Fall for Apples this Autumn
By Alexandra Hedin | Photos by Jeff Hobson
When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to go to my grandparents’ house and press apples into cider. It was the highlight of our weekend. The apple juice always tasted 100 times better than anything we could buy at the store. I wanted to give that same experience to my children so we gathered apples from our friend’s orchard and went to work grinding and pressing them into juice. The heady aroma of the cider instantly evokes fall and all of the nostalgic memories of bonfires, cozy blankets and back-to-school. Pressing bushels of apples is a lot of fun, but when you’re done, you might wonder what to do with gallons of apple cider. That’s what happened to me, so I created three recipes that perfectly capture the fall season and are heavily imbued with our favorite fall ingredient — fresh apple cider.
- Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
- Apple Cider Cake
- Spiked Apple Cider
- Many grocers and farmers markets sell freshly-pressed apple cider.
- U-pick apple orchards are abundant in Eastern Washington. Make a day trip of it, press cider onsite and even pick some pumpkins toward the end of September into October.
- You can pasteurize fresh juice by heating it to 160 degrees for a few minutes to kill possible bacteria that could make you sick. Health officials recommend it. Learn more at foodsafety.wsu.edu.
Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
- 2 pounds pork shoulder
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 cups apple cider, divided
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 spring rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- Canola oil
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour ¼ inch of oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven (leaving the lid off) and set over a medium heat stove. Place flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dredge meat pieces through flour and place in hot oil. Be careful of splatters. Brown meat on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.
- Pour off excess oil so only two tablespoons remain in the bottom of the pan. Put onions and fennel into the pan and sprinkle remaining dredging flour over the top. Stir gently. When flour has been absorbed by the liquid, deglaze the pan with one cup apple cider. Stir once to ensure all liquid is evenly distributed. Let cider reduce to a thick gravy. Add remaining cider and broth and bring to a boil. Drop rosemary into the pan.
- Very carefully, place reserved meat on top of the cooked apples being sure to keep the browned edges intact. Place the lid on the pan and put the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for two hours.
- Shred meat gently with two forks. Serve hot over cooked egg noodles.
Apple Cider Cake
- 2 cups cider
- 2 cups butter
- 4 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly dust with flour the bottom of three 8 inch round pans.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter in apple cider. Remove from heat when butter is melted. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until fully combined. Incorporate sour cream and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients one cup at a time alternating with one cup of cider after each addition until all dry ingredients and cider is incorporated.
- Divide batter among three pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool completely then frost.
- Serve with cheddar cheese ice cream.
- 4 ounces sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Beat together sour cream and cream cheese until totally mixed. Add sugar one cup at a time allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next.
Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon flake salt
- Fill a bowl with ice and water and set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk egg yolks and salt and set next to the ice water bath.
- In a 3 quart saucepan bring cream, milk and sugar to a low boil over medium heat. As soon as the mixture reaches a bubble, remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup of hot milk into yolks one ounce at a time, whisking constantly. When the cup has been added, pour remaining milk mixture into yolks and whisk. Add cheese and incorporate completely.
- Place bowl of ice cream base into the ice bath bowl to cool the base down quickly. When cool to the touch, cover the ice cream base with plastic wrap so the plastic touches the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour until completely cooled.
- Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to your makers instructions — about 25 minutes. Remove ice cream and chill four hours before serving.