Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple Pie Filling

Was it all the late-spring rain we got in Nor Cal this year? Was it the compost and mulch I added to the fruit tree area? Whatever the reason, we got a bumper crop of all our fruits this year. I never did find out what type of apple we are growing, but I did learn a lesson in how to tell when fruit is ripe.

The green apples above were decidedly under-ripe, which I discovered when I tried to bake with them. The only thing they were good for was thickening jam. After this early basket picked in August, I waited until September to pick the rest of the apples, when the fruit began to drop naturally from the tree and the apples had acquired a yellow blush.

Another thing I have learned this year is to plan in summer for what you want to be eating in winter. With so many apples, it seemed like a great plan to make some apple pie filling for our holiday pies. When that time comes around, it will be easy (as pie) to take one out of the freezer, defrost it, and plop it in a homemade pie crust for a delicious contribution to the dessert table.

I divided the following recipe by a third, but I wish I had made more. As we licked the spoon and pan clean, we concluded that it tastes exactly like the McDonald's apple pie filling, that nostalgic childhood taste of cinnamon and nutmeg that you can't help but love. It was so good, I can't wait for November!

Apple Pie Filling

18 cups thinly sliced apples

3 tablespoons lemon juice

4 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

10 cups water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Ladle into 5 freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.

Seal and freeze. Can be stored for up to 12 months

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