Latest Event Updates

Creamy Oats with Honeyed Apricots

Posted on Updated on

Creamy Oats with Honeyed Apricots (2)

Let it be known that I love to travel. Travelling is good for the soul and it keeps you humble.  How, you ask, does travelling keep one humble? You see, when it’s YOU that’s the odd one out; YOU driving on the wrong side of the road, YOU asking for a translation of a menu item, YOU wondering what that sign said, then finding out that it meant to Keep Out, it helps you realize what those “furriners” experience when they visit our fair country and commit those unpardonable cultural gaffes. It also creates a sense of empathy for them within me. If you’re thinking that this all sounds like an excuse to keep travelling, you might also be right.

I also love breakfasts. But you know how when you’re travelling, you fluctuate between all those gourmet breakfasts and mediocre hotel breakfasts and eventually just long for a simple homey cereal or muffin breakfast? Yeah, well, for me that often means longing for a steaming bowl of oatmeal. I LOVE oatmeal, so when I spied Porridge Oats with Honey Blueberry Compote on the menu close to the end of our trip to Ireland, I ordered it posthaste. It was everything I wanted it to be; both homey and delightful. Steel cut creamy oats topped with a lightly sweetened blueberry compote and drizzled with honey. For years I’ve been cooking my oats in a half milk/ half water solution, then adding apples and raisins, so this seemed like a great dish to recreate at home. I did it, and it was great, but this time of year when fresh Ontario fruits abound it seems a shame to cook the fruit. Apricots are in season now, and due to the dry heat we have experienced this year, they are extra sweet.  I love anything with apricots, so I thought why not try apricots with honey? I cooked my favourite steel cut oats in our own local milk, sprinkled a wee bit of cinnamon on the oats, topped them with chopped apricots, and drizzled it all with honey. I sure did enjoy it, and as I was eating it, I thought, “This sure would be good with peaches too. Or peaches and blueberries.” Next time…

Steel-cut Oats, Apricots, Guernsey Milk, and local Honey!
It makes me happy when I can use all local products in my cooking!

 

Creamy Oats with Blueberries
My daughter opted to top hers with fresh blueberries and brown sugar, and ate it with gusto.
Creamy Oats with Honeyed Apricots
Delicious apricot chunks swimming in honey on an island of oats

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, where most of this stuff is available. As always, the views and stories are my own. 

Apricots are said to be one of the healthiest fruits in the world, with tons of Vitamins A and C, and potassium packed into its little furry body. We saw acres and acres of apricot orchards as we were climbing the mountainsides in Spain and Portugal a few years ago. It was a beautiful sight; those orange ovals hanging in the trees. 

Creamy Oats with Honeyed Apricots

Ingredients

Creamy Oats with Honeyed Apricots (4)

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh apricots (or your favourite seasonal fruit)
  • honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)

Directions

Pour the milk and the water into a medium-sized saucepan. Heat, stirring now and then until it begins to steam and smell “milky”. Stir in salt and oats. Reduce heat and slowly boil for 10 to 20 minutes, until it is just a little thinner than you like to eat it it. Cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes to let it thicken. Scoop into your prettiest bowl, top with chopped apricots or desired fruit and drizzle with honey.

 

Mixed Berry Eclair

Posted on Updated on

Mixed Berry Eclair (5)

You know how some recipes are born out of desperation and necessity? I’m talking about those times when you need a dish and start browsing your cupboard and fridge to see if inspiration will strike. Today’s recipe is one of those deals.

Coming home from market one hot Saturday afternoon in July many moons ago, I was trying to decide what dessert to make for a potluck dinner at our church the next day. I knew it would contain strawberries because they were in full swing at that time. I looked through my pantry to gain inspiration and found a cooked vanilla pudding mix. I knew I had eggs in the fridge. At that time a chocolate eclair was making the rounds big time. It had a cream puff base with pudding, whipped cream, and chocolate glaze layered on top. As a family we love fruit, so I thought, “Why not make a fruit-topped eclair?” So I started boiling, mixing, baking, and refrigerating; improvising as I went along. It’s what I do.

To make a long story short, the result was a success, I entered it in our church cookbook a year later, and have had several people tell me they make it every year in berry season. It’s light, fluffy, and the critical criteria of good looks has been met. I learned to make food look good from my dad; he always said, “Food has to pass by my eyes before it reaches my stomach.”

