Suger, Spice, and Apple Pies are Nice!

Considering the amount of last-minute shoppers in the grocery stores, and yes, I was one of them – picking up a few things I had forgotten earlier in the week – I thought I would repost these yummy apple recipes.  And I usually don’t bake my pies until the night before, or early in the morning before the turkey goes in. Home-baked really is better… and these recipes are super easy!   (I usually get my husband to peel, quarter, and core the apples while I make the Sugar Crumb Topping.)

I use fresh crisp slightly tart apples for baking.  Granny Smith Apples are available just about everywhere, but older varieties such as York or Stayman (NC mountain apples) work great too!  I use the pre-made pie crusts that you unroll.  I have a crust recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother, but I can’t tell the difference and I’ve made a lot of pies.  If anyone wants this crust recipe, email me, and I’ll send it to you.

Apple Pie :                 Preheat oven 375 degrees F

8 – 10 Apples – depending on size of apples – peeled and sliced (approx.  1/4 inch thick slices)

Unroll the pie crust and place a tsp. of flour on one side. Spread the flour evenly over the crust and place the floured side down into the pie pan. (This will help keep the crust from sticking)

Place half of the sliced apples into the pie crust – making sure that the first layer evenly covers the crust.  Sprinkle apples with 2 Tbsp. of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. Place remaining apple slices on top. (It’s better if they are domed up a little – the apples will cook down and the pie will level out). At this point, you can sprinkle the second layer of apples with more cinnamon sugar, unroll the other pie crust and place it on top of the apples (don’t forget to cut vents in the top crust) or the topping I use is a Sugar Crumb Topping . This way, I have the other crust to make another pie!!!

Sugar Crumb Topping
3/4 C   light Brown Sugar  (pack it down)
1/4 C    White Sugar
3/4 C    Flour  –  plain
1/4  lb  Butter  (1 stick)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp.  Cinnamon  (optional) This is to taste… I like cinnamon.
Grate in a little nutmeg (approx. 1/8 tsp.)

Cream butter and sugars together in a bowl with a pastry blender or large tined fork.  Add flour and cinnamon.  Blend together.  This should end up being crumbly in consistency.  If it gets too soft, just put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Carefully pour the topping over the apples a little at a time.  I usually divide it up into thirds.  Cover the apples as well as possible, and pat down lightly so that it won’t fall off when you move it to the oven.  It may be a good idea to place the pie on a small cookies sheet to catch the syrup when the apples in the pie start to bubble.  Bake 45 – 60 minutes.  Pie should be bubbling…

Next, where would we be without our Sweet Potato Pie?  Now, down here, there is a difference between Sweet Potatoes and Yams.  Sweet potatoes are red and have a higher sugar content, while Yams are yellow.  I use the second crust in the package for :

Nana’s Sweet Potato Pie –        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

3  C   Sweet potatoes – baked  (approx. 2 large or 3 medium size) The potatoes can be baked a couple days ahead of time. Place them in a plastic zip-lock bag once they’ve cooled and store in the frig.
6  Tbsp.  Butter
1/2  C  Milk
1 tsp.  Vanilla
1   Egg  (slightly beaten)
1  C   Sugar  –  white
1/4 tsp.  Salt

Place peeled Sweet potatoes and Butter into a large bowl and cream together.  Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Bake for 40 – 50 minutes.  This pie is not spicy like Pumpkin Pie, it has more of a mild vanilla pumpkin custard flavor.

Now… Back to Apples –  What follows are a couple very simple, but very flavorful apple recipes…

Imperial Apples –

1 can of Apples – drained  (I use Luck’s Fried Apples –  Not with the cinnamon already added)
1 Tbsp.   Brach’s Imperial Cinnamon candies (can be found in small bags in the candy section of most grocery stores, pharmacies, or Wal-Mart – especially around Valentine’s Day)

Place drained apples in a small casserole dish. Cut any of the thicker slices in two.  Sprinkle Cinnamon candies over the apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.  Be very careful, the sugar of the candy melts and covers the apples making them turn bright red and flavors them wonderfully.  This recipe can be doubled…

Bacon Apples –

2  cans of Apples
4 – 6   slices of Bacon

Pour Apples into rectangular baking pan.  Lay slices of uncooked bacon onto of apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 45 minutes.  The bacon will crisp up in the oven and flavor the apples.  I know that this recipe may sound a little strange, but there’s something about Pork and Apples – they just go together!