The Chef’s Whim

September 2011

As summer ends and fall enters, apples and pears are reaching the peak and we become inundated with these most popular fruits. Apples and pears remind me of going to my Aunt and Uncles home as a boy, where there was a large orchard located next to their home and we could pick all we could carry.

Apple and pear butter are now being used on the tavern menu. Butters have always been popular on pancakes and waffles, but have other uses such as sandwiches and wraps as well as sauces for entrees. Fruit butters combine with all poultry, ham and pork as well as vegetables; imagine carrots with apple butter or asparagus with pear butter or try that boring baked winter squash with apple/pear butter and a touch of honey.

Apple Butter

Core, slice and chop apples until you have 2 quarts.

Add 1 quart of cider or water and cook until soft.

Press through a fine sieve or use a food mill.

Place the sieved pulp in a saucepot and heat on high for 5 minutes while stirring

Reduce the heat and add ¾ pound of sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of allspice and a pinch of clove.

Cook until thick, reducing the heat to avoid spattering and stir often.

When you drop a teaspoon of product on a plate it should mound and there should not be a ring of liquid around the apple butter, if there is it needs to cook longer.

Wash a canning jar, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Fill with apple butter while the jar is warm and seal.

Option – a ¼ teaspoon of cardamom can be added.

Apple-Pear Upside-Down Cake

Peel, core and slice 2 granny smith or golden delicious apples and 1 pear.

Heat ¼ cup butter and add 1 cup brown sugar, add half the apples and pears and cook until starting to brown, add the rest of the fruit and put in a buttered 9" cake pan.

Combine 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour, ½ teaspoon of salt and 3 teaspoons of baking powder.

Cream1/3 cup shortening and 1/3 cup sugar and beat for 6 minutes.

Add 2 beaten eggs, one at a time, add ½ teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of ginger and 1 tablespoon of sour cream.

Alternate the flour mixture with 2/3 cup of water, mixing just enough to combine.

Pour batter over the fruit in the pan and bake at 350 for 40-42 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake rest on a rack for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge and turn out. Wait 45 to 60 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.