I was always one of those kids who demanded the crusts cut off her sandwich bread because I just wanted to get to the good stuff. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve hardly changed. I still eat pumpkin pies from the inside out, leave my pizza crusts behind and eat the center out of the loaves of fresh Italian bread every Sunday at my mother’s house.
Every year I love to fill my kitchen (and my mouth) with fresh homemade pies from apple to pumpkin. This year I thought I’d change things up a bit and make those same delicious desserts sans crust. The result? A predictable amount of dust collecting in my pie pans!
Nothing beats a hot dinner waiting for you when you come in from a crisp fall day. My husband and I love to dig in to a juicy pork loin seasoned with lots of garlic, fresh rosemary and fennel. And of course, what goes better with pork than a big scoop of chunky homemade applesauce fresh from the oven? This recipe for homemade applesauce is like eating the best part of apple pie. Make a big batch of this sauce and it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Pack it for the kids’ lunches, serve as an after school snack, side dish or dessert. The best part about eating this homemade apple sauce is that it’s cooked right at home without the addition of any artificial ingredients you find in stores. After one mouthful, you’ll never go jarred again!
Homemade Apple Sauce
3lbs McIntosh Apples or Winesap Apples
3lbs Granny Smith
2 oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ c. brown sugar
4 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice.
Pour the apples, reserved apple peel, and juice into a non-reactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot.
Bake for 1 hour, or until all the apples are soft. Remove and discard the red apple peel.
Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Ok, I do have a penchant for the classics and Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. I could even forgo the turkey, but I need my pumpkin pie. However, if you’re willing to try something new, take it from a traditionalist and definitely go for this pumpkin mousse. If you’re in charge of bringing dessert this year to your Aunt’s house (as I am), this dessert is a great choice to bring (as I will). It’s smooth, creamy and will be gone in minutes. Who needs the crust when you can dive into a sea of luscious pumpkin? Top with crushed ginger snaps and edge the bowl with whipped cream (using a pastry bag and star tip) or create parfaits by alternating pumpkin mousse, crushed ginger snaps and homemade whipped cream into wine glasses or tall glasses.
Can be doubled or tripled based on quantity serving
¼ c. cold water*
1 packet unflavored gelatin powder
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ c. granulated sugar
½ brown sugar
2 extra large egg yolks
2 tsp grated orange zest
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Pour gelatin into a separate small bowl with the water and let sit for 10 minutes to soften.
Over a double-boiler whisk together pumpkins, sugars, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Put eggs yolks in separate small bowl. Add a ladle full of pumpkin mixture to egg yolks to temper the eggs. Whisk well and add to the rest of pumpkin mixture over double-boiler. Add gelatin and whisk well.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and vanilla on high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture one cup at a time until all is completely blended.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. Present as desired.
*instead of water, add an extra kick by substituting with dark rum!