Canned Apple Pie Filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling
Adapted from cooks.com

 8-9 Quarts: 
Using 5 1/4 quarts of apples might yield closer to 7 quarts 

7 qt. blanched sliced apples 
5 1/2 c. granulated sugar 
1 1/2 c. clear jel A (hot type)
2 1/2 c. cold water 
1 tbsp. cinnamon (optional) 
5 c. apple juice 
1 tsp. nutmeg (optional) 
3/4 c. bottled lemon juice plus extra

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.  This will keep the cut apples from turning brown.  Or use ascorbic and citric acid mixtures according to manufacturer's instructions.  Wash, peel and core apples. Prepare slices 1/2-inch wide.  Place into lemon water as you go.  

Blanch half the prepared apples at a time for 1 minute in boiling water. While blanching other batches of apples, keep blanched apples in a covered pot so they will stay warm.

Combine sugar, clear jel A and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir together thoroughly. Put water and apple juice in large kettle. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Stir and cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice. Boil one minute more, stirring constantly.

Drain apple slices and fold into mixture. Fill prepared jars without delay, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Put prepared lids and rings on jars and process immediately in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes after water comes to a boil.

Clear jel A is a modified food starch available. Your local extension service office might be able to tell you where it is available. Do not substitute cornstarch. The quality is not as good, nor does it store as well.  I bought a 25 pound bag for less than $4 a pound that included shipping from Walton Feed at http://rainydayfoods.com/   Smaller sizes are available there and elsewhere online for more cost per pound.

One Quart:
This will yield a little more than a quart.  Using 3 cups apples might yield closer to a quart.   

 4 c. blanched sliced apples 
3/4 c. granulated sugar 
1/4 c. clear jel A (hot type)   
1/2 c. cold water 
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional) 
3/4 c. apple juice 
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional) 
2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice plus extra


Dried Apricots with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Yes those are apricots. Don't judge.  
Dried Apricots with Goat Cheese and Pistachios 
From Gourmet
Serves 50, adjust accordingly. 

150 dried apricot halves (2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios, 1/2 of them toasted
1 pound soft mild goat cheese, chilled


Toss apricots with juice and let stand, tossing occasionally, 20 minutes.

Chop all pistachios, preferably by hand, and season with salt. Drain apricots, cut sides up, on paper towels.  I just purchased toasted and salted pistachios and didn't chop them but placed them on whole.

Top each with a small chunk of cheese and sprinkle with nuts.
 
You can assemble these 1 day ahead and chill them, covered, but they can't be stacked and will take up a lot of refrigerator space.  When calculating appetizers, the total of all served should be 6-8 per person.  

Apples

Pippin for pies and MacIntosh for caramel apples. 

Old Lemon Juice and Clearance Cookies

I bought some expiring sugar cookie dough and searched around for a recipe to use it besides the obvious.  I found this recipe which was perfect.  I used up a few drops of lemon juice that tasted old.  And by old I mean bad. 
Lemon Tarts
From Pillsbury
These dainty little tarts are perfect for a bridal shower or wedding reception. Candy violets or small candy flowers can be used as a garnish. They can be purchased at specialty housewares stores, craft stores, bakeries or from cake decorating mail order catalogs. 
Serves 24 

3 inches Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies 

1 medium lemon 
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine 
2 eggs, beaten 

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 24 small tart pans or mini muffin cups. In each tart pan, place 1 rounded teaspoon dough; gently press in bottom and up side. (Wrap and refrigerate remaining dough for another use.) Place tart pans on cookie sheet.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully remove tart shells from pans to cooling racks.

Grate peel from lemon (about 4 to 5 teaspoons); set aside. Squeeze juice from lemon, adding water if necessary to equal 1/4 cup; place in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar and butter. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat; stir in beaten eggs. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in lemon peel. Cool slightly, about 15 minutes. (Lemon filling can be refrigerated at this point until ready to serve).

To serve, spoon about 1 tablespoon lemon filling into each tart shell. Garnish as desired.  I topped with whipped cream.

Any remaining lemon filling can be stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week and used as a spread on muffins or English muffins.

My tips:  I cooked my filling too long and it got too thick.  Before I spooned it into cups, I warmed it a bit in the microwave (it had been refrigerated) and added water.  This worked fine.  I had trouble getting the cups out and found they must be cooked until light golden brown (like the directions) but I found it took longer than 9 minutes.  They need to be crisp throughout.  Since I used bottled lemon juice I didn't include lemon peel. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Tart 

Calories 90
Calories from Fat 35 
Total Fat 4g Saturated
Fat 2g 
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 50mg
Total Carbohydrate 12g 
Dietary Fiber 0g 
Sugars 10g 
Protein 1g 
Daily Value Vitamin A2% Vitamin C0% Calcium0% Iron 0%




 

Soft, Brown Apples

I almost threw away unwanted apples.  But logic and reason brought me back to my senses.  Phew, that was close.  Apple butter always hides, well, everything. 
Overnight Apple Butter
Source unknown 
Makes about 4 pints

Wash, peel, core and chunk enough apples to fill a four-quart slow- cooker (about 5-6 pounds of apples)

Mix together:
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp cinnamon
 

Spread this over the apples. Let stand with the lid on overnight. Then cook in the slow-cooker for four hours on low. Cool and run through blender or leave chunky. 

Don't peek, add water or even stir until it is finished cooking. If you have let it cool to blend it, reheat to simmer before ladling into jars.  Water bath for 15 minutes.

Some Kind of Jam

And I don't mean difficulty.  Well, maybe I do.  I had ancient sugarized jam in my fridge and I didn't know what kind it was.  I'm thinking either plum or blueberry.  It worked well in this recipe.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Serves a crowd

4 pounds meatballs  (not Italian)
32 oz grape jelly or 1 quart of homemade jam or jelly
24 oz chili sauce

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and mix.  Some people put the sauce on the bottom first, some pour it over the top.  Heat on low for about 4 hours.  

Variation: Use cocktail wieners