Apple Love!

If you know about Adam and Eve, you know of the significance of the apple tree in the Garden of Eden!  Just how long ago was that?

Food historians agree that apples grew in prehistoric times and that they were cultivated from a very early time.  Wild apples grew long, long ago.   Carbonized apples dating to 6500 BC have been found in Anatolia.  Those remnants appear to have been dried for eating.  Historians know that apples were grown in Mesopotamia and in Egypt.  Ramesses II had apple trees planted in his gardens in the 13th Century BC. 

According to C. Anne Wilson’s Food and Drink in Britain, Romans introduced apple tree to England.  The wealthy had harvested apples spread out in rows in a ventilated loft in order to store them.  They cut the apples with a bone knife, so the fruit wouldn’t be stained by metal knives.  By Tudor times in England, there were several varieties of apples and they were widely used in pies and tarts.

Peregrine White was the first child of English parents born in America’s Mayflower settlement as the ship still sat in the harbor.  When he was 28 years old, he planted an apple orchard, but there were already many growing in the area.  A hundred fifty years later, our beloved Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) was growing apples.  We believe he traveled through Pennsylvania, Ohio and parts of Indiana to teach others how to start their own orchards.

Who doesn’t love apple pie?  It is an American staple.  Apple Pie originated in England and there is a written recipe dated 1381, which includes apples, figs, raisins, pears … all in a pastry shell.  It does not include sugar.

Then there is a Dutch Apple Pie that dates to the 1600s in the Netherlands.  In addition to the apples, it includes lemon and cinnamon and sometimes raisins and icing on the top of the crust.

In the 1880s, hotel owner Stephanie Tatin created Tarte Tatin in France.    A typical apple pie became something very special.  Halved apples were caramelized atop a puff pastry.

During my childhood, apple pies and apple cobblers were very much a part of our autumn menu!  Those are not what I most fondly remember, though.  My mother made two things that I make over and over again.  Mother’s Fresh Apple Cake was a family favorite when we were kids and it remains one of my favorites. 

When mother lost her cognizant abilities because of Alzheimer’s, I continued to make her Red Hot Candied Apples for my daddy.  Lots of families have memories of those at Christmastime, but in our household, we started making them in September and continued until the apples ran out!  These are probably my favorite apple treat that my mama made!

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a recipe for this ‘candied apples’, but I sure know how to make them!  Start with a peck of your favorite apples.  Peel, core and quarter the apples.  Put the apples in a big pot with about 2 inches of water and bring that water to a boil.  There is no need to totally cover the apples.  Boil your pot for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn it to a simmer for another couple of minutes.  Put a lid on the pot and remove it from the burner. 

To flavor the apples with candy red hot
s, go back to the end of the boil stage and pour 6 to 12 ounces of the candies into the apples.  You can add a cup of sugar at this point, but I don’t.  As the apples simmer for the next couple minutes, the candy will dissolve, and the apples will turn red!  They are delicious.

To flavor the apples with a syrup, (like the bottled Savannah syrups), pour 1 to 2 cups of the syrup into the simmering pot just before the end of cooking.  The more flavor you want, the more syrup you add.  You can also use any brand of flavored syrups for coffee in this recipe!  This flavor was praline!

The apples are delicious warm or at room temperature but refrigerate them and eat them for several days.

Mother’s Fresh Apple Cake

2 eggs
1 cup of canola oil 
1 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all these ingredients together and add 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of nutmeg, a teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of salt.

Blend all this together to make a very thick batter.  Now, add 4 cups of peeled, cored and chopped apples and 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.   Pour the thick batter into a 13 x 9 baking dish or your favorite shaped pan.  Use wet fingers to push the batter down so it is even.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes.

You can cut this recipe in half and bake in an 8 x 8 inch pan.  You can bake the small version in an air fryer in a small springform pan.  These small versions take about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

This cake is perfect for snacking.  It is beautiful baked in a shaped Bundt pan and served with a topping of caramel sauce and ice cream.   A little whipped cream on a square from a sheet cake is wonderful … and a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar is great. 


If you'd like to see an apple tablescape

Click Right Here!

This post is part of my 2020 Vintage Vegetable project.  Of course, this is part of the “other old stuff” category!  I’ll be sharing with a couple blog parties, so make sure you visit the list on my sidebar. 

Autumn has arrived in my corner of the university and I’m thrilled to have a reason to bake and enjoy my love for apples!

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