Cooking Apples For Desserts

Ruth-Anne Ford

I have an apple tree in my backyard that I planted about 10 years ago.  It does pretty well, but as I am a better baker than a farmer, the apples are sometimes underdeveloped and have blemishes. So, over the past year I have learned ways still use them, even if they are not a perfect snacking apple.

For my sister's bridal shower we did a honey theme, and I made Honey Applesauce Tartlets. Cooking the apples first before making the tarts releases a lot of water and creates a more concentrated apple taste. I peeled and cored the apples and cut into large pieces. I added a little apple cider and cooked on medium-low heat until the consistency I wanted was reached (a little chunky). Be careful not to overcook and try to cool quickly when you are done as the apples will continue to break down. I think this is a wonderful addition to any Washington or Seattle wedding dessert table with our wonderful assortment of local apples.

I have also grown to love Apple Butter.  As a child I didn't understand the name because...ahem...(where's the butter?). But, I have been enlightened. I use a crockpot so I can watch the apples. I normally start in the evening with a crockpot full of peeled, cored and chopped apples. I allow them to cook on low overnight with a little apple cider. In the morning I mash it up and might turn it to high if I will be home to stir it every 15-20 minutes or so. When it starts to get thick I blend it, and return the apple butter to an uncovered crockpot to cook for another couple of hours - stirring more frequently until thick. Add your sugar and spices. I love cloves and I try to go light on the sugar as I like to keep the tanginess of the apples. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 30 days, but I normally preserve in pint jars.

Happy Baking!

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