Monday, September 28, 2015

THE BEST APPLE BREAD! Apple Measurement.


A delightful gift from a talented friend.
 Before I get into the details for the Best Apple Bread... EVER!!!, I have a little tip for those of you who cook with apples and have difficulty with certain recipes that call for using a specific number of apples.  You know what I mean.  When a recipe calls for, for example, three apples, precisely what does that mean when you are using apples from the tree in your back yard.  They may be little apples, or bruised apples, or .... simply not the big, beautiful apples we see in stores.  The apples that I use are "organic" which means that there is a lot of waste.  So, when a recipe calls for "three apples" I have no idea what is meant.  Well, here's the answer...

As a general rule, 1 pound of apples is equal to 4 small apples, or 3 medium apples, or 2 large apples.  And, 1 pound of apples is equal to 3 cups of prepared apples (peeled, cored and diced).

I hope this makes it easier for you to bake using apples.

Now, on to The Best Apple Bread!

APPLE BREAD.  Makes 2 large loaves.
*  4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
*  4 large eggs, beaten
*  1 cup vegetable oil
*  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*  2 teaspoons baking soda
*  2 teaspoons salt
*  2 teaspoons cinnamon
*  3 cups all-purpose flour
*  2 cups granulated white sugar

Streusel Topping.
*  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
*  1/4 cup granulated white sugar
*  2 teaspoons cinnamon
*  1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease two standard bread loaf pans and set aside.  Peel, core and slice the apples.  Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the oil and beat until combined.  Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Beat until thoroughly mixed.  Add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend.  Turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth.  The batter will be very thick.  Fold in the chopped apples, being careful to not break them.  Divide the mixture between the two pans.  To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut the butter into the mixture until all ingredients are moist and crumbly.  Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.  Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven.  The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle; if not, bake an extra 5 minutes.  Remove pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes.  Finally, remove the bread from the pans and completely cool.  

Pans greased and ready to go!

Folding apple chunks into the batter.

Making the streusel topping.

Ready to go into the oven.
The final result is a very dense, deeply flavorful apple bread.  Store in the refrigerator, cut a slice, and heat it a few seconds in the microwave oven to bring out the flavors.  You won't even need butter!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Like most people, I cook most days and, yet, I don't post to my blog very often.  Why?  I prefer to only post recipes that I find to be exceptional, tried and true.  While I love our day-to-day meals, I'm not sure my readers, you, have interest.  You also want something special!  Am I right?

Which brings me to this Torta di mele (Apple Torte).  So easy, so delicious, so versatile.  I don't know where I got this recipe, but it notes:  "For a real treat, serve the torta with a glass of vin santo."  I can see that.  Vin Santo is a delightful Italian dessert wine.  Typically (but not necessarily) somewhat sweet, in a small glass it would be the perfect accompaniment.  

Torta di mele (Apple Torte).  Serves 8-12
*  2 large eggs
*  1/2 cup sugar (split)
* 1-1/2 cups unsifted cake flour
*  2 teaspoons baking powder
*  1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
*  2/3 cup low-fat milk
*  4-5 cups apples (I used a mix of apples but would recommend Granny Smith or similar)
*  1 tablespoon melted butter
*  Cinnamon 
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Lightly oil a 10-inch springform pan or coat it with nonstick cooking spray.  Dust with a little flour, shaking out excess.  If your pan tends to leak, wrap the outside with aluminum foil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl beat eggs with a wire whisk; mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Beat well.  Whisk in flour, baking powder and lemon zest.  Slowly whisk in milk.  Let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, core and quarter the apples, then cut into thin slices.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Pile in the apple slices, pressing down to make them all fit.  Drizzle the top with butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar mixed with cinnamon to your taste.  

Bake for 45 minutes, until firm to the touch.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides.  Place the torte on a platter, rearranging any bits of apple that have gone astray.  

Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream.  Other ideas might be to lightly drizzle with caramel sauce.  

The batter is quite thin.

Right out of the oven.  The foil around the springform pan alleviates any potential leaks.

If you like raisins, they could be added to this recipe, yielding a somewhat sweeter cake.  The original recipe didn't call for cinnamon at all; it suggested dusting with powdered sugar just before serving.  Whatever you do, I think you'll like this easy recipe.