For this one, I added blueberries and raspberries with the strawberries because it’s the time for those big sweet thimble-sized berries that we look forward to every year, and my philosophy is that raspberries make everything better. It would be a great Fourth of July dish for you Americans with its pops of red, white and blue. Also, this time I changed the chocolate drizzle to a ganache drizzle. Uh huh. Chocolate ganache with fruit? Bring it on! I’m toying with the idea of substituting Greek yogurt for the whipped cream layer sometime. I bet that would be good.

Ontario Berries
Look at the size of those raspberries!

 

Hover or click on the pictures for step by step instructions. The cream puff base is easy to make and you can cook the pudding while it’s baking. The puff can also be frozen for a future time. The  dough will look flat in the pan, but will rise while baking, especially the sides.

 

Mixed Berry Eclair (8)

Mixed Berry Eclair (6)
Look at those luscious layers!

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and my blog is featured on their new website. The views and stories presented here are my own. 

Ontario grows many raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Strawberries begin to ripen by the middle of June, with raspberries and blueberries joining them about a month later. It goes without saying that this time frame is affected by the weather in any given year. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. So berry up! 

Mixed Berry Eclair

 

Ingredients

CREAM PUFF BASE:

Mixed Berry Eclair (6)
Look at those luscious layers!
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs

FILLING: 

  • 135 g box cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

or  2 cups of your preferred custard recipe

  • 1 cup of whipping cream, whipped 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

TOPPING:

  • 1 quart (4 cups) of mixed fresh berries, your choice
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cups white or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

CREAM PUFF BASE: Grease a 9″ by 13″ pan. Bring water and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off heat and add flour and salt all at once, mixing it in quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough gathers into a ball. Remove pot from heat and let it stand 5 minutes before adding eggs one at a time, beating or whisking vigorously after each egg. Beat until smooth. Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 375° F or 191° C for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack, cutting 5 or 6 small, shallow slits in the puff for steam to escape. Puff will have high sides and a sunken centre. Remove puff to serving tray when cool. 

FILLING: Meanwhile, cook your pudding or custard mix using 2 cups of milk according to directions until it’s thick. Add flavouring and allow to cool. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of pudding after about 5 minutes to keep skin from forming. Chill until ready to assemble. To assemble, spread pudding or custard on the puff base. Whip cream, flavourings, and confectioner’s sugar until stiff; spread on top of pudding.

TOPPING: Top with your choice of whole and sliced berries. Heat cream in a small saucepan just until it begins to boil. Pour over the chocolate chips in a small bowl and allow to sit undisturbed for about 7 minutes. Stir the chips into the cream until it thickens and gets shiny and is fully incorporated. This is your ganache. Allow to sit until it is easy to drizzle (not long), then drizzle from a large spoon over the surface of the berries in a pretty pattern. Chill. This can be done several hours in advance. Shake additional confectioner’s sugar over top before serving, just for purtiness’ sake.

 

 

Summer Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts

Posted on Updated on

Summer Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts (2)

My history with both strawberries and walnuts goes back a long, long way. Growing up as the oldest of a large family, we always had long rows of strawberries where we fought with varied feathered and furred creatures to be the first to get to as they ripened. Later I married into the Martin family and they had a pick-your-own patch in those early years. I remember picking with Asian pickers and being simply agog at their flying fingers while chatting at equal breakneck speed with each other. After the stork began using our home as a drop-off location, I sold strawberry plants in the spring from our house as a little sideline income as a stay-at-home mom. It turned out to be a great way to meet the neighbourhood, as well as neighbouring communities. I also got to know the berry types and which ones grew best in certain soils. Those were good years.

