Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: Cooking with apples

Last month, I visited Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation in Craig. The day I was there, recreation director Mary Gillingham and the residents were making applesauce.

Instead of using a sieve, they were taking turns mashing up peeled, cooked apples with a potato masher. What a clever idea. They added sugar and cinnamon to taste, and before long, everyone enjoyed a yummy applesauce snack, including me.

Making applesauce got me to remembering how I used to bake apples, and I will do it again soon. If you'd like to bake apples, choose a good cooking variety, like Jonathan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. The number of apples you decide to bake will determine the size of the baking dish.

Wash and core the apples, but do not peel. You'll need to cut an opening at the apple's top that's large enough to add ingredients. However, the bottom of the apple should be left pretty much intact so the ingredients won't run out.

Put the apples in a baking dish. Fill the center of each apple with: 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated or brown sugar, 1 teaspoon butter and about 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.

Cover the bottom of the pan with water to about 1/4 inch. Bake the apples, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until tender. Test by piercing with a fork.

Serve warm with ice cream or half-and-half.

Applesauce cake is always delicious. This recipe comes from one of my recipe books that has been used so much the cover, first 32 pages and index are missing.

You'll need the following ingredients: 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce that you make or buy, 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 cup soft shortening, 1/2 cup water, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 cup cut-up raisins.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, or 2 layer pans, if you wish.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add shortening, water and applesauce. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed with a mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl constantly.

Add the eggs and beat 2 more minutes, scraping occasionally. Add the nuts and raisins. Pour into the pan and cake for 45 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool and frost with your favorite icing or leave unfrosted.

When I was a child, my mother made applesauce cakes in small loaf pans to use for Christmas gifts. She used the applesauce she canned during the summer. This week's recipe isn't hers, but I think it's similar.

It seems like the cakes were decorated with some kind of white icing and drained, sliced candied cherries.

This past week I had a call from Erma Ozbun, of Craig. She had some comments about "vegetable hamburger soup," featured in the Sept. 14 column. More about this next week. Thanks, Erma.

Please send your recipes, comments and stories to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig, CO 81626, or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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