Baking Up Some Happiness

Baking Up Some Happiness

apple pie JA

My husband loves apples and would readily agree with Miss Austen that a good pie or crisp definitely makes the home (or at least him) more happy. And this is a particularly happy time of year in Nova Scotia as harvesting is underway in the orchards and large crates of apples are appearing at the farmers markets and in the grocery stores.  As I am writing this post, the elementary students from our school are enjoying a trip to the orchard to pick apples and wander a corn maze.  This time of year is awesome!

This morning as the sun streamed in my window and the red leaves on the maple tree waved in the breeze (well, they are almost completely red), I searched through a few old recipe books looking to see how apples were mentioned and used in them.  I found stewed apples, apple puffs, apple fritters, apple dumplings, apple pudding, and this one for Apples in Sugar.

Apples in Sugar
From The Art of French Cookery, third edition by Antoine B. BEAUVILLIERS, printed in London, 1827


After reading recipes for a while, I began to get the urge to bake something with apples. (Cooking and baking are favourite passtimes.)  But, instead of trying one of the recipes I had read, I decided to try this one from my grandmother’s cookbook:

From Friendship League’s Book of Tested Recipes, Swedish Tabernacle Church, Minneapolis, MN, published in 1934


I had wanted to try an apple pudding since both my grandmother’s recipe book and the older recipe books had one, but I was out of milk. I should have picked some up at the store when I went to get more apples.  But, I forgot, and I was not going back. 🙂 So, the above recipe, which is similar to the Warm Apple Pudding recipe I wished to make and not requiring milk, became my recipe of choice.

The house was toasty warm and smelled delicious while it baked!  And the end result, according to my eldest son, was “not bad” and according to my youngest, was “okay.” Believe me, folks, those are complimentary comments from my boys…they do no effuse praise for anything very often…they are reserved. My husband will have to try it later since he did not have time before work, but I bet it will make him happy when he comes home around midnight. (Hopefully, I will get a longer response from him, but I will not be surprised if I get a “that was nice” or “pretty good” — do you see where my son’s get it? I will know that it is better than pretty good if he suggests making it again.)

Apparently, it is not only my dear husband and Miss Austen who love apples and things made with them. It seems Mr. Woodhouse enjoys them too!

baked apple Emma

How about you? Do you love or loathe apples? Do you have a favourite recipe? Or maybe you have a completely different favourite fall food? I would love to hear about it, so leave me a comment. 🙂

28 Responses to Baking Up Some Happiness

  1. If apples are what you’re looking for – Apple Hill is the “go-to” place in Northern California! 50 Apple orchards selling apples, apples and more apples, plus fritters, doughnuts, cakes, pies, butter and fresh cider! All sorts of crafts can be had – apple and corn dolls, brooms, you name it – it can be found. Corn mazes, hay rides, pony rides, etc. for the kids. Tired of apples, there are pumpkins, pears, corn, blueberries, grapes, sunflowers and lots of fall flowers. If you’re ever in the area, just head east on Highway 50 out of Sacramento and follow the signs …
    My favorites are the warm apple doughnuts with a glass of milk, and the stick-to-your-teeth caramel apples!

  2. I am a huge apple fan.
    Each year I wait impatiently for the new crop of apples. There are many apples that I like – and I like going to farmers’ markets when on trips to discover new-to-me or heritage kinds. Pink Lady is a favourite, and I always buy a case & put it in the garage, where it freezes over the winter but the apples are still perfect when they thaw out a few at a time for eating.
    My sister in Wisconsin has two Cox Orange Pippin apple trees – and that apple is a real treat!
    We have a horticultural expert in our Jane Austen group who has tried to track down what apple it was in Emma that grew at Donwell Abbey. She compared various apples that existed in England in the early 1800s and looked at how long they lasted, whether they could hold up to triple baking, etc.
    A cousin of mine tells me there’s a place in the UK that maintains thousands of heritage apples. I notice a lot of Wisconsin farmers are raising heritage apples, too.

  3. Our apple trees had a very poor crop last year, but this year we have a glut! I love the sound of the Apple Macaroon recipe and may have to try that one very soon. A lot of the time, we have our apples lightly stewed and served with custard or ice cream. Then sometimes, I’ll put some in a dish in the oven with a crumble topping made from butter rubbed into flour, a little cinnamon and oats, then some demarara sugar stirred in. It makes a lovely crunchy topping. I’m a bit rubbish at pastry making so we don’t have many pies!

    • Oh, and a work colleague told me the other day that she makes a toffee apple crumble by chopping up a few toffees and mixing them with the apples before sprinkling the crumble on top.

      “Not bad” is the highest compliment anyone ever gets from my husband about food. Means it’s pretty darned good!

      • I do not like making pastry, and prefer to make a crumble topping (sometimes with nuts added). I love the idea of the toffee bit being in the topping. I am also one of those people who thinks that apples (depending on type) don’t require a lot of additional sweetening, and most times I get the ratio of fruit to sweetness right. However, one time I made an Apple and Cranberry Brown Betty that was declared blah…not enough sweetness. 🙂 So to get an “okay” or “not bad” beats a “blah.” LOL

  4. I love apples. My favorite recipe is for traditional German Apple Pancakes. When my son was in high school I made a full one for each student in his German Class. The best complement, every pancake was devoured, even by those looking at them as if they were aliens. Your recipe sounds delicious. I plan on trying it. I understand about your sons understated comments. If my son says, “It’s nice.”, I know it’s a hit..