We children considered walnuts the bane of our existence. Our property had formerly been a black walnut grove and my parents had opted to keep about a dozen trees on our lawn. Starting in September, we had to pick up those big green globes before we could mow. At the end of the season we saved a few bushels of them and spread them out on the lower garage floor, then drove over them with the garden tractor to remove the thick pulpy, leathery skin. When the skin was squashed and cracked, we peeled them off, wearing rubber gloves. You know what walnut stain colour on wood looks like, right? Well, dear ones, that’s the colour our gloves were after that job was done and the stain dried. We let the nuts dry in their hard wooden shells for weeks down there, then gathered them in bushel baskets and stored them in the furnace room. Then…and this is the good part…on a cold, rainy night those old enough to help would gather in a circle and pound those wooden little nuts with a hammer until the shell split and pry out the nutmeat inside. We would beg dad to tell stories of his boyhood and he obliged with delight. When we were done, we trooped upstairs and Dad (or Mom, if the little ones had been put to bed already) would fry up those little hard-earned beauties in butter until they were sizzling and fragrant, shake some salt over them, and we devoured them with gusto. To this day, I cannot brown a nut without having memories of those late autumn delights flood my being. It’s funny how memories are attuned to smells like that.

Summer Strawberry Salad (2)

This salad uses an assortment of fresh seasonal goodies that are available now. I had to use English walnuts because I have no black walnuts on hand, but it was still delicious. The dressing is from the yummy Festive Tossed Salad in our cookbook. I cut back the sugar and butter amounts from the original recipe, as I often do.

Summer Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts
This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and my blog is featured on their new website. The views and stories presented here are my own.
Strawberries come in many varieties and types. It is best to grow them in raised rows so that the berries don’t sit in water and rot during wet weather. The plants need to be covered in winter with straw to prevent winterkill (hence the name). With the advancement of the day neutral or ever-bearing berry, we are able to have strawberries much earlier in the spring and later in the fall than we used to. Ontarians are now making fresh strawberry pies in October for Thanksgiving, alongside the iconic pumpkin pie! They are easy to freeze for smoothies or shakes.

Summer Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

NUTS:

Summer Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts (2)

  • 1 cup walnuts, or pecans if you prefer them
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DRESSING:

  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in quarters
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

SALAD:

  • 10 – 12 cups torn romaine, or a mix of lettuces
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 1/2 cups sliced green or red onions
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, or your favourite kind

Directions

NUTS: Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add nuts and cook until sizzling and fragrant over medium heat (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper; stir it in. Set aside until serving time. These can be done ahead.

DRESSING: Blend dressing ingredients together in food processor or blender lightly.

SALAD: In a large salad bowl, layer half the lettuce, strawberries, onions and cheese. Repeat layers. The salad can be covered and refrigerated at this point for several hours. When ready to serve, top with the candied nuts and drizzle with enough dressing to suit your tastebuds. Eat and remember those who gathered the walnuts.

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Posted on

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones (3)

I just love living in a country where we have so many seasons. Every season is exciting because each one brings new and wonderful goodies to see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. These days we see apple blossoms gleaming in the sunshine; feel the glowing warmth; hear the orioles singing and the tractors chugging; smell the lilacs, and lastly, taste all the gastronomic pleasures the season offers.

Of those gastronomic spring pleasures, rhubarb rates right up there as one of the best. That burst of tartness on the tongue, surrounded by sweetness could draw forth odes to joy. Any takers on penning an Ode to Joyous Rhubarb?

We enjoyed a trip to Ireland in April and my attention was caught by the many and diverse ways the UK serves and sells rhubarb. We had noticed it when we were in England too. Rhubarb chutneys and preserves, rhubarb sticky toffee pudding (oh, yeah!), rhubarb crème brûlée (OH, YEAH!!!), not to mention in salads, on meats, in porridge, and in drinks. Rhubarb is slowly catching on here in Ontario in a commercial way, though, as the local food trend is growing. That’s good news!

You know what else is big in the UK, right? Scones. Yes. Do you see where this is going? Rhubarb + scones = Rhubarb Scones. And we’re going to add strawberries too, because by the end of this week, we should be getting in our first strawberries! So now we have arrived at Strawberry Rhubarb Scones. You see the progression.

I make these scones each spring. Sometimes I brush them with an egg white wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar, sometimes I drizzle with a vanilla glaze; this year I brushed them with cream and sprinkled with regular white sugar, which resulted in a softer top. I think so far my favourite is the egg white wash, because I love crusty things. But that’s the beauty of cooking, right? You can personalize it to your own tastes.

 

See my post on Double Apple Scones for some tips on making scones. The frozen butter trick was a life-changer for me. Just remember to have everything cold, cold, cold.

 

IMG_20170627_181741743-1.jpg
Glazed with egg white wash.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones (8)

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Check out other recipes on their new website! The stories and views presented here are my own.

Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it is most often served as a fruit. It grows in large bushy clumps with huge leaves, which are poisonous. Since it requires cool weather to grow. it is found in more northern climates. Once it gets hot, it wilts and gets stringy. It can be frozen and used from the frozen state. 

IMG_20170623_141255761.jpg
Fresh strawberries and rhubarb; beautiful!

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flourStrawberry Rhubarb Scones (3)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, scored, frozen and grated
  • 2/3 cup half and half or whipping cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped coarsely
  • egg white wash, cream or glaze

Directions

SCONES: Score the butter at the half cup mark, then freeze for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F or 218°C. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the egg and cream. Grate cold butter into the bowl of dry ingredients to the score mark and stir lightly with a fork to mix. It should look like dry pie pastry with little lumps of butter showing.

POUR the egg mixture into the bowl and add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Lightly toss and stir with a fork again just until the dough starts to gather together but is still crumbly and wet. Turn it out onto a floured surface and gently fold everything together until it holds together, adding a little more cream if needed. Divide into two balls, sprinkle flour over top, and pat each into an 8″ disc, about 1″ thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. 

PLACE the wedges on a greased or parchment-lined pan, leaving at least 1″ space between each one. Brush the tops of the scones with cream or egg wash (1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with coarse or fine sugar). If you’re planning to glaze them, don’t do anything. 

BAKE the scones for 18- 22 minutes until they look golden and have crusty edges. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving or glazing. 

SIMPLE VANILLA GLAZE: Whisk 1 cup of icing sugar with 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or cream and a splash of vanilla to a drizzle consistency.

Asparagus and Bacon Quiche

Posted on Updated on

Asparagus Bacon Quiche
Asparagus and Bacon Quiche

Spring has been peeping around the corner for a while to tease us with her warmth and sunshine, only to sweep it away out of reach coyly. But she seems to have tired of her flirtatious game and has finally taken up residence in earnest. There is an old proverb that claims that good things come to those who wait, and whoever penned it knew whereof he/she spoke.

One of the good things that I wait for impatiently in the Spring is asparagus. I love asparagus and use it in a dozen different ways in the short season it is here for. Click here for last year’s Asparagus, Ham and Egg on Toast recipe; it’s great for breakfast or brunch. I can’t wait to make it again.

A sidekick that accompanies asparagus for an even shorter period is wild leeks, or ramps, as they are known as. An older friend of ours delighted in telling us a story at market about his class eating wild ramps during their noon hour break and having the teacher send them home from school early because the class reeked so badly. Imagine a room full of kids each eating a handful of fresh garlic and you might have a sense of how that classroom smelled! I have fond memories of meandering through the woods behind our place with grandma and pulling up the leeks and eating them straight out of the soil.

Asparagus and ramps combine with bacon, eggs and cheese to deliver this scrumptious quiche. I used an applewood-smoked bacon and a variety of cheeses, including Gruyere and an intriguing straw-smoked Scamoria that looks like a potato that I brought home from our recent trip to Ireland. The overall result was a swirl of flavours that blended superbly, yet allowed the asparagus to shine through.

I use the recipe for pie pastry that is on the box of lard, mix up a big batch and divide it into 5 or six portions, depending on the size of the pie plates, and freeze them individually. That way, it’s ready to go when I want to make a pie or tart. Or quiche, in this case. Chop and lightly fry the bacon, cook the asparagus quickly and chop the ramps, shred the cheese, and beat the egg mixture while they’re cooking. This egg mixture is a basic quiche base; you could also substitute broccoli or spinach for the asparagus, and ham or chicken for the bacon. If you want to make it gluten-free, this recipe is my go-to GF pastry.

Layer everything in the pastry-lined pan, pour the beaten egg mixture over it all and bake.

Asparagus Bacon Quiche (4)

Savour every bite and thank the good Lord for Spring’s bounties! I served it with a Caprese salad on the side. We didn’t eat the tulips.

