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apple of my eye

September 25, 2006

After a busy week, I decided that what I needed most was to bake away my troubles. I don’t know if it quite worked but it was a relaxing few hours. I went to the Union Square greenmarket on Friday afternoon and picked up a very large amount of apples, all kinds of apples, picked in the few days before Friday, all beautiful, shiny, and $1/pound! I was in heaven. I bought a bunch for baking (tart ones are best) and a bunch for munching on (this time I bought Macouns and Empires). For baking, I bought a mix of Cortlands and Jonathans. I baked an apple crisp, the recipe for which I will not post because you can find a recipe for apple crisp everywhere you look. My apple crisp had a topping made of brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and Willow Run soy margarine. Next time, I think I will try adding pecans and/or walnuts to add some extra crunch.

I also made an apple-pecan quickbread, which was much more exciting (and tastier, in my opinion) than the crisp. It makes an excellent breakfast treat for lazy weekends (or for a quick breakfast on your way to synagogue, as the case may be). The recipe is from epicurious (originally from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook) and can be found here or below. As instructed by my fellow epicurious readers, I added some cinnamon and nutmeg for some extra flavor (I also put in a pinch of ginger). I shredded the apples instead of chopping them, which gave the bread a smoother texture. I also substituted apple cider for the OJ, though I assume either of those or apple juice would suffice. Next time, I will probably add more apples than what the recipe called for, and maybe try adding some raisins. Also, it could’ve used more pecans than it called for. Here’s the original recipe – my additions/substitutions are in parenthesis.

Apple-Pecan Quick Bread (from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup orange juice (apple cider)
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped golden Delicious apples (Cortlands)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
(1 tsp. cinnamon)
(1/4 tsp. nutmeg)
(1/4 tsp. ginger)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt (and the spices), making a well in the center. Set aside. Stir in the liquid ingredients until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Gently stir in the apples and the pecans. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake.

Makes 1 loaf.

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