Friday, November 26, 2010

Cooking to Save the Planet: Apple Loaf and Apple-Nut Cakes

You all may be sick and tired of cloying desserts after Thanksgiving ("you all" who have just celebrated American Thanksgiving, that is, and--thankfully--not all readers of this blog are Americans).  If not, Box Turtle Bulletin has just published a recipe for a sinfully rich sweet potato and apricot puree with pecan streusel, to which I'd provide a link.  But I can't get the Box Turtle webpage to load in my browser.  I can read the posting only because I receive email updates from Box Turtle and can see the posting in my email inbox.  (Later today: here's the link to Rob Tisinai's recipe at Box Turtle.)

And here are two more of my own, both for baked items using apples.  You do realize, don't you, that I am poring over these recipes because I can no longer eat dishes like this as a diabetic?  Or I can eat only nibbles.  And so I feed my imagination by reading and dreaming of food unavailable to me, in that sad way we have had since the apple dangled tantalizingly low over the heads of our first parents.

If you are already growing tired of stale, dry turkey, I can tell you from past experience that the following apple loaf makes wonderful turkey sandwiches, spread with a bit of butter and leftover cranberry relish.  This is a recipe I first concocted when I was in grad school in Toronto in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  

Coarsely grate two peeled large apples.  Toss these with 3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed.  Beat in two beaten eggs and 3/4 cup of cooking oil (e.g., corn, peanut, etc.).  Stir into the mix 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, 3/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon (double-acting) baking powder, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Beat well.  Fold in 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour and turn the batter into a well-greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350F for an hour.

And then there are these apple-nut cakes I created in January 1996.  Core, but do not peel, four medium apples and grate coarsely.  Set aside.  Cream 1/2 cup cream cheese with 3 tablespoons soft butter.  Add 1 cup brown sugar, packed, and beat this well into the creamed cheese and butter.  Beat into the creamed cheese and butter the grated apples and 3 eggs.  Then stir into this mix 2 cups finely ground pecans.

Sift together 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Toss 3/4 cup of raisins with the flour mixture and fold into the previous mix.  If the dough is too soft to make small cakes (dropped onto a cookie sheet), add just enough flour to make the dough more manageable.  Drop by large spoonsful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 450F for about 10 minutes.

Good fall dishes, both of them, using crops that become available in many places at this season--apples and nuts.  I hope if you try these recipes, they will work for you.

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