Monday, 7 October 2013

Giving Thanks for Family, Friends and the Apple Harvest.

On January 31, l957, the Parliament of Canada proclaimed:
"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed - to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October."

I love that as a Country we have a day set aside to give Thanks for our "bountiful harvest" and we'll be giving thanks for our own bountiful harvest, including an abundance of apples, some of which I turned into dutch treats like Appel Bollen and Appel Taart (Apple Balls and Apple Cake - Recipes included).

Appel Bollen
Appel Taart
Thanksgiving Day is a day to reflect on how much we truly have to be thankful for - families whose love supports and strengthens us and friends who add dimension to our lives by exposing us to new thoughts and ideas. We can be thankful we live in a country at peace providing a safe place to live and our needs met. Not everyone is this fortunate and we need to be reminded every so often not to take these things for granted. What better time than Thanksgiving?

In our family we usually celebrate Holidays by having everyone come to our house, but one year I was unable to host Thanksgiving. This led to one of our sons and daughter-in-law stepping in to host the event at their place and this worked out so well it has become a family tradition - one we all look forward to every year. For us, it's also one more reason to give thanks - that we have children who willingly step in when needed.

Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate the "bountiful harvest" and making the most of what's available and this year that's a lot of apples. Making the most of them means I'll be making applesauce, apple pies and for our Thanksgiving get-together, Apple Bollen and Appel Taart.

The original recipes involved making the pastry for the Apple Bollen and the batter for the Appel Taart from scratch. Since I believe in the KISS method of doing things, the purchased puff pastry and cake mix fit the bill very well, and since the apples are free, the cost is still very reasonable. 
Note: Food Basics has the Puff Pastry on sale for $2.49, saving $0.98, until Oct. 10/13

Appel Bollen - Apple Balls
Puff Pastry Squares 6" x 6"
6 baking apples, peeled and cored 
1/2 cup white or brown sugar mixed with 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon - remove 2 Tbsp. of the mixture and set aside.
1 Tbsp. butter
Optional: 1 Tbsp. golden raisins and/or 1/4 Tbsp.finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) per apple added to the sugar/cinnamon mix.
For the puff pastry, follow the directions on the package - one package makes squares for 4 Appel Bollen. Place one apple on each square, fill the cavity with about 1 Tbsp. of the sugar/cinnamon mix, dot with the butter, then take 1 tsp. of the sugar/cinnamon mixture that was set aside and sprinkle over the apple.
Bring the corners of the pastry up over the apple, completely covering it and forming a ball.
Seal all edges well, then brush with egg wash.
Bake in preheated 375F oven for about 25 minutes, until crust is brown and apples are soft. Best served warm or at room temperature.
Egg wash - Thoroughly blend 2 egg yolks and 1 Tbsp. water.

 Appel Taart - Apple Cake
1 yellow cake mix
2 baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 Tbsp. white sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, mixed together.
Sprinkle apple with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and set aside.
Follow directions on cake mix - pour the mix into a well-buttered 13" x 9" cake pan.
Mix the nuts with the sweetened apple, then sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake according to package directions.
When I was looking for the yellow cake mix, I noticed a Butter Pecan Mix that I think would be really good to try - may do that next time.

Appel Beignets - Apple Doughnuts
These are fantastic but not a take-along food. They have to be eaten right away - actually after letting them cool for 5 minutes or so because the apple inside is really hot as I found out when did my taste test. I included this recipe because they're so good and the stay-at-homes deserve a treat too.
4 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut in thick slices
3 1/4 Tbsp. white sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, mixed together
1 cup all-purpose flour
generous 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 plus 1/4 cup milk
oil for the deep fryer
Spread apples on a flat dish, sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and set aside.
In a medium size bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Make an indent in the mixture, then pour 1 cup of the milk into the indent. Starting from the centre, stir the milk/flour mixture until the dough is smooth, then slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and stir for a minute longer.
Heat the oil in the deep fryer to 350F.
Let the apple slices drain, dip each one into the batter, then place into the fryer basket and fry until brown.
Remove, place on paper towel to drain,
 sprinkle with icing sugar, serve.
Using a sieve to sprinkle the icing sugar works best.

The following recipe, while neither dutch nor apple-based, was given to me by a very special friend, someone I'm thankful to have in my life, so it seemed appropriate to include it at Thanksgiving. It can be served anytime, but I thought it was fitting to call it:
"Thanksgiving Weekend Brunch Recipe".
Oven 400F         9``x13``pan sprayed with Pam
1 lb. boneless, uncooked chicken, cubed
6-8 medium skin on red or white potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Franks red hot sauce
In large bowl, mix everything together. Pour into baking pan and bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. After 60 minutes, poke the potatoes to check if they`re done. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with topping (below), return to oven for another 5-10 minutes.
2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 cup diced green onions
Note: Food Basics also has Cheddar Cheese on sale - 500g block for $3.88

"Happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." - Frederick Koenig


  1. mmmmmm. Wish I was coming to your Thanksgiving dinner! Oh, wait a minute I am!

    1. Because you took the time to comment, I'll save you the biggest piece. See you Sunday.


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