The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Thinking Out Loud

by Natalie (Dowell) Schmitt

The Apple of My Heart

-Monday, Sept. 12, 2016 As kids head back to school, I'm sure there are bright red apples appearing on the teacher's desk as students try to get off on a good foot for the coming year.

I always think of apples and school time. When I was old enough to start school, my grandparents planted three apple trees for each of the girls and a peach tree for my brother. We dug holes on the east side of the garden, right next to the road.

As the tree grew, the school bus driver started picking us up next to the trees so we could bring him an apple or two for the road.

I can still see the juice dribbling down his chin as he bit into a ripe Jonathan apple and using the back of his hand and the cuff of his sleeve to dry his face.

Fifty years later, the school bus doesn't stop by the apple trees, but my Jonathan tree and Nancy's Red Delicious continue to produce apples for eating, baking and cider making.

Every fall, we pull out the cider press my great-great-grandparents used when they settled the farm.

Over the years, we discovered the best apple cider came from a combination of the Jonathan and Red Delicious apples.

The amber colored juice tastes just like the first bite of ripe apples. If you don't have a cider press, here is a quick way to make fresh apple juice. I even use the bruised apples in this recipe.

Indoor Apple Cider

5 qt. apples cut up

(skins and all)

3 tsp. cream of tarter

4 qt. boiling water

Fill large crock or a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket with apple chunks. Sprinkle tarter on top of apples. Pour water on top. Cover. Let stand for 24 hours.

Drain juice into large pot.

Add: 2 cups sugar and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Pour into hot jars to process for canning or into a pitcher to drink after it cools.

If If you hate to make pie crust, but love apple pie, here is your new favorite recipe. Jill Gablenz shared this with me years ago, before I finally figured out how to make pie crusts.

Swedish Apple Pie

3 cups peeled and sliced apples (3 or 4 medium apples) 2 T. Brown Sugar (I use more)

1 tsp. cinnamon (I use more)

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup flour

1 egg

Pinch of salt.

Fill an 8x8 pan or 6x10 pan 2/3 full of apples.

Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over apples.

Mix melted butter, sugar, flour, egg and salt together. (Batter will be sticky)

Spread over apples.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees. I usually end up baking it on the long side.

I found this recipe in a magazine years ago. The ink on my recipe card is starting to fade, but I can still see the blue star marking it as a favorite recipe.

Great dessert for a special meal or just because you love someone special.

Epicurean Apple Cobbler

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup brandy

3 cups peeled and sliced apples

Sift together dry ingredients, set aside. In another bowl, beat together eggs and 1 cup sugar. Add butter and milk. Add flour mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan.

SimSimmer brandy and remaining sugar (1/2 cup) for 3 to 4 minutes. Add apple slices. Mix. Pour hot apple mixture over batter. Bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

It isn't harvest season without raw apple cake. I love this recipe because I don't have to peel apples. I will sometimes make two cakes at once, one to frost and the other to eat on the run. Both will be gone in less than 24 hours. This is a recipe from a dear family friend back home. Tried and true .

Apple Walnut Cake (Gladys Bigger)

1 2/3 cup sugar 2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

2 tsp. soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

4 cups chopped, unpeeled apples

1 cup chopped walnuts


6 oz. softened cream cheese

3 Tbsp. softened butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs. Add oil and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in apples and walnuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool.

FroFrosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar until the frosting has reached desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake. Garnish with a few extra walnuts. (Glady's secret ingredient was using black walnuts from the tree in their yard.)