|From My Kitchen Window
By Dixie Terry
Suddenly, summer has ended. Seven grandkids are all back in their respective schools. One grandson, who graduated from high school, is attempting to find his niche, which for some of us takes most of a lifetime. Reminders of the summer just past turn up each day as I move the furniture to clean house. I find the bottom half of two-piece swim suit, along with a multitude of candy wrappers, an assortment of unmatched and quite dirty socks, as well as an accumulation of books, video tapes, and games.
All summer I procrastinated and promised myself and everyone in hearing range that after school started, I would concentrate on a lengthy list of to-dos. After school was in session, I put the growing list off until after Labor Day, and now that time has come. Itís time to clean out closets and move furniture, to uncover and swoosh away cobwebs and dust, and to rearrange stuff, of which there is much too much.
Iíd rather be working on another book or writing a travel piece for a magazine or most anything other than housecleaning. But, the day of reckoning has arrived. After inhaling dust and uncovering the last remnants of summer, I may sneak in a nap before beginning supper.
After serving a succession of frozen desserts all summer, a baked dessert will surprise the family. Apples are at their finest here in Southern Illinois, and since a couple dozen are stacked in the refrigerator, I just might turn out one of the following.
This one feeds a bunch of supper guests; seconds are often necessary.
APPLE STREUSEL CAKE
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 or 10-inch tube pan. To prepare streusel, in a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, apples, nuts, flour, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter.
2 cups all-purpose flour
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda; mix well. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; beat well after each egg. Add vanilla. Set mixer to low; alternately beat flour mixture and orange juice into egg mixture. Spoon half of batter into tube pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Spoon the remaining batter over the streusel, spreading to make an even layer. Swirl batter with a knife to create a marbleized effect. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven; sprinkle top with remaining streusel. Return cake to the oven; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely.
GLAZE: Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons orange juice. Mix well. Turn cake out onto a serving plate; invert so streusel is on top. Drizzle glaze over cake; serve. Yields 12 servings. Tip: Sprinkle the glaze with cinnamon for a special touch.
HELPFUL HINT: When brown sugar hardens, add an apple wedge to the container and let stand a couple of days.
When thereís no time to put together a crust, try this one.
ENGLISH APPLE PIE
1/2 cup butter or margarine
Heavy cream or half-and-half
Beat butter and brown sugar in medium bowl with wooden spoon or electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stir in flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and water until smooth and thick. Stir in pecans. Mound apples in 9-inch pie pan. Mix sugar with remaining cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Spoon pecan topping over apples in dollops. Bake on lowest rack in preheated 375 oven for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender when pierced. Serve with cream.
HELPFUL HINT: Cortland, Rome, and Granny Smith are equally good for baking or eating.
Simple to make, and a good-for-you dish is this one, recommended by the "Coronary Heart Disease Research" group.
8 cups peeled, sliced apples (about 3 pounds)
Preheat oven to 350. Cover bottom of a non-stick 8-inch square baking pan with oatmeal. Mix together sliced apples, juice, raisins, spices, and honey. Cover oatmeal with mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake one hour. Remove foil and sprinkle cobbler with Grapenuts cereal. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Yields 8 servings.
HELPFUL HINT: Donít bake with Red Delicious apples, since they disintegrate when heated.
This is a great treat for following a light supper.
Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl. Add shortening and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture reaches the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Remove 2/3 cup of flour mixture and blend with water. Add to first mixture and blend. Roll dough 1/8-inch thick between two pieces of waxed paper. Cut into six 7-inch squares.
Peel and core apples and leave whole. Place one on each square of pastry. Mix cinnamon, sugar, and flour; fill cavity of each apple. Dot tops with butter. Moisten points of pastry squares. Bring opposite points over apples and seal well. Place dumplings 2 inches apart on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until browned.
HELPFUL HINT: Buy or pick firm, well-colored apples with no blemishes. Keep stored in refrigerator crisper, but never with other fruits or vegetables.
Here is an old-fashioned treat, made even better when served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
5 apples, peeled and sliced
Mix apples, sugar, and cinnamon together and place in a greased 8x8-inch baking dish. Using pastry blender, blend the remaining ingredients until crumbly. Place on top of apples and bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes.
Tasty and sure to please supper guests and family is this.
APPLE CHIFFON SQUARES
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
Combine cracker crumbs and the 3 tablespoons sugar; stir in melted butter. Reserve 1/4 cup crumb mixture; press remainder into bottom of a 10x6-inch baking dish. Chill. In saucepan, combine gelatin, the 2 tablespoons sugar, nutmeg and salt. Stir in apple juice, egg yolks, lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture comes just to a boil. Remove pan from heat. Cool slightly. Peel, core and shred apples to make 2 cups. Stir apple into gelatin mixture. Chill mixture until partially set, stirring occasionally. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating to stiff peaks. Fold beaten egg whites into gelatin mixture. Turn into prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Chill several hours. Yields 6 servings.
An old favorite made each fall by one of my aunts on the farm, who shared her recipe with me long ago.
APPLE WALNUT CAKE
3 eggs, beaten
In large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix into batter. Fold in apples and nuts. Spread into a 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes. Cool before frosting.
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
Combine all ingredients well. Whip until smooth. Spread over cake and sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts.
Katie Elward of Mayfield, Kentucky, who often takes it to church potlucks, where it quickly disappears, submitted this delicious sounding recipe.
APPLE BREAD PUDDING
8 slices bread
Toast bread lightly and cut diagonally into fourths. Arrange a single of layer of bread in bottom of lightly buttered 7x11-inch baking dish. Core and slice one apple. Core and dice enough of remaining apples to measure 4 cups. Spread diced apples evenly on bread. Sprinkle raisins over apples. Arrange remaining bread in two lengthwise rows on diced apples. Place apple slices between rows of bread. Heat milk and butter only until butter melts. Combine eggs, sugar, spices, and salt; gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Pour over bread and apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake, uncovered, at 350, 40-45 minutes or until set. Serve warm or cold topped with sour cream if desired. Yields 8-10 servings.
A rich dessert is this one. Serve in small slices with plenty of fresh-brewed coffee.
CARAMEL APPLE PIE
3 dozen caramels
Combine caramels and water in top of double boiler and cook over low heat until caramels melt. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice and layer in a 9-inch pie shell, alternately with a layer of melted caramel. Combine flour, sugar, spices, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples. Bake in 375 oven for 40 minutes.
If you would like a copy of my reprinted 300-recipe cookbook, From My Kitchen Window, send $10.50 to SPRINGHOUSE BOOKS, Box 61, Herod, IL 62987.
Tune in on Friday mornings to WJPF 1340AM and WCIL 1020AM to Pat Bentonís "Celebration of Life" radio show for conversation and one of my simple recipes.
If you have a favorite recipe to share or are searching for a certain one, phone or fax me at 618-995-2491 or write me by snail mail at 668 Crestwood Drive, Lake of Egypt, Marion, IL 62959.