Today, I found myself craving fall flavours, which to me means apples. There is nothing better than the smell of cinnamon baking in an apple spice cake. This recipe is comfort food that has a delightful combination of ginger, cinnamon and applesauce. For the icing I have chosen to sprinkle icing sugar and make a simple icing sugar and milk drizzle. It would also be a perfect flavour combination to go with a cup of coffee in the early morning on the dock at the cottage.
Here at home, everyone has been working hard during the summer months. Next week Mom, Dad, Sarah and I will be going up north to the cottage for a week. My Dad has moved his office to downtown Toronto from North York. He enjoys the downtown office, but he is looking forward to the greenery of the cottage and doing some fishing. Everyone is looking forward to some cottage recipes, which include: easy barbeque recipes, fresh salads and maybe even some ice cream.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 ½ cups apple sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder, salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with one addition of yogurt and one addition of applesauce.
- Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray or grease the pan lightly with margarine. Spread batter in prepared pan.
- Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.
- Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, topside up. Tap the top of the bundt cake pan with a wooden spoon to make sure the bundt cake comes out evenly and does not break apart.
Icing Sugar Drizzle
1 cup icing sugar sifted, 3 teaspoons of milk stirred together and drizzled lightly on top of cake.
Jonathan was hiking the Bruce Trail this weekend near Orangeville for a friend’s bachelor party. Left to my own devices, I decided to bake an apple pie! As per usual, I consulted my Martha Stewart cookbook and found a wonderful recipe. The crust was perfectly flaky and buttery. With the Granny Smith apples I picked up at the grocery store, I went to work. Pies require a lot of commitment because you have to refrigerate or freeze the dough many times to keep it cool. It is the temperature control that helps keep the crust light, buttery, and flakey. You also have to wait for it to bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. After that it must cool completely for approximately 2-3 hours for it to set properly. However, this pie is worth it!
To help me eat the pie, my friend Lauren came over for a cup of tea. It was great to catch up and talk about wedding planning. Lauren is going to be one of my bridesmaids. She also has a wonderful eye for architecture and design, so I was showing her some pictures of the wedding venue for next summer. I really hope to keep the set up simple, play around with lighting, simple elegance, the architecture of the restaurant and the urban Toronto landscape. Jonathan and I are hoping to get some pictures of us with a streetcar in the background, in front of his old subway station (Spadina) and maybe even outside of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) building where he worked the first summer that we started going out for dinners together.
After Lauren and I had been chatting for some time, it was 10:00pm and Jonathan arrived in Aurora looking like he had been hit by a hurricane. He regaled us with tales of the hike, complete with mosquitoes the size of cats and humid temperatures. He was going to drive back to Peterborough that same evening, but I insisted that he stay overnight and drive in the morning. As I said goodnight to a very sleepy and slightly delirious Jonathan, he proposed to me (for a second time, and I said yes for a second time), which he must have done because he felt lucky to have survived the hiking expedition. In the morning I told him about his second proposal with some tea and a big piece of apple pie.
He said it was the best apple pie he’s ever had.
Cream Cheese Pie Crust Dough
Ingredients (double recipe and divide into two disks for top and bottom crust)
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon cold cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- Combine water and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine flour and salt in another bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter and cream cheese into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining.
- Add water mixture to dough in a slow, steady stream, stirring, until mixture just begins to hold together. (Alternatively, pulse ingredients in a food processor.) Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and wrap. Press dough into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. (Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw before using.)
- Roll dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim edge, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Turn overhang under so that edge is flush with rim. Flute edge. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Apple Pie Filling
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 2x Cream Cheese Pie Crust Dough
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 3-4 pounds, Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one cream cheese dough disk into a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. With a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with the rim. Freeze again until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out remaining 2 discs of pate brisee to about 1/8 inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes. Remove from freezer; using a 2 1/4-inch leaf-shaped cutter, cut out about 65 leaves and place them in a single layer on baking sheet. Place in refrigerator until firm.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream; set aside. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Remove pie shell from freezer, and fill with apple mixture. Dot with butter.
- Remove leaves from refrigerator, and score with a paring knife to make veins. Lightly brush the edge of the pie shell with water. Brush the bottom of each leaf with water; beginning with the outside edge, arrange leaves in a slightly overlapping ring. Repeat to form another ring slightly overlapping the first. Continue until only a small circle of filling is left uncovered in the center.
- Carefully brush the top of the leaves and pie edge with the reserved egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Freeze or refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Place pie plate on a baking sheet, and bake until crust just begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. If the crust begins to get too dark, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
I started this recipe by reading through Martha’s Pies and Tarts that Jonathan gave me for my birthday. Having never made apple butter before, I was quite nervous about how it would turn out. However, it turned out rather well. To make this recipe I used my Dad’s last three remaining apples from the fruit drawer. It was worth it, and Dad took apple butter hand pies to work for lunch instead of apples. The cream cheese in the crust made the crust more cookie-like in texture, which was excellent. There was left over apple butter since I made a half batch of the crust. With the extra apple butter you could use it on toast for breakfast the next day. The apple butter pies disappeared quickly and were a nice change from the many cupcakes that I bake.
Dough (I cut this recipe in half, except the egg, I put the whole egg in)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of apple butter (instructions to follow)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg to the sugar-butter mixture, and beat until just blended.
