I know I’m a newcomer to the endless grind of school lunches with only two weeks under my belt, but it gives working for the weekend a whole new meaning. And on those beautiful, lunch-box-less days called Saturdays and Sundays, what are we doing this fall? Why not go on a food adventure with our kids?
We live in the city, so I really like getting my kids out into the country when I can. We’ve picked pumpkins, watched maple syrup made and, one of my favourites, gone apple picking.
It’s hardly nature in the raw–you’re driven in an open-back truck into an orchard and then picked up again with your loot. Still, when the weather is fine it’s a lovely way to pass an afternoon, and you come back home with a whack of local fruit.
But what are you going to do with all those apples? On a personal note, we just confirmed that our kids did not inherit my husband’s allergy to raw apples. So my kids are going buck wild with the freedom to pluck an apple from our fruit bowl and just chomp away without having to ask someone to cook it first.
Last year’s trip to the orchard inspired a lot of new recipes and there are few things as wonderful as filling your home with the scent of baking, steaming or bubbling apples. It’s almost as good as not having to make a packed lunch.
These Apple Upside Down Cornmeal Cakes the holy grail of baking – dead easy yet impressive.
Apple upside-down cornmeal cakes
(Makes 6 cakes)
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (plus butter for muffin tins)?
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch dice?
1/3 cup brown sugar?
1 tsp lemon juice?
1/2 cup almonds, chopped?
3/4 cup flour?
1/2 cup cornmeal?
1/3 cup sugar?
2 tsp baking powder?
1/4 tsp salt?
3/4 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 C.
2. Lightly butter the muffin tins.
3. In a large sauté pan, melt 2 Tbsp of butter then toss in your apples, lemon juice and brown sugar. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and the apples are coated. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. The butter and sugar will reduce into a glaze and the apples will become just tender. Stir in the chopped nuts. Evenly distribute the apple mixture into the bottom of the muffin tins. You don’t want it to fill each cup more than one third full.
4. Toss your flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until they’re all well mixed. Add the last 4 Tbsps of cold butter and use your fingers to pinch the pieces of butter. Keep tossing into the flour mixture until you have a coarse meal.
5. Whisk together the egg and milk. Pour the egg and milk into flour and cornmeal mixture and stir until it is well combined. Pour your batter over the apples. Leave a tiny bit of space between the batter and the top of the tin or it will puff over as it cooks. Pop in a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, the cornmeal will make the batter turn dark very quickly.
6. Allow the cakes to cool a bit in the muffin tin. Then use a butter knife to run around the edges of each cake. Place a plate on top of the cakes in the muffin tin then invert the whole thing. Gently pull the muffin tin off. If a bit of apple is stuck in the tin just spoon it out and press it back onto each cake. Serve plain or with a bit of whipped cream.
More apple recipes:
Why not fire up their mornings with this Apple Ginger Shake?
Make a double batch of this amazing Squash and Apple Soup and you’ll have lots to fill thermoses with all week.