On a traditional dark and stormy night, about 40 adults and a dozen children sampled their way through the Summit Neighborhood Association’s fifth annual cookoff a few days before Halloween.
Gathering in Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street, the cooks brought a total of 11 entries, all with apples as the major ingredient. The dishes ranged from ice cream, muffins, cookies and cakes (spicy and cheese) to butter, cookies and turnovers with an apple onion galette thrown in. The audience brought their appetites and savored each offering, voting for their favorite as they went. Adding to the flavorful ambiance was a tasting of oils and vinegars by Olive del Mondo, also a Hope Street merchant.
First prize, a gift certificate to Seven Stars, went to Sandy Kohring for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars,
Second prize, a gift certificate to Stock, a kitchen-supply store on Hope Street, went to Jade Rosendale for Apple Onion Galette.
Third prize, a gift certificate to Olive del Mendo went to Jenna Lafayette and Kimberly Aherne for Apple Butter.
The prize for best costume, a gift certificate to Hope Street emporium Frog & Toad, went to Cadyn Rosendale, 8, for her realistic portrayal of Hermione Granger.
All that was left was to polish off the last crumbs, take a final sip of coffee and head out into the storm – for which the event has been blessed for most of its life. At least there was no snow this year.
The winners and the recipes are below.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
For cream cheese layer
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For apple layer
3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1/3 cup hot caramel ice cream topping
1.Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a well-greased 13×9-in. baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread over crust.
- In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer. In another bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple layer.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into bars. Yield: 3 dozen.
Apple onion galette
pre-made pie crust
1 small butternut squash
salt, pepper, herbs de Provence
1 baking apple
1 medium yellow onion
fresh and dried thyme
Cornmeal for dusting
1/3 cup goat cheese
I adapted this recipe from the Food Network where it was a Stilton cheese with more herbs, less mustard (they used a seeded brown) and no cornmeal. I tried without the cornmeal and it split as I removed it.
-Let the pie crust rest for 45 minutes.
-Meanwhile, split and seed the squash, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and herbs de Provence.
-Roast in oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, keeping oven at temperature for final baking. The squash is easily pierced with a knife, so remove the flesh from the skin and cut into cubes or wedges.
-Slice apple and onion in half and quarters, then each quarter into 4 or 5 wedges.
-Drizzle apples and onions with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 ½ tbsp fresh-cut rosemary and mixture of ½ tbsp fresh and dried thyme, 2 tbsp Dijon, salt and pepper.
-Toss together, then add at most 2 cups of cubed squash and mix again.
-Dust a pizza tray with cornmeal, roll out the pie crust and brush entire surface with Dijon.
-Dump the filling into the center of the crust and arrange, alternating squash, onions and apples, leaving a 1″ or 1.5″ ring around the perimeter.
-Fold the first edge up over the filling, moving counterclockwise and lifting a hand-width portion at a time, overlapping the crust as you spin the pizza tray around. Fix any tears as you go.
-Bake for 55 minutes, but at the 45-minute mark, add the goat cheese across the filling. Resume baking.
-Let cool and slide off pan.
7 medium sized apples (we used McIntosh)
1 cup apple cider
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
- Peel, core and cut apples into small pieces, add to a heavy saucepan
- Add apple cider, bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes
- Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick and apples are tender
- Cool slightly and blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency