Is Apple Pie Without Some Cheese, Like A Kiss Without A Squeeze?

I don’t know where this saying came from but in the little town where my family moved after I  graduated from high school, there was a cafe owned by the biggest apple orchard in the area, and they had it on their napkins.  I personally don’t take my apple pie with cheese, I am more of a heavy cream or a la mode gal myself. But whichever way you like it, on days like today (deep snow drifts and chill breezes) baking seems to make things better.

2014-03-03 15.53.59Since we just came back from the South Carolina Low Country yesterday, I felt lucky to be inside and not driving. The only thing I had to choose from was banana bread or use up the apples that my husband had bought and forgot to take with us.  That seemed like the better choice!

This is not so much an apple pie or cobbler as it is a “crisp”.  I could have made a pie crust, or a cobbler topping, but today seemed right for an Apple Crisp- apples baked with a crunchy sweet topping of oats, brown sugar and spices, mixed with butter to make a crumbly texture.

Apple Crisp, a homespun baked fruit dish

Sliced apples, ready for the butter/oats/brown sugar topping.

Since we were in South Carolina, feasting on Low Country dishes that featured rice, sweet potatoes, various boiled and steamed greens, we hadn’t had many fruit dishes (not many in season at this time of year) so I was in the mood for these apples, even though they weren’t the right varieties for baking.

Joe had bought a bunch on Fuji and Gala apples for eating and though they are tasty, they really don’t make a very good pie.

Instead I decided to make an Apple Crisp, with oats, brown sugar, a little flour, lots of cinnamon and apple pie seasoning (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice) cut with butter. Because I like a crust under the apples to catch the juices, I sprinkled a little of the topping underneath as well. This way when the apples release their juices, the oats soften up and get doughy like a cobbler would- the best of both worlds you might say.

Dutch Apple Crisp

The overflow

I had so many sliced apples I had to make two of these, one pie shaped and one in a large glass casserole dish.

Bake for an hour at 350ºF (180C/Gas Mark 4).gas cooker conversion chart

Reduced by half after baking... juicy apples and crispy topping

Reduced by half after baking… juicy apples and crispy topping

I’ll take this one to my neighbors- they’ll love this on a cold night! We’ll have some of the rectangular one tonight after dinner.

In case you are reading this from abroad and want to know more about our American heritage foods, here are a couple great websites I found that explain the different dishes quite well.

What’s Cooking America’s History & Legends page has a rather complete storyline about these dishes  with pictures. Thanks to Linda Stradley, and the web site What’s Cooking America for some great reading. Check it out at  http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CobblerHistory.htm .

Another interesting write-up is by Carroll Pellegrinelli on About.com Desserts / Baking page:  http://baking.about.com/od/piesandfruiteddesserts/a/bettybucklegrun.htm

Pie Plate with saying on bottom:" The Spieit of the Season lives in the hearts of Friends

Food, Friends, and Flavors

A friend gave me this pie dish for Christmas several years ago. The verse inside says, “The Spirit of the Season Lives in the Hearts of Friends.” Indeed it does!

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