Today’s post comes from Elissa Plastino, brand manager and self-proclaimed cooking klutz! You can follow her daily adventures in life on Twitter @eplastino.
I love the fall. In addition to the weather in St. Louis finally cooling down to a bearable temperature (on most days, anyway), the trees change color, cool nights bring the smell of campfires, and best of all, it’s time to pick apples!
Since moving to St. Louis a little over five years ago, and having two kids since then, we’ve tried to start a family tradition of visiting local orchards and picking apples at least a couple of times between late August and the end of October. This lets us get out and enjoy the sunshine, spend some quality time with the kids, and taste some “Delicious” apples (pun intended) direct from the tree.
Once we pick all that we can carry (which is usually way more than we would ever eat), and the kids are sticky with apple juice that has dripped from their chins onto their hands and clothes, we head home to enjoy our harvest.
If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I’m an admitted “cooking klutz” and can’t boil an egg without getting directions from Google first. Honest. When it comes to turning our fresh apples into a yummy dessert, I normally stick to a packaged apple crisp recipe that only requires me to cut some apples and melt butter. But, for this post, I wanted to offer readers something a bit more creative, so I reached out to Chef Jason Martin at Isle of Capri Casino Hotel –Boonville and asked him for an apple recipe.
Chef Jason quickly obliged and gave me this recipe for Apple Pecan Crisp, a recipe that he recently used in a cooking demonstration for guests.
Apple Pecan Crisp
1 cup Missouri Pecans (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 pounds Missouri Apples–peeled, quartered, cored and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 pint vanilla ice cream
- Preheat the oven to 350° Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let the nuts cool; then coarsely chop them. Leave the oven on.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and stir in the toasted pecans and oats.
- Generously butter 6 individual baking dishes; they should be about 6 inches wide and 1 inch deep. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar. Divide the apple mixture among the prepared baking dishes and cover with the topping. Set the dishes on a large baking sheet and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced and the topping is toasted. Serve warm with the ice cream.
One last thing. While researching for this post, I found some interesting Missouri Apple Facts from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri.
Did you know?
- The total U.S. production of apples averages about 200,000,000 bushels, which is about 100 apples per person. About 40% of the apple crop is used for processing.
- About 46% of the apples grown are Jonathan , 32% Red Delicious, 10% are Golden Delicious, 5% are Gala apples, and the other 7% are other cultivars such as Rome, Empire, Fuji, Winesap, and Paula Red.
- Missouri has about 3,000 acres of bearing apple trees that produce an annual crop of 1 million bushels of apples.
- Jonathan is the leading Missouri variety apple. The Jonathan apple has been grown for over 150 years in Missouri! It cooks, bakes, and fits easily in lunch sacks for everyday eating.
What is your favorite dessert to cook using fresh apples?