Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cranapple Pie

Have you ever made three different pie crusts just for tasting and perfecting?   Have you ever made four apple pies, each slightly varying to see what happens when you add more butter and slice the apples differently?  Have you ever tried seven completely different apple pie recipes just to taste the difference, even though nobody in your house, besides you, really even likes apple pie?

Have you ever eaten pie in the morning and called it breakfast?  Have you ever decided that pie is an art form that might just take an entire lifetime to master?  Who would do such a thing?  Some sort of pie weirdo, I guess.  That’s a little pie crazy, don’t you think?

Because of my love for and plausible obsession with all things pie, I understand that crust is a deeply personal matter.  I understand that some of you might prefer a lard crust or a pecan laden crust or maybe even a shortening crust, or of course the king,  the master,  the ultimate, pure and perfect butter crust.   Whatever you choose, this pie filling is the perfect combination of rich, sweet tartness. It mixes and switches up your plain old traditional apple pie.  You won’t be disappointed.


One last thing; The first slice never comes out as good as the rest, as shown in the photo above.  I tried to serve a small dainty little slice.  I advise against such crazy thoughts.  What was I thinking?   I suppose that’s just the price you pay for having the first slice of fall deliciousness.  Not a bad deal, I’d say.  After the other half is scooped onto the plate, it’s just perfect, regardless.


 Cranapple Pie

  • 2 – 9 inch pie crusts (your favorite recipe or store bought)
  • 4 large granny smith apples
  • 1/2 cup, packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum (or orange juice, if preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  1. Roll out pie crusts to desired thickness and place bottom pie crust into pie plate. Move oven rack to center slot and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Peel, quarter, core and then thinly slice the apples and place into a large bowl.  Drop the brown sugar over the apples and stir to thoroughly coat.   Dust sugared apples with sifted flour and stir to thoroughly coat.
  3. Place butter in microwave safe dish and loosely cover (a ceramic bowl with a plate over it works well and keeps the microwave clean) melt butter completely .
  4. Add dried cranberries, orange zest,  rum (or orange juice), vanilla extract and nutmeg to the hot melted butter and whisk together. 
  5. Pour cranberry-butter mixture over apples and stir to fully incorporate all ingredients.
  6. Pour cranapple pie filling evenly into bottom crust.
  7. Lastly, cover the cranapple filling with top pie crust.  Trim excess and pinch edges with thumb and forefinger to seal top and bottom crust together.  Cut top crust with desired design to vent.  Place pie plate on baking sheet and cover edges of pie with a strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.  Bake in preheated oven until apples are tender and crust is golden, which takes about fifty minutes to one hour.
  8. Cool on wire rack until warm and serve.


Note:  This tart pie goes wonderfully with sweetened whipped cream and/or candied pecans, if desired.


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Carrot Muffins with Maple Butter for Halloween Morning


I love Halloween.  The only other holiday that I love more than Halloween is Christmas, but who is counting really?  The leaves are crunchy and colorful, it hasn’t quite snowed just yet, and everyone gets to dress up and eat candy!  How fabulous is that?!


Well, my little monsters (or should I say Yoda and Batman) are very excited, obviously.  These muffins are the perfect way to start the day before the parades and the plays and the assemblies and the trick or treating.

They’re sweet, yet they pack in some veggies, fruit and nuts in an unidentifiable, delicious, little, sweet-treat package.  The pumpkin shaped maple butter is delectable and adorably fun for your little pumpkins.  Fun is what Halloween is all about.  I hope you enjoy your Halloween!


Carrot Muffins with Maple Butter for Halloween Morning

Carrot Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound carrots
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Preheat oven to 350°F. and spray eighteen half cup muffin cups.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk in sugar, in a large bowl. Coarsely shred enough carrots to measure 2 cups and chop pecans. Add shredded carrots and pecans to flour mixture with raisins and coconut and toss well.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Peel and core apple and coarsely shred. Stir shredded apple into egg mixture and add to flour mixture, stirring until batter is just combined well. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them three fourths full, and bake in middle of oven until puffed and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool muffins in cups on racks 5 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely. Muffins keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.



Maple Butter

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, warm
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 stick softened salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon softened cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk, warm
  • red and yellow food coloring, about 3 drops of each


Combine maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and brown sugar in blender and blend for five seconds.  Add butters and cream cheese. Pulse in blender, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until butter reaches the consistency of yogurt. Add food coloring and pulse until blended. Spoon into pumpkin molds and place in freezer for ten minutes.  Flip mold onto serving tray or cutting board and pop each pumpkin shaped butter out.  Refrigerate until use.  Serve with warm muffins or other fall breakfast favorites.
Source: Carrot Muffins









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