I'm assuming it came from when some ingredients were expensive or hard to get, the original had shortening instead of butter. I changed it to butter. My daughter's love it! It makes a perfect quick warm breakfast the next morning. Store in the referigerator.  Warning!!! Very delicious, it only lasted 2 days in my house!!

Grandma Peg's Poor Man's Pudding

  • 5 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cinnamon (there was no specific amount written)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (or shortening as in the original recipe)
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • about 1/2 cup milk
  1. In a buttered 2 quart casserole dish add apples and 2 tablespoons sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon. (we like lots of cinnamon, but this should be to your taste)
  2. In a bowl add remaining sugar, butter, salt, flour, baking powder, egg, and vanilla. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and stir. Add a little milk at a time until you have a cake batter consistency. Pour over the apples.
  3. Place dish in a cold oven. Turn oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with sauce.

For the sauce, in a sauce pot combine 1/4 flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup milk, and a dash of salt. Turn heat on low and stir constantly until thickened.





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Here I will share recipes along with my thoughts, adventures, and stories about food.  Check back weekly to see what I've been up too! I would love to hear from you, so feel free to post your thoughts as well.  Thank you for going on this food journey with me! -- Chef Melissa