Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rich Roasted Pie Filling

Richly spiced, roasted apple pie filling. Where's my spoon?

Roasted Apple Pie Filling

When was the last time you dug into an apple pie filling that tasted great, no crust required? When I was a kid, Northern Spy apples were as prevalent in the orchards as the day was long, and when we went picking we were guaranteed at least two huge bagfuls of giant, beautiful fruit. Spies needed no adornment in my mom's pies, save for an occasional sprinkle of cinnamon. They were perfect on their own.

These days, spies are a rarity, and the other suggested substitutes simply aren't as good. The last pie my mom made wound up with a filling of relatively bland, over-softened apples that shrunk down so much it looked like there was hardly any at all. I've tried the old tactics of sauteeing the apples before adding them, etc, but still the results aren't what I was going for.

Then I started roasting them. It started as a fairly quick way to add flavourful fruit to oatmeal, and as I continued to tweak and add layers of flavour I eventually wound up with a pan of delightfully rich-tasting, ever so slightly gooey apples perfect for topping a dessert. In fact, I would have titled this recipe a "dessert sauce" instead of a "pie filling", except that when I gave it out as gifts, the recipients by and large made pies with it - the texture is reminiscent of canned pie filling, although the taste is not as sweet and definitely more multifaceted than commercial products. Us, though - we dug into a jar (or three) and spooned it over yogurt, warmed it up and dolloped it on ice cream (rum raisin ice cream is perfect with this) and even used it in lieu of syrup on Sunday morning pancakes. For Home Ec this year, I'm thinking of making a batch to turn into "apple pie rolls" - essentially stuffed, rolled up pieces of bread baked enchilada-style - or to use over French toast.

Rich Roasted Pie Filling
Adapted from here and here
Makes ~ 3 ½ cups, enough for one (regular depth) 9” pie
2 large (or 3 medium) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp ClearJel® (cooking starch used for preserving - you cannot can with traditional cornstarch or tapioca starch for safety reasons)
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch smoked salt (I've been using applewood smoked salt lately and love it, but hickory is more common)
⅔ cup unsweetened apple juice (apple cider is better but hard to find year round)
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a baking dish,combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar and butter.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, until the apples are tender but still hold their shape. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot, whisk together the granulated sugar, ClearJel®, spices and salt.
  5. Whisk in apple juice and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the honey and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  7. Cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
  8. Fold in the apple and heat through.
  9. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 98.2
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 3.9 mg
Sodium: 2.4 mg
Total Carbs: 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 0.2 g