Above: No, I did NOT use apples made of wood!
Apples!-- besides enjoying apple-laden goodies,
when I see ripe apples, I think of:
- The Shawano County Fair, because that's when the early apples in our orchard were ready for picking.
- My mother cooking large kettles of applesauce and apple butter on the wood stove (later, on her modern and very welcomed electric range). I still remember (and can smell?) how s-w-e-e-t the house smelled at times like that. Today, it is EXACTLY 105 years since my mother was born in Montague County, TX-- she left us with great memories on March 13th of 1982.
- The 'too many' wasps/hornets sitting on windfall apples, especially on the apples with soft or rotten spots-- they were either trying to zap some sweetness from them, or get DRUNK!? (SMART hornets/wasps don't fly drunk!--but, I don't suppose it's possible to have a 'designated flyer'!) As a child, I was SO afraid of those yellow/black winged things!
Above: These are named Snow Apples and are at their best AFTER a few frosts. The tree, itself, is older than I am-- and, I'm 68! Its trunk is almost totally hollow by now. A few years ago, already, the opening at the base of the trunk was large enough for THREE young raccoons to hide in.
Because it's 'apple season', I wanted to make an apple-pecan cheesecake-- I chose this particular recipe from the Kraft Foods website. (I LIKE it because it's very apple'y' and, yes, cheesecake'y', too!)
- 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (for me, this was one full sleeve).
- 1/4 cup butter, melted.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed.
- 4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened.
- 1 and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided into 1 cup and then 1/2 cup usages.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- 1 cup sour cream.
- 4 eggs.
- 3 Granny Smith apples (or another firm type of apple), peeled, chopped.
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped.
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- Line 9x13-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over each of the sides.
- Mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar; press onto bottom of prepared pan.
- Beat cream cheese, only 1 cup brown sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. (I did all of this with my food processor.)
- Add sour cream; mix well.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.
- Pour beat/blended cream cheese mixture over crust.
- Combine remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, chopped apples, nuts and cinnamon-- mix well.
- Sprinkle this apple/nuts mixture evenly over the cream cheese batter.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until center is 'almost' set. (Some who've tried this recipe said they needed to add up to 10 minutes of baking time, or so. Watch for how yours is baking, and decide accordingly.) When I took mine from the oven today, it looked like this:
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Use foil handles (tabs) to lift cheesecake from pan and move to cutting board before cutting to serve.
- For future servings, this dessert freezes well in airtight containers.