Fresh apples are still available for picking at local farms in Rhode Island. There’s nothing like crunching into a fresh-off-the-tree eating apple, such as a red or golden Delicious. And most farms also sell fresh cider, which is a welcome autumn treat. At home, you can simmer the cider on the stove along with some aromatic spices such as cinnamon and cloves, for a delicious way to take the chill off on these cooler Ocean State days.
Of course, apples are wonderful when baked into a special dessert such as pie, crumble, crisp, or cake. And it’s easy to cook apples into a fresh apple sauce, seasoned with just a bit of cinnamon. Just slice the apples, peeled or unpeeled, into a large pot, add a little water, and simmer them until they’re just soft. Adding a little sugar to the mix is optional. Some folks like their apple sauce chunky, and others prefer to strain the mix for a smoother texture.
One of the best fresh apple cakes is baked with a coating of chopped pecans or walnuts, which you sprinkle onto the pan before adding the batter. This cake always gets the most rave reviews in our household, served either for breakfast with your morning coffee, or at snack time, or topped with some pure vanilla ice cream for dessert. If there’s anyone with a nut allergy in your group, you can always omit the nuts.
Fresh Nutty Apple Cake
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 medium tart apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9-inch round baking pan, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over bottom and sides of pan. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. Stir in flour and baking soda. Fold in chopped apples. Spread batter over nuts in baking pan. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tests done. Makes 8 servings.
(Note: the nuts can be omitted, if there is a nut allergy situation.)