Category Archives: Fruit

Ann’s Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling

Ann's Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling @ NancyC

Back in August, my friend Ann and her husband Steve were busy picking apples from their very own apple tree. And this year it produced quite a number of apples! Ann told me about an easy apple pie filling she was making with these apples. It’s made in a slow cooker, and after it’s done cooking and cooling, you simply put the mixture in a freezer bag, freeze it, and it’s ready for whenever you’re wanting to make an apple pie with your favorite crust, whether it’s homemade or ready-made. Or you can use it to make an apple crisp or cobbler.

Ann gave me the recipe, along with lots and lots of apples from her tree, so I could try it out. This pie filling is so good! After making my first batch, I ate some of it just as it was and decided, in addition to pie filling, it would also be great as a warm topping for pancakes, french toast, yogurt (top vanilla or plain yogurt and some granola with it for a great breakfast or snack), and even as a topping for ice cream. It also reminds me of those fried apples at Cracker Barrel–so I think it could work great served as a fruity side dish!

An added bonus it that this apple pie filling smells so wonderful as it’s cooking, especially after the first few hours–the apples, cinnamon, and other spices will give your kitchen a wonderful autumn aroma!

ANN’S SLOW COOKER APPLE PIE FILLING by Ann W.

Makes one 9″ deep dish pie (or one 9″ square apple crisp or cobbler)

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples

In slow cooker, put 2 cups of hot water and whisk in 1/2 cup of cornstarch; whisk together until there are no lumps.

Add in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Whisk all ingredients together; then add the sliced apples, mixing everything together.

Cook on low for 4 hours, stirring occasionally, then cool completely. After mixture cools, put in a gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer. Just take out when needed, thaw, and pour into a 9″ deep dish pie shell and bake!

Follow baking instructions from your favorite pie recipe, or if you don’t have one, you can bake at 375˚F for 50 to 60 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. If it looks like there’s too much filling for the size of your pan, just use what you need–you can always save the rest of the filling to use as a topping.

This is the first time I’ve made my own apple pie filling, so I feel like I’ve really accomplished something! 🙂 Have you ever made it?

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Ginger-Pear Muffins with Crumb Topping

Ginger-Pear Muffins with Crumb Topping @ NancyCreative.com

Now that it feels like autumn is in the air, I thought I’d make some muffins with one of my favorite autumn fruits–fresh pears! A friend and I did some pear-picking, and I picked enough to make these muffins. If you like moist muffins filled with lots of small chunks of fresh fruit and topped with a sweet crumb topping, then these muffins are for you! The mild gingery flavor is just right and goes so well with the pears.

These muffins taste great warm or cooled. Great for an autumn breakfast or brunch. Or snack or dessert…let’s just say they are great anytime you want a good, moist, sweet muffin. With a nice hot cup of coffee or tea!

GINGER-PEAR MUFFINS WITH CRUMB TOPPING by NancyC

Makes about 15 regular-size muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped pears, peeled or unpeeled  (about 2 large or 3 medium pears)

FOR CRUMB TOPPING:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners; set aside.

Make the Crumb Topping: mix flour, light brown sugar, and ground ginger in a medium-size bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture becomes crumbly; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside.

In medium-size bowl, mix egg, olive oil, Greek yogurt, milk, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in the chopped pears, blending evenly into the batter.

Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle crumb topping over the muffins, then bake at 350˚F for 19-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let muffins cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

I over-filled some of my muffin cups a little with batter, closer to 3/4 full, and when you do that, the batter will overflow a little onto your muffin pan around the edges. Which isn’t a big deal if you’re using a non-stick pan–they still come out pretty easily. But if you’re using a regular pan, you’ll want to make sure you just fill the muffin cups 2/3 full of batter.

Do you like pears and baking with pears? What’s your favorite pear recipe?

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Blackberry Honey Lemonade

BlackberryHoneyLemonade@NancyCreative.com

Drinking lemonade in the summertime is always a treat, and it’s always a nice change of pace to try different lemonade flavors. I’ve made Strawberry Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade before, so I thought I’d try making some Blackberry Lemonade. And I wanted to sweeten it with honey instead of sugar to make it a little healthier. I really like the way this tastes! It has a rich fruity flavor from the blackberries, but it’s very lemony, too. This is the perfect thing to drink on a hot summer day, as you’re sitting in a nice shady area outside…with your feet propped up…maybe even reading a good book!

