Thursday, October 2, 2014

Apple Pie Filling: The Start of Something Good

So, it might not surprise you to hear that my family, besides getting our veggies through a local farm's CSA, is also a member of an apple CSA.  Which means that every other week in the fall, I get to head over to our friend Amy's and pick up a huge 10-pound bag of organic apples, picked earlier that week at Earth First Farms, a couple of hours away in Michigan.

Thing is, 10 pounds is a lot of apples.  And even though we love apples here...well, no matter how much I pack them into lunches and use them for snacks, they tend to start taking over.  I can barely close my fridge right now!

Applesauce is a given, and some day I'll get to posting my easy method for that, but this year, I've been looking outside of that.  I'm a big fan of those apples they serve at Cracker know the ones I'm talking about...the gooey, sweet, slightly spiced apples that taste like you're eating pie filling?  But I'm pretty sure that I don't want to know what's actually in them.  Something that good is bound to have something bad, right?

I haven't even tried making those on my own yet, because every copycat recipe I came across online had some ingredient that made my food morals set off warning bells.  But I did come up with my own apple pie filling, and some delicious ways to use it!

It's easy to make, and stores in your fridge for at least a couple of weeks.  Oh, and it's delicious.  I'm not saying you SHOULD eat it with a spoon, but let's just say, you wouldn't be the first.

I'm not saying that the ingredients are all perfect, health-wise, but at least you'll know what's in it, and you'll also avoid corn starch and corn syrup, which are big problems if you're concerned with GMOs and such.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is to peel, core, and slice 4 cups of apples.  That time can be drastically reduced if you have a good old-fashioned apple peeler,  I adore mine.

After you have 4 cups of small apples pieces, toss them with a bit of lemon juice and set it aside.

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Then mix in 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux of sorts, and will help your filling firm up better.  Cook it for a minute, then add 1/2 cup each dark brown sugar and white sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, and 2 cups of water.  The dark brown sugar will help it have more of a caramel-ish flavor to it.  Bring this to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes on its own.  Then add in the apples and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the sauce has thickened a bit.  It will get thicker as it cools.  Be sure to stir the sauce often, so that it doesn't stick to the pot and burn.

Remove it from the heat (I like to get it out of the pot as well, and usually just pour it into the measuring cup I used earlier) and let it cool to room temperature, then put it in a container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

This amount of filling is probably just enough for one pie, but there are unlimited other options for it, some of which I'll be posting here on the blog soon.

Coming up next: Apple Enchiladas!

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