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home : news : news
October 27, 2021

10/1/2021 11:43:00 AM
More pumpkin and apple recipes
by JEFF NORTON


I did some of my favorite pumpkin and apple recipes last week, and given the season, I think it’s only right to continue on with those. It’s just the perfect season for comfort sweets.

But this week, I’m going with more of a cookware theme. All of these recipes will call for a cast iron skillet. It’s one of the most versatile tools in a kitchen, and there shouldn’t be any cook who doesn’t have a good one  in their arsenal. I have two — a big one and small one — and I’ve used them for so many different foods and methods of making food. You can cook, fry, bake, deep fry. From steaks to sundaes and pies to pike, cast iron skillets can do it all.

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The first recipe of the day is a basic apple crisp, but again the cast iron simplicity of it is just great. Also, topping it off with ice cream is just bonkers at the end.

SKILLET CARAMEL APPLE CRISP
5 c. apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter
2/3 c. melted buter
1 c. flour
Ice cream scoops (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl coat apples with 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Thinly slice three tbsp. of butter and layer in the bottom of a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Pour the apples over the butter.

In another mixing bowl combine remaining sugar, cinnamon, flour and melted butter until a fully incorporated. Using your fingers crumble this over the top of the apples.

Bake on the center rack for 45 minutes or until bubbling.

I think it goes without saying this should be served with vanilla ice cream. If you let the crisp and pan cool down a bit to be able to eat but still scoop the ice cream on it when it’s warm, it will melt into the crisp and oh boy. Get out some big spoons and just eat it straight from the skillet.

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This one was a new recipe for me to try last week, and at first I wasn’t sure about it. I love cornbread and I love pumpkin, but they didn’t sound like two things that go together all that great. Boy, was I wrong.

PUMPKIN CORNBREAD
1 tbsp. corn oil
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 c. brown sugar

Grease a cast iron skillet with the oil, spreading evenly along bottom and sides. Place into oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, eggs and brown sugar.

Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly into the pre-heated skillet. It will start to sizzle right away so do it quickly.

Put the skillet full of pumpkin cornbread batter back into the oven but reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is set and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Slice into wedges and serve with butter and honey.

It’s an amazing barbecue side, as we had it with some smoked and braised beef short ribs and they were perfect together.

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This is a pretty simple and easy recipe, but it goes great as a dessert to a meal or, it pairs really well as a side with a salted and peppered pork chop. Pork and apples are amazing together, hence why you always see the ‘applewood-smoked’ bacon, ham, loins, etc., and this is no different. The butter saltiness and muted heat from thick ground pepper on a pork chop balances perfectly with the sugary, sweet apples.
                                   
FRIED CINNAMON APPLES
2 large apples
2 tbsp. butter
Splash of lemon juice
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. water

Peel and slice apples.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples and splash with lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high.
Dissolve cornstarch in water and pour over the spiced apples, stirring to combine.
Sprinkle on the brown sugar and spices. Stir to combine. Cook another 4-5 minutes, until syrup has thickened and apples are crisp tender.

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Our last one of the day is a Southern pie hybrid of pumpkin and pecan.
                                   
PUMPKIN PECAN PIE
1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
5 large eggs, divided
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
7 tbsp. butter, melted and divided
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. light corn syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.

On a lightly floured surface, unroll piecrusts, and stack together; roll to a 14-inch circle. Press crust into bottom and up sides of prepared skillet. Trim excess dough to 1/2 inch past skillet. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Line crust with parchment paper, letting excess parchment extend over sides; fill with pie weights.

Bake for five minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; remove pie weights and parchment. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, two eggs, two tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, five tablespoons melted butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth. Pour into prepared crust.

In same bowl, whisk together corn syrup, vanilla, remaining three eggs, remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and remaining two tablespoons melted butter until smooth. Stir in pecans. Gently pour mixture onto pumpkin layer.

Bake until center of pie is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour, covering edges of crust with foil to prevent excess browning, if needed. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to three days.

TFD: “The autumn wind is a raider, pillaging just for fun. He'll knock you 'round and upside down, and laugh when he's conquered and won.” - Mary Jane Carr



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