- Add cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and add to the cream-cheese mixture. Beat until completely blended. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, and using your hands, press the dough into a 1-inch-thick patty, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least one hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.
- Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons apple butter onto one half of each circle of dough. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, spread out apple butter. Keep apple butter on half the circle, and spread until it is about 1/2 inch from the edge, making sure apple butter is not completely flattened. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the apple butter, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and lightly brush with cold water. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.
3 organic apples peeled, cored and sliced into small pieces.
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup of apple juice or apple cider
1 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp of maple syrup
- Combine apples, apple cider, sherry, cinnamon, sugar, and maple syrup, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place mixture over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the apples are soft enough you will be able to mash any large pieces of apple with large wooden spoon to help them break down.
- Put apple mixture in the blender and use pulsing motions. The apple butter should be a little bit chunky but not too thin like applesauce. If apple butter is too thin after being in the blender, then put it back in the pot and simmer until it is the desired consistency.
- Let cool.
Sweet potato is one of my favourite vegetables. I was rummaging in the refrigerator around lunchtime and saw sweet potatoes, so I thought I would make soup. Fresh sweet potato, apple, baby carrots, ginger root and rosemary combine to create a delightful and refreshing soup. The ginger, cumin, and crushed chili flakes give a light spicy flavour that is mild, but delivers a touch of heat. More crushed chili flakes can be added for a spicier soup.
This soup is easy to make and extremely healthy! I was reading through Chatelaine magazine and soup was one of their recommendations for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Combine this soup with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a twenty-minute workout session and you will be on you way to a healthier lifestyle.
2 tbsp of canola oil
1 shallot sliced finely
2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
Half of an organic apple – peeled and cubed
1 handful of baby carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves minced
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root – minced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp crushed chili flakes (or more if you like it spicier)
- In pot place oil, sliced shallot, ginger root, garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add chopped and cubed sweet potato, apple and handful of baby carrots and let soften.
- Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add in spices.
- Boil for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables have softened and will break apart with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Put in blender and combine with pulsing motions. If needed reheat in saucepan. Add fresh rosemary for garnish. Then serve.
Today is my birthday and this past weekend I celebrated my birthday with my fiancé Jonathan and my family. On Saturday night Jonathan made a reservation for the two of us at Splendido in Toronto. I had been looking forward to it all week. On the menu was organic salmon all the way from Ireland. The organic salmon was simply exquisite. It was flavourful, fresh and expertly prepared with a white bean purée and blood oranges for garnish.
For dessert they brought out a candle and happy birthday sign. There was also a chocolate cookie that Jonathan enjoyed.
Our main dessert was mini cheesecake with an apple sorbet. The flavours were delicate and delicious. The presentation was cute and gave me lots of ideas for my foodie blog. Part of my gift from Jonathan was the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts. I am extremely excited to start trying out some of these recipes.
Sunday night my Mom prepared a special dinner for my birthday. Mom made savory chicken crepes. (A recipe I have not yet mastered) An organic pear and organic green salad made the dinner complete. For dessert Mom made her famous Apple Crisp. This recipe I have made before so I feel I can share the recipe. The apple crisp turned out wonderfully. There was even vanilla ice cream that went perfectly with the warm apple crisp. Each bite was like a little piece of heaven!
Apple Crisp Recipe
5 Granny Smith Apples (or any apple that you like baking with)
¾ cup oats
¾ cups brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1. Toss together apples and cinnamon. Then place apples into bottom of lightly buttered baking dish.
2. Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and salt until it forms a crumble topping.
3. Sprinkle crumble topping over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.
Healthy and tasty muffins are possible. The first step is to substitute canola oil for the butter. Adding 5 grains is also better than one. Wheat, rye, barley, tricticale and flaxseed are packed full of fiber and are low in fat. If you do not enjoy mushy oatmeal, these muffins are an excellent alternative. Raisins or other dried fruits could be added as well. These are easily one of my new favourite muffins.
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot cereal
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 apple peeled and grated
- In large mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Always separate wet and dry ingredients when baking muffins. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Add in grated apple and combine thoroughly until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon muffin batter into a greased muffin pan. Makes approximately 12 muffins.
- Bake in centre of oven at375°F for about 20 minute. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Once cooled you can wrap these muffins up individually in a zip-lock bag or with plastic wrap and freeze for two weeks.
While deciding what to have for lunch today I was looking online at quinoa recipes, only to find we did not have quinoa in the house. Instead, I decided on a pasta salad and looking around the refrigerator found some great ingredients. The pasta salad was lightly spiced and very mild, but with lots of flavour. Apples and orange pepper gave it a nice crunch and tuna added protein. All in all a great easy lunch!
Curry Pasta Salad
Half a package of elbow noodles
½ cup Craisins
1 orange pepper chopped into small pieces
1 apple cored and chopped into small pieces
1 can of tuna
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon of yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
Boil pasta, until al dente and then drain, and rinse the pasta with cold water.
In your salad bowl add the tuna and with a fork, separate it into desired size. Chop and then add your apple and orange pepper. Then add craisins.
Next add spices and Miracle Whip.
Combine drained cool pasta and stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate until cooled, this gives the miracle whip and the pasta time to set.