BLACKBERRY HONEY LEMONADE by NancyC

Makes about 4-6 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 4 cups cold water, divided
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (or use 1 cup, if you want it really lemony)
  • 2 lemons, sliced (use some for stirring into lemonade and some for garnish)

In a blender, add berries and 1 cup of the water and blend about 1 to 2 minutes, until berries are pureed. Strain the juicy part of the mixture into a small bowl with a wire mesh strainer, discarding the solids and seeds.

Heat a second cup of water with the honey in a small saucepan (or microwave in a microwave-safe container), bringing it to a boil; remove from heat and stir mixture until honey is dissolved in the water.

In a large pitcher (about an 8-cup size), pour remaining 2 cups of water, along with the lemon juice, the honey/water mixture, and the juicy blackberry mixture; stir everything well.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled. When ready to serve, add lemon slices to pitcher (save slices as a garnish for the serving glasses) and stir mixture to ensure all ingredients are well-blended. Serve over ice and garnish each glass with a lemon slice.

Of course there’s always good ol’ Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, too…I like them all! Do you have a favorite lemonade recipe?

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Summer Fruit Salad

SummerFruitSalad@NancyCreative.com

One of the things I love best about summer is all the fresh fruit of the season, especially berries of all kinds. And this is a great fruit salad to make in the summertime because it has blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries…mixed in with lots of other delicious, colorful fruit! Berry season is pretty much over where I live, but the berries are still available at the grocery store. Some of you may still be at the tail end of berry season–lucky you!

This salad also has some canned pineapple chunks and it’s sweetened with the pineapple juice from the can. So there’s no extra sugar, and I think the sweetness is just right. I love all the colors in this salad–it’s so bright and summery–and I wanted to post it before summer comes to an end!

SUMMER FRUIT SALAD by NancyC

Makes 10 servings

  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup), undrained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (you can use 2 cups blueberries if you don’t have blackberries)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sliced or halved fresh strawberries  (you can use 2 cups fresh strawberries if you don’t have raspberries)
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 2 medium size bananas, sliced

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, tossing to coat all the fruit with the pineapple juice. Serve immediately.

If you need to make this ahead of time, combine the pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, and grapes, and refrigerate. When it’s close to serving time, add the berries and bananas; gently toss all the fruit and serve.

Note: If you’re using blackberries in this salad, don’t use an enamelware bowl to serve it in–I found from past experience that blackberries can stain enamelware! 

There’s still about three weeks of summer left, but we’ve already had some fall-like days. I’m always sad to see summer end, since it’s my favorite season. Is it still feeling like summer where you live?

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Blackberry Crumb Coffee Cake

Blackberry Crumb Coffee Cake@NancyCreative.com

Crumb-topped coffee cakes are my favorite kind. That’s why I wanted to try this recipe–it’s actually a blueberry coffee cake recipe, but I substituted the blackberries I had recently picked. I doubled the original recipe so I could make it in a 9 x 13″ pan, but when it came to the topping, I doubled it twice because the original topping amounts seemed a little small. I’m glad I did that, because the topping ended up being just right–not too heavy and not too light.

The top of this crumble-covered coffee cake is a little bumpy, just so you know what to expect, and inside it’s moistened by the juicy blackberries and small chunks of cream cheese that are stirred into the batter. It’s great for a summer breakfast or brunch and a great way to use your blackberries!

BLACKBERRY CRUMB COFFEE CAKE by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half (light cream)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (or you can substitute blueberries)
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, cut into small cubes (measure from an 8-ounce block, or use two 3-0unce packages)

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs; set aside.

In medium size bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed butter mixture alternately with Half & Half and milk.

In another medium size bowl, toss blackberries with remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Stir the blackberries and cubes of cream cheese into batter (batter will be thick). Spoon batter into prepared 9 x 13″ baking pan.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375˚F for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into squares and serve.

Note: If using frozen blackberries (or blueberries), use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

Blackberry Crumb Coffee Cake II @ NancyCreative.com

Fresh blackberries taste great in so many things! I still have a few more blackberry recipes I’ll be posting soon! Have you tried any good blackberry recipes this summer?

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