Apples pumpkins pudding and pie.
Love you, pumpkin, apple of my eye.
I’m sitting here looking out my office window, sunlight glimmering through gold and russet leaves, with a mug of warm apple cider and a fresh-from-the-oven Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffin. I finally treated myself to a copy of Amy Traverso’s, The Apple Lovers Cookbook (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011). I’d been hearing such great things about it ever since it was released last year and decided it would be a nice way to celebrate my favorite season.
These muffins seemed like the perfect first recipe for me to try — apples and pumpkins represent the essence of Fall, after all. (I just made a rhyme, did you see that?) Though I’ve baked quite a few pumpkin pies and any number of apple desserts (pies, crumbles, crisps, muffins, cakes), I’d never actually combined pumpkin and apple in the same recipe before. What could be cozier than having Autumn all wrapped up in one cozy, take-it-anywhere muffin?
Just in case you’re not familiar with Amy’s book, it’s easily the most comprehensive, accessible apple companion out there. Not only do you get 100 original recipes, but also a fabulous Apple Primer with in-depth profiles of 59 apple varieties — notes on appearance, taste, texture, as well as history, availability, and best use. The varieties are classified as firm-tart, firm-sweet, tender-tart and tender-sweet, and a cool Cheat Sheet allows you to determine which varieties would be best for each recipe.
Other things I love about this book:
- Clean, fresh uncluttered format with color photos of most recipes
- Gorgeous apple profile photos remind you just how much beauty is contained in each single, unadorned, blushing orb
- Articles about apple genetics, cider-makers, and orchards
- Tips and Techniques for peeling, coring, slicing, and dicing, and for making pie crust
- Tools of the Trade
- Lists of apple festivals, products and pairings
- Ingredients listed in U.S. Standard measurements and their metric equivalents
- Though it contains great veggie, sides, salads, poultry, meat, fish, soup and starter recipes — there are three (!) yummy chapters especially for baking/dessert lovers (pancakes, donuts, biscuits, breads, pies, crisps, cobblers, buckles, betties, dumplings, cakes, puddings)
- The 303-page book lies flat when you open to any page!
The Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffin recipe calls for one large firm-sweet apple. A quick glance at the Cheat Sheet assured me Golden Delicious would work (I just happened to have a giant one in the fridge).
After peeling and coring my apple, I diced it into 1/4″ cubes. I tossed walnuts into my mini food processor for a nice chop, then whisked together dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. I then stirred the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix the batter.
Was really pleased with the results — the cinnamon, ginger and cloves enhance the natural flavors of the fresh apple and pumpkin, the muffins aren’t overly sweet, and they’re soooo tender and moist! Nothing says Fall like those warming spices, and the chopped apple and walnuts add wonderful texture. Will definitely be making these again. In fact, I plan to bake these muffins to celebrate Fall every year. Yum!
* * * * *
APPLE PUMPKIN WALNUT MUFFINS
(makes 15 muffins)
1-2/3 (242 g) cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (105 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (115 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (240 ml) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (120 ml) walnut oil or vegetable oil
1 large firm-sweet apple (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup (65 g) walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 walnut halves for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the muffin cups with paper liners or grease with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, apple, chopped walnuts, and vanilla.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine (do not overmix). Divide the batter among 15 muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full, and top each with a walnut half if desired. Bake until the muffins are puffed and golden and a cake tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the muffins cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then serve warm.
Make-Ahead Tip: You can prep this recipe through step 1 the night before, then finish it in the morning. You can also freeze the finished muffins in a zip-top bag for up to two months.
*Adapted from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011), p. 173.
* * * * *
Other recipes I’m most anxious to try:
- Apple and Mustard Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Cider-Glazed Onions
- Apple-Studded Brown Butter Streusel Coffee Cake
- Grandma’s Apple Crisp
- Lowfat Gingerbread Applesauce Cake
- Pumpkin and Apple Custard
- Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes
Amy Traverso is the Senior Home and Food Editor of Yankee Magazine. What a beautiful job she’s done with The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, winner of the 2012 IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Award for best American cookbook!
Chances are, apples have a place in your own food memories. I can’t think of another fruit that comes as close to the heart of the American table. We save an apple for the teacher. We eat an apple a day. We are “as American as apple pie” (an ironic statement, if you think about it, given that apple pie really is very British), and we call our greatest city the Big Apple. Some combination of those phrases and a thousand servings of apple cider donuts and mulled cider, combined with my New England roots or your Virginia or Sonoma or Yakima Valley childhood, and all those rounds of the Johnny Appleseed song (“Oh, the Lord is good to me . . . “), all add up to such strong associations with apples and America that I half expected to hear that the Pilgrims found rows of Baldwin and McIntosh when they first stepped ashore at Plymouth.
~ Amy Traverso (“Why An Apple Book”)
Enjoy these videos: Amy shows us an easy way to peel and core an apple, and demonstrates how to make Apple and Mustard Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
* * * * *
Oh! Just saw two deer amble by. I think they’re the fawns I saw this summer, now playful adolescents. They’ve found some acorns. Imagine being able to scratch your neck with your hind leg, or flick falling leaves away with your big ears.
Must have another muffin. Thinking of you as I bite into it🙂.
♥ Visit The Apple Lover’s Cookbook website for more recipes and info about how to order a signed copy. Wonderful holiday gift for the foodies on your list!
* * * * *
This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts (fiction/nonfiction/cookbook/movie reviews, recipes, photos, musings, etc.). Put on your bib and join the party!
Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.