Asparagus Bacon Quiche (3)

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Check out my blog and other recipes on their new website! The stories and views are my own.
Asparagus grows best in light sandy soil. As soon as warm weather arrives, it begins poking its head out through the ground. It grows quickly and needs to be harvested nearly every day. Cut off the grey woody bottoms until you reach the tender part of the stems. Asparagus can also be eaten raw, or very lightly blanched and chilled and makes a stunning and conversational addition in a fresh vegetable assortment.
Ramps grow wild in shady areas of the woods. They are in the garlic family, so you may use garlic or shallots as a fine substitute.

Asparagus and Bacon Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 10″ pie crust, homemade or store-bought Asparagus Bacon Quiche (5)(I use the recipe on the lard packages and freeze the extra portions). Use a GF crust to easily make it gluten-free.
  • 3/4 to 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed well and trimmed (about 3 cups when chopped)
  • 1 bunch wild ramps or 2 garlic cloves, washed
  • 6 slices bacon or 1 cup ham
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded assorted cheese
  • 3 large or extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half or whipping cream or whole milk*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • generous grinding of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grainy or dijon mustard

Directions

PASTRY: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a 13″ circle. fold into quarters and transfer to a pie or quiche pan. Unfold and fit into the pan, pressing it in lightly. Trim edges or fold them underneath inside the rim and crimp the edges.

FILLING: Preheat oven to 400°F or 205°C. Chop bacon coarsely and fry lightly. Slice asparagus into 1 inch pieces and cook uncovered in a little water for 3 – 5 minutes, just until it turns bright green. Finely chop the ramps or garlic and shred the cheeses. Whisk the eggs, add the seasonings and cream or milk*. Tilt pan on a low trivet to let the grease run to the bottom, then remove the bacon onto a paper towel. Strain hot liquid off of asparagus immediately.

LAYERS: In the prepared pastry, layer half the cheese, asparagus, bacon, and ramps, then repeat the layers. I start and end with the cheese; it keeps the crust from getting soggy and gives the quiche a lovely golden top. Pour the egg mixture over the layers.

BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes until golden and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the quiche. Don’t poke into the crust! Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with a salad for a lovely light lunch or supper and be thankful for spring.

*Using cream will result in the firmest quiche with less water separation happening as it bakes. I recommend using whole milk if you wish to use milk.

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

Posted on Updated on

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake (6)

I was waffling a bit in trying to decide the theme I wanted to use for April this year, because Easter was so early and is already past and gone. We have been hovering on the cusp of spring for ever so long, but it flirts with us, teasing us with a glimpse of sun and daffodils, then slips away behind a dark snow cloud again. Soon we shall have rhubarb, asparagus, wild leeks, and fiddleheads, but for now, we still have apples!

Every now and then I get a craving for this solid, moist pound-style cake. It needs no frosting, just a light dusting of icing sugar, and is ideal for breakfast or dessert. It has been in my recipe file for many years, and is perfect to serve on heirloom dishes, like the plate I have pictured above. That plate is part of a setting from my grandmother’s Royal Winton Sunday set and I treasure it. I use it occasionally and think of her tuneless under-her-breath whistle while she ironed; the way she always had time to read to us and take us for walks through the woods behind us; sitting at the table in her green visor bent over the newspaper while she ticked off the crossword puzzle in that day’s issue.

I wasn’t in photo mode when I was preparing the cake, so I don’t have pictures of the prep steps, but they are quite basic: prepare batter, peel and thinly slice apples; toss apples in cinnamon-sugar, and layer the batter and apples in a large bundt or tube pan. Because I’m obsessive about foods looking pretty, I saved a dozen apple slices and laid them in a circle on top of the cake. Then you bake it for a long time, over an hour.

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

I served it to our Bible study group that night, but my daughter and grandson came earlier that day and we had to test it to see if it was like it should be. Yup, it was.

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake (3)

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. They have a beautiful new website now and my blog is a part of it! Yay! Check it out in the News section. As always, the stories and views on this site are my own. 

I used a Honeycrisp apple for this recipe. I love its full flavour and juiciness in baking, while holding its shape nicely. 

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

Ingredients

CAKE:Old-Fashioned Apple Cake (6)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large or extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup canola, olive or your favourite oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (freshly squeezed or Tropicana)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)

FILLING:

  • 4 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (4 cups sliced)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • icing sugar for dusting

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a large (10″ or 4 L) tube or bundt cake pan. Combine the first four dry ingredients. Beat eggs, oil, juice, vanilla, and zest if using, in a large mixer bowl. Add dry ingredients in two additions, beating just until smooth (the batter will be quite thick). 

