Posts Tagged ‘Apple’


I’ll bet you didn’t expect to hear from me this soon.

I’m making up for lost time.

If that’s even possible.

But I’m determined to try, so you can expect to hear a lot more from me this week as I try to fill these pages with some of the most delicious home baking and cooking recipes I’ve made while I was away.

Yes, even though I wasn’t here, I was still heating up the oven and cleaning up the mess.  Our plates were pretty and our tummies were full. Too full, sometimes.  Good food is hard to resist.  Like this blueberry apple cream cheese pie for instance.

It’s a pie I made a while back that I’ve been wanting to share.  It’s scrumptious. Apples and blueberries are covered in a luscious thick layer of cream cheese topping and  a sprinkle of walnuts.  It really is as good as it looks and it takes the humble pie to soaring heights of deliciousness.

Because I love to use fresh, seasonal fruit whenever I bake, Thanksgiving makes the perfect holiday to pass this around the family table, but you really can make and share it any time of the year and you’ll be sure to get some ooohh’s and awwwh’s.

Sprinkled with your favourite nuts, the rich and creamy, cream cheese topping nestles right into the tart apples and sweet blueberries for a beautiful, dramatic and rustic presentation that will impress even your most discerning of guests.

Cream Cheese Apple Blueberry Pie

Adapted from Pillsbury Kitchens’ Family Cookbook

Serves 10


Your favourite single-crust pastry

Apple Filling

6 cups (6 medium) peeled, sliced apples

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cream Cheese Topping

8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but feel free to use your favourite)


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine apples, blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss lightly.

3. Spoon into your prepared pastry-lined pie pan.

4. Combine all cream cheese topping ingredients except the nuts and beat until smooth.

5. Spoon cream cheese topping over the apples and blueberries.  Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Note: There is a caramel sauce option for this pie that I didn’t try; but it does sound delicious so I’m adding it, just in case you’d like to give it a try.

For this caramel version, omit the blueberries, using just the apples, and make a caramel sauce that gets poured over the apples just before you add the cream cheese topping.

Caramel Sauce

8-ounces (about 28) of caramels

1/2 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk

In a small saucepan, melt caramels in half-and-half on low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  While warm, drizzle over the apples before adding the cream cheese topping.


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Hi there!

I’ve decided that I’m just going to start where I left off. And that’s with these autumn apple cheddar squares.

I made them in September when people were driving to the country to pick apples on Sunday afternoons, kids were back in school, and us mom’s were trying to come up with new lunch box or after-school snack ideas.

These squares remind me of something my mom used to make … date squares.  Remember those? But instead of dates, the filling is made with apples, a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and some old cheddar cheese.Yes that’s right.  Cheddar.  As in orange cheese.

Growing up, I remember seeing apple pie served with slices of cheddar cheese and often wondering just what the cheese doing there because, after-all, pie was dessert and well, cheese just wasn’t.

Well, now that I’ve tried these squares, I know that apples, cinnamon and cheese belong together.

Cheddar Apple Squares

Adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks: The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book

Makes 20 squares


4 apples of your choice (Crispin or Golden Delicious are recommended)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheddar Crust and Crumble

11/2 cups large-flake rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese


1. Grease or line a 9-inch square metal or glass cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Cheddar Crust Crumble

2. In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar and salt.  With a fork, stir in butter until mixture clumps and is crumbly.  Add cheese, tossing to mix.  Press all but 1 cup evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake in centre of a 350 degree oven until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, peel, core and cut apples into 1/2-inch  thick slices.  In a skillet or shallow saucepan, bring the apples, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon to a boil, adding up to 1/4 cup of water if the apples stick to the pan.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.

4. Spread apple mixture over the base; sprinkle with remaining oat mixture.  Bake in centre of 350 degree oven until golden, about 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan on rack.

5. Cut into squares.

These squares can be made-ahead wrapped well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

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Ryan James Thompson was born November 14, 1990 … 21 years ago. It feels

more like 10, maybe 12.  For me, time is like a dangling carrot, you chase it

frantically, but you just never quite reach it … there just never seems to be

quite enough time.   Despite our long days and short nights here on the farm,

the years seem to roll along at a breakneck pace and as much as we try to cram

in every last detail of work and play, the days just get away on us.  21 years

ago Ryan came into the world and thrust his dad and I on an

amazing adventure of raising an awesome and inspiring son, so today is a

special day. 

Since I bake a lot of birthday cakes you would think I would have had an

amazing cake in honour of Ryan’s 21st birthday but with other orders to fill,

cake just wasn’t on the menu.  So, with little time, I needed to come up with a

desert that would be special and delicious.  This ended up being a perfect

finish to a perfect day. 

