I’ve only recently gotten excited when baking sweets. Yes, I’ve made pies and cakes in the past but always with a little trepidation. Now? I LOVE getting in the kitchen and cranking the oven up for what’s next. The positive change in my kitchen (and in me) happened for a number of reasons. I started trusting baking ratios. I started recognizing that simple can, indeed, create amazing and rich flavors. And of course, I saw how much friends, family, and coworkers enjoyed the comfort of a morning pastry or evening slice of cake.
Another big change? Making sure the ingredients fit what I’m trying to make. The most vivid example of this in my kitchen has been my newfound love of the apple. Actually, my newfound love of the fact that there are so many types of apples. Anyone who has ever eaten an apple knows there are many different types. Different colors, textures, sizes, and flavors. Sweet apples. Sour or tart apples. Subtle apples. Apples packed full of flavor. I found this hard to believe and you may as well, but did you know there are 7,500 different types of apples on earth and more than 40 grown right here in Canada? Wow, so many possibilities.
Of course, you’re unlikely to find that many varieties at any given time in your nearby market. Thankfully, when I visited Save-On-Foods earlier, I found a wide range of fresh apples to whet my baking appetite. But before we get to this unique and tasty treat, a few awesome apple facts to help propel your own baking forward.
First, when choosing apples for baking it is important to think about the texture. Some apples, like Golden Delicious and Fuji apples, are great for baking because they hold their shape and flavor well even after being subject to high heat. Conversely, apples like Gala apples are great for pressing into cider or putting in a salad because of their sweet, mild flavor. But when baked they’ll lose their firmness and shape.
Second, pairing different apples while baking can add even more flavors to your baking dish. Try combos like McIntosh with Golden Delicious to create more exciting flavor profiles. That said, McIntosh will break down a bit during the baking process so using it alone isn’t the best idea.
Finally, before baking it’s important to decide if you want extra sweet or something with a little bit of a tart kick. Sweet apples like Honeycrisp apples can enhance the other sugars in a pie or cake whereas an apple like a Macoun can offer a slightly tart finish to create more balance. The key is to try different things that fit your taste to make something great. An apple pie isn’t just an apple pie; because of the variety of apple choices, you can literally never make an apple pie the same way twice!
Here’s one of my favorite apple recipes that you should try as well. I used Pink Lady apples for a nice apple flavor without too much sugar. You should feel free to try whatever apples you like until you find the one that you like best. Either way, I hope you enjoy and have a happy and safe Holiday season!
Apple Dutch Babies
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large pink lady apple peeled and sliced to approx. ¼ inch thick
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter – divided
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- In a medium skillet on medium heat add 2 tablespoons butter, sliced apple, brown sugar, and ½ the cinnamon. Cook until apple is soft. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl add flour, milk, eggs, vanilla, powdered sugar, and remaining cinnamon. Mix until it forms a loose batter. Set aside.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet (10 inches) in the oven until hot. Carefully remove and add the remaining two tablespoons of butter and place back in the oven until butter is melted. Remove and ensure sides are coated in butter. Add soften apples in the center of the pan and pour batter over top. Bake in the oven until puffed up and golden brown (about 15 minutes).
- Remove from heat and serve with your favorite toppings.
About The Author
Thea Van Herwaarden is a Vancouver-based food blogger and on-air talent known worldwide. She has appeared on both Canadian and American television, acted as a national campaign spokesperson for major lifestyle chains, and serves currently as a brand ambassador for a wide range of food and home brands. In 2017, her skills in the kitchen landed her in the “Top 2” spot on Master Chef Canada. Following that, her version of a nduja ricotta tortellini made it on the menu of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Jamie Italian. Thea has since then launched her own brand, Théasty, where she showcases global tastes and travel, national and international restaurants and recipes, as well as lifestyle tips. All of this is shared with her loyal 19K followers on Instagram, and on her blog.