    • Oh, apple pancakes sound wonderful! When teaching cooking to grade 7 and 8 (the year before last, I believe), we learned how to make regular pancakes and applesauce to put on top (there may have been ice cream involved, too 🙂 ) They loved it!

  5. I love apples pretty much anyway you fix them and the recipe you included sounds yummy! I wish I had more time to put some up for the winter for I dearly love an apple pie when it is cold outside. 🙂

    • My husband wants them fresh all year, so we don’t put any up for the winter. We are fortunate to live where there seems to be an ample supply of apples throughout the year.

  6. We had an apple tree in our backyard for a while when I was young. It produced a lot of small and tart apples with the occasional sweet one. But, I am not a lover of things that are too sweet so an apple that made me sometimes pucker was perfectly fine with me. 🙂 Those apples did make some lovely pies and muffins and sauce though!

  7. Ah, apples. I have an apple tree in my backyard. It has been a disappointment. My son stepped in this year and did the pruning for me even though it was a bit late in the season. Last year, there were a handful of small but tart apples that were enough to make a small, mediocre pie. This year, among the sad, sour and disappointing apples was one magnificent beauty of an apple. It was large, deep red and with the exception of a gouge on one side (which appeared after a windstorm) pretty much without blemish. My daughter-in-law picked it on Sunday and presented it to me. Last night, we quartered and shared it. (Me, my husband and two grandchildren.) It was crisp, juicy, tart and delicious. If I could have a treeful of those every year, I might start to like apples again. Oh yeah – I left that part out. There are only a few kinds of apples that I generally like fresh. Honeycrisp (a hybrid) being my favorite. I’m not a fan of apple pie – I’ll pass it over for another variety every time – but I do like apple crisp. The recipe you provided looks interesting. The credit to a lady named Myrtle gives it an air of authenticity and the “serve with cream” pretty much guarantees it’s going to be very tasty indeed. Loved the post!

    • Sorry, Diana…somehow my reply to your comment ended up above your comment….guess that is what I get for trying to multitask (cook supper and do computer stuff 😉 )

    • Very happy you enjoyed the post. 🙂 Baking in the fall…especially when the house is kind of chilly and needs to be warmed up….is absolutely delightful.

  8. My sister-in-law just gave me two bushels from her tree. I made applesauce and pie next, but most of them I’m going to core and put in the freezer for winter baking. Yummy!

    • Mom use to slice up the apples and freeze them for winter baking, and she also use to assemble the pies and then freeze those so they could be baked later as well.

  9. I love the fall season when so many apples of different varieties are so plentiful. You can do so many things with them. I make apple butter, fresh applesauce, apple pies, apple slices, apples with pork roast. Each variety is used in a different way. Baked apples are great too as are apple dumplings. Thank you for the great story and the love of the year round fruit!

    • Oh, my mom made apple butter when I was little….a hands down favourite of mine! And then there are apple slices with caramel sauce….yum (not as messy as a caramel apple and more caramel per apple bite 🙂 ) You know as a child I did not like baked apples? But then again, I never liked anything too sweet as a child. My boys are the same way…not really into sweets but apple pie always disappears quickly.

  10. Cameo apples are my favorite for just eating — not too tart, not too sweet and they are a firm apple. But baked apple pies or crisp are best warm with some Dairy Queen soft ice cream on top.

    • I don’t think I have ever had a cameo apple. I think the ones that I really like for eating are called honeycrisp and pink lady, but they are not the inexpensive ones like the macs and cortlands and gravensteins…so they do not often get purchased. We go through lots and lots of apples all year…a day is not a good day without at least one apple, according to my DH. 🙂

  11. I am a fan of apples. If they are cooked that is, I am not a fan of raw apples for some reason. LOL I have lots of thoughts on what to do with them though. =D I make my own applesauce so that’s a favorite. Cooked with honey and cinnamon and spooned over hot sweet biscuits with cinnamon ice cream…in a crisp topped with oats and pecans…kept whole but cored and stuffed with a gooey filling (apple pie spice, pecans, honey, golden raisins or chopped dates) and baked…another daily favorite is to just peel, core and half the apples and bake them on parchment until they begin to shrivel up a bit. No spices or sweetener needed. The baked apple half itself is very sweet and makes a wonderful addition to my oatmeal.

    • It sounds like you and Mr. Woodhouse would get along quite nicely when it came to apples! 🙂 I am a lover of oatmeal so the idea of a baked apple with oatmeal sounds so good!

  12. Hot, fresh, spiced applesauce. Yummy! As for a favorite fall food, almost any hot soup fits the bill. What a nice reminder of the wonderful things about fall. Thanks!

    • Mmmmm….I love warm applesauce. And I think I will have to have soup for lunch today. The leaves are falling and there was frost this morning, so a perfect day to warm up with a bowl of soup before I head off to teach. 🙂 I do love fall…especially October when the leaves are changing.

  13. Yummy ? I love apple pie and baked apples. The apple macaroon recipe also sounds delicious. As for eating apples I only like Granny Smiths although I occasionally have a Cox’s apple. Once it gets colder I love casseroles – I fill the slow cooker with chicken and veg and am happy. Thanks for this post.

    • My sister uses her crockpot to make applesauce…I hear the aroma is amazing! I will admit to making more casseroles in the oven during the early part of the fall when I don’t want to turn on the heat but the house needs the chill taken out of it. 🙂 My husband loves Granny Smith apples…and MacIntoshes and Gravensteins and any other apple that is not too sweet and has a good crunch.

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