As I was picking some apples last night to make a pie, it took me back to my childhood.
My brothers and sisters and I loved to go to Mallows’ Orchard in Xenia to get our apples. My mother’s sister Barbara and her husband, Ralph, always made sure we got beautiful apples, and Uncle Ralph would tell us about all the different varieties. I think that really started my love affair with apples!
I love to make apple pie, but sometimes, just for something special, I make apple dumplings. I make them with pie crust (although some people make more of a biscuit type dough) to wrap the apples. Then they are baked with a syrup poured over them which turns gooey and delicious as it bakes with the pie dough. Mike considers them a real treat!
I also love to use apples in more savory dishes. Apples really seem to go with pork. One of my favorite pork and apple recipes is one of Janet Voinovich’s recipes that I put in the cookbook Janet and I made in 1990, when George was running for governor and Mike as lieutenant governor. It is delicious and perfect for this time of year.
We lost Aunt Barbara this week. She was such a sweet and gentle woman. I’ll never forget all the beautiful cards with her beautiful handwriting that she sent to me all my life. She, like her mother and my mother (her sister), loved flowers and flower arranging. And for years she was a beloved volunteer at the hospital. She always wanted to help others. And she even had apples on her china dishes!
This week as I cook with the bountiful apples of the season, I will think about Mallows’ Orchard, and apples, and my beautiful sweet Aunt Barbara.
Mike’s Favorite Apple Dumplings
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups Crisco
5 tablespoons water
6 peeled and cored tart apples
Mix flour and salt. Cut in Crisco. Sprinkle with water. Mix with fork and shape into ball. Roll on floured surface into rectangle (12-inch by 18-inch). Cut into 6 squares.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Onto each dough square, place:
1 peeled and cored tart apple
2 Tablespoons sugar mixture
small piece butter
Bring corners of dough up around apple. Place in 8-inch by 12-inch baking pan. Cover with syrup. Bake one hour at 350 degrees.
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Boil until sugar is dissolved.
Janet Voinovich’s Pork Chops with Apples
8 loin pork chops
salt and pepper
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
3 tablespoons catsup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 apples (we like Golden Delicious)
Bake chops with salt and pepper in roasting pan, uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn chops over.
Combine juice, catsup, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Spoon some juice from roasting pan into sauce to thin.
Core apples; cut into rings. Place one on each chop; pour sauce over. Bake 30 minutes longer. Baste several times.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.