Served warm with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a scoop of vanilla bean

ice cream, this is the kind of food I live for. The cranberries are slightly tart

and the orange offers a beautiful subtle, citrus flavour.  The apples are

scrumptiously sweet because of the carmelly brown sugar and heavenly

vanilla. In fact, Ryan would have been quite happy to have sat down with just

the bowl of apples and called it a day.  In fact, I had to keep slapping his hand

to get it out of the bowl.

Served warm, (not hot, because you want people to really enjoy the flavours)

these turnovers ooze fruity goodness that contrasts beautifully with the crisp,

flaky phyllo.  The balsamic drizzle enhances the sweet, tart and citrus flavours

and the vanilla bean ice cream adds a delicious creaminess and more vanilla


All in all, this dessert is awesome and really does not take a great deal of

time.  Peel and chop your apples while the cranberries are simmering and you

can be serving these up in an hour. This recipe makes 16 turnovers.  You

could make double that amount if you were to reduce the size for a dessert


Cranberry Orange Jam

1 pkg. fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup (250 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) sugar

1 orange, peeled

Put all ingredients together in a pot to simmer, stirring frequently.

Simmer until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Remember that the

mixture will thicken once it cools so you don’t want to let it get too thick. Set

aside to cool.  Once it’s cool you’ll want to puree it just enough to grind up the

orange.  You can use a blender, food processor, or a hand-held blender, giving

it just a few bursts of power so that you still have the odd whole cranberry in

there. A hand-held blender is perfect for this because you don’t have to

transfer the mixture back and forth. Just pop the blender in the saucepan, give

it a couple bursts of power and wham, bam, you’re done.

Apple Filling

6-7 apples, MacIntosh, or whatever you like

1/2 (125 ml) fresh lemon

1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar

 1 tsp (25 ml) pure vanilla

Wash, peel and chop 6-7 apples.  I like to use MacIntosh because they have a

delicious sweetness.  I didn’t have quite enough so I used a couple of delicious

off of the tree in the front yard.  Use whatever you like best, you can even use

a variety, it’s up to you. Cut the apples up into bite-size pieces.  Squeeze 1/2 a

lemon into the apple pieces to prevent browning and add a splash of flavour.

Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar and 1 tsp (25 ml) pure vanilla.  Stir and set aside.


Frozen phyllo dough

1 cup (250 ml) butter, melted

16 teaspoons coarse brown sugar

Use a package of store bought frozen phyllo pastry found in the freezer section

of most grocery stores.  Allow the phyllo to thaw in the package in the

refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 5 hours.  Do not open

the package until all of your filling is prepared and ready to use.  Unwrap the

phyllo and lay out flat.  Take one sheet of phyllo and place in down on a baking

sheet or cutting board.  Brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter using a

pastry brush.  Brush the phyllo gently making sure to get the edges.  The

phyllo does not have to be completely covered in butter just lightly make

broad strokes across the surface.

Repeat this 7 more times until you have a pile of phyllo sheets, 8 sheets high. 

With a sharp knife, cut your phyllo into 8 sections.

Add 1/4 cup of the chopped apple mixture followed by a 1/8 cup of cranberry

orange jam. (Don’t mind me … as you can clearly see, I couldn’t figure out

what I was doing.  I do have moments like that … even whole days actually).

Brush around the edge of the phyllo section with melted butter and fold over. 

Press to seal the edges as much as possible.

 Brush the top of the turnover with more melted butter and sprinkle with 1

teaspoon of coarse brown sugar. Cut 3 slits into the top for the steam to escape

while it bakes.

Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 325 °oven for 20-25

minutes or until lightly brown and crispy.

Repeat the process, building another 8 sheets of phyllo, cut, fill and fold.

 If you want to get fancy, you could make triangles.

Serve with a balsamic reduction that you can get from most grocery stores or

make it yourself by simmering a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar until it thickens. 

Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy.  Heavenly!!!


This Sweet Wife (Ryan’s mom)

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These muffins are oh-so tasty and delicious!  They’re exceptionally moist

because of the apple sauce and really hit the spot as a mid-morning or after-

school snack.  They’re even great without the cream cheese frosting, (less

messy) for when you’re in a hurry and on the run. Dressed up or dressed

down,  these tasty cinnamon muffins are sure to hit the spot.


 Apple Spice Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk  together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With an electric

mixer on  medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and


3. Add  eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down

sides of  the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, add applesauce and then

the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Transfer

to a wire rack to cool completely before removing. Store in an airtight 

container. Can be frozen for up to 2 months. Makes 12 muffins.


Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1/8 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar

until smooth; beat in vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

2. Top each cupcake with frosting using a knife, spatula or piping bag.

Cupcakes can be dressed up for Halloween using a variety of chocolate,

colored sprinkles, candies, caramel and cookies. Frosted cupcakes can be

refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; bring to room temperature

before serving. 

This recipe can also be found in Southfields Village Voice Magazine, Volume 2, Issue II, September 2011 – November 2011, Page 17.

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