Easy as Pie Apple Recipes

Use up those fall apples with some tasty treats.

Tara Bench shares some recipes perfect for the changing season.

Apple Cinnamon Popcorn
1 1/3 cups (2 oz) freeze-dried apples or apple chips
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 cups buttered popcorn

1. Blend together apples, confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon in a blender or food processor until powdery.

2. Toss 6 tbsp apple powder mixture with 1 bag hot microwave popcorn or 8 cups of hot air-popped buttered popcorn.

3. Store extra apple cinnamon mixture for another batch. Keep popcorn airtight up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

Crispy apple chips are the secret here. Crush them into powder for this classic-flavored seasoning. Makes 12 tablespoons seasoning
Apple Dumplings With Cider Sauce
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Pinch nutmeg
4 tbsp unsalted butter
⅓ cup shredded, peeled apple
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
4 cups apple cider
1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
Sweetened crème fraîche or whipped cream (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender or fingers, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. In another bowl, whisk together apple, egg and milk. Add apple mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined (mixture will be dry). Turn out dough onto work surface and knead a few times until it just holds together. Do not over-knead. Divide into 8 pieces; roll into balls.

2. In a 4-qt saucepan, combine cider and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and add 4 dough balls. Cook, turning occasionally, until dumplings are almost tripled in size and golden brown, 10 to 12 min. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining 4 dough balls.

3. Bring cider to a boil and cook until reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, about 5 min, then strain.

4. Serve dumplings warm, drizzled with cider and crème fraîche, if desired.

Recipe Notes:

Simmer these dumplings slowly so the center gets done but they don’t fall apart. No rolling boils here!
Gingerbread Caramel Sauce
3 cups sugar
¾ cup water
1½ tbsp light corn syrup
1½ cups heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves

1. In a large saucepan combine sugar, water and light corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down crystals inside the pan with a wet pastry brush. Cook, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 6 min. Remove from heat; stir in heavy cream and butter. Caramel will bubble.

2. Stir in cinnamon, ginger and cloves, pour into small glass jars; let cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes:

Prep a few jars of this luscious caramel sauce, keep them in your fridge, and you’ve got a great hostess gift on hand (it makes an awesome present for teachers, too). Such an easy and elegant gift.
Pecan Streusel Apple Pie
2½-3 lbs baking apples
½ cup granulated sugar plus more for top
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Pinch nutmeg
¾ cup pecans coarsely chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
2 tbsp light brown sugar packed
1 egg, large

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 pie-crust disk into a 14-inch round. Fold in half and transfer to a 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate. Unfold dough and gently lift into place. Trim edges to a ½-inch overhang and transfer to freezer.

2. For apple filling, peel, core and cut apples into ⅛- to ¼-inch-thick slices. In a large bowl, gently toss together apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, ½ tsp cinnamon, the ginger and nutmeg.

3. In another bowl, combine nuts, butter, brown sugar and remaining ¼ tsp cinnamon. Fill crust with half of the apples, evenly sprinkle with nut mixture and top with remaining apples.

4. Heat oven to 425°F and place rack in lower third. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk into a 14-inch round. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut into eight 1-inch-wide strips Vertically arrange half of strips over filling. Horizontally weave in remaining strips, gently lifting vertical strips. Adhere to bottom crust with some water; trim and crimp. Beat egg with 1 tbsp water; brush over lattice. Generously sprinkle with granulated sugar.

5. Bake on a baking sheet 25 min. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until apples are tender (test by piercing with a paring knife) and juices are bubbling, about 1 hr 15 min. If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool at least 1½ hrs before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Find more of Tara’s recipes on her website, www.tarateaspoon.com.

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