FILLING: Toss the peeled and sliced apples with second amount of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside 12 slices for the top.

ASSEMBLY: Spread one third of the batter thinly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with half of the apples and spread them as evenly as you can. Repeat layers, ending with batter. Lay set-aside slices in a spoke fashion around the top of the cake. 

BAKE in centre of the oven for 70 -75 minutes, or until your toothpick comes out clean. Cool upright in pan for 20 minutes, then remove by running a knife around the outside edge, placing a plate over the top of the pan and tipping it upside down. Place rack on the turned up bottom and tip it again right side up. It will make sense when you do it, trust me. Let cool another 10 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving.  To dust evenly with icing sugar, place a little of the sugar in a small fine-mesh sieve and shake it gently over the cake. Eat it and think of your grandma with fondness. 

 

Maple and Brie Baked Apples

Posted on Updated on

Maple and Brie Baked Apples (2)

For the last few weeks our internet has been floating in Never-Never Land. Those that write blogs depend heavily on internet, for how shall they post recipes without any pictures? And how shall they load pictures without any internet? And how shall they have internet unless it is restored? Thankfully, after much trotting on various rooftops and tapping of keyboards by people who know how to trot on rooftops and tap on keyboards efficiently, we are back in the Land of Now. Just in time to squeak in another maple recipe for March.

Although baked apples go way back in time, I don’t personally have a lot of history with them myself. I remember my grandmother making them occasionally, and my mom making them occasionally, and me making them occasionally, but that’s it. So this is not an old family recipe, it’s just a great way to serve apples. It’s simple, gluten-free, easy to make for two or twelve, and… you’ve gotta admit it… kind of pretty.

But! the plate it’s on… now, that’s got history. It’s an Antique. Please repeat that phrase reverently with me. It’s an Antique! Depression-era Milk Glass, to be precise, for those of you who care as I do for old, precious dishes. My family used to own a gift shop in the village of St. Jacobs and one thing we sold was antiques. It was so much fun going with Mom and Dad to auctions to buy them and research the value of them. I am of the firm opinion that old, precious dishes are to be used and enjoyed, so it seemed right and proper that this traditional dessert should be showcased on a heritage plate.

For this recipe, I used a similar syrup as the Maple Mustard Chicken in my last post. By the way, thanks to those of you who tried that recipe and messaged to say how well you like it! That is music to a food blogger’s ears, let me tell you. I cored an Ida Red apple, stuffed it with pecans and Brie cheese and basted it with the syrup. If you prefer sweeter apples, use a Gala or something similar that holds its shape well. I always peel them halfway down, both for aesthetics and because the peel gets a little tougher from baking.

Maple and Brie Baked Apples (3)
Check out that deliciously oozing centre!

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The recipes, views, and stories are my own. 

Ida Reds are a favourite of many bakeries for strudels, cakes, and muffins. They are a deep red colour with a semi-tart flavour and resist browning after being cut.  

Maple and Brie Baked Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 large, firm apples (sweet or tart, your choice!)Maple and Brie Baked Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used Amber)
  • about 8 pecan halves
  • 4 Brie cheese slices

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Core the apple with a thin knife (a filet knife works well) or an apple corer. Make the hole large enough to stuff with 2 slices of Brie cheese. Peel the top half of the apple. Heat the butter and maple syrup together just until it begins to boil. Place the apples in a baking pan and stick 3 pecan halves down the hole to the bottom of the apple. These help to keep the Brie inside the apple. Stuff tightly with the Brie slices, top with another pecan half, then scoop the boiling syrup over the apples. Baste the apple with the syrup from the baking dish a couple of times while baking. Bake the apples for at least an hour, or until the skin begins to split and the apple is soft to your fork, but still holding together. Place the apples on your prettiest plates and scoop the syrup from the pan over top. Serve with ice cream, if you wish.   

*Because I wanted to experience the flavours of the Brie and the maple syrup, I opted not to add cinnamon. I’m sure it would be good with cinnamon, though, so go ahead and add it if you like!