Old-Fashioned Apple Jelly

My favorite orchard in North Alabama announced last call on apples over the weekend.

The trees are no longer producing quality fruits, and apple season is ending as the first frosts are threaten the South. This doesn’t mean you have to wait another year for that tasty autumn flavor! Nothing is as delightful (nor as cozy) as homemade jelly topping hot, flaky biscuits on a cold weekend for breakfast, brunch or even supper with the family!

Fresh Picked Orchard Apples

Apple jelly, while a little time-consuming, is really quite worth the small amount of work as you savor each bite throughout the year. I stepped out of my comfort zone this year and made our apple jelly without commercial pectin.

Did you know commercial pectin is actually a derivative of apples? This delicious fruit is loaded with natural sugars which make it an ideal experiment for old-fashioned jelly making.

Old Fashioned Apple Jelly

Taking about 6 pounds of Granny Smith and Rome Beauty apples, I chopped them up (core and all) and placed in a large stock pot with six cups of water. When choosing apples for your jelly keep in mind that tart apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, Honey Crisp) have more pectin. Also, the more an apple ripens, the less pectin it will have, so choose slightly underripe apples. This is where picking your own at an orchard comes in handy!

Apple Jelly Prep

I allowed my apple mixture to simmer about 25 minutes until the apples were nice and soft. Lining a colander with cheese cloth over a large bowl, I carefully and slowly poured the entire pot of apples and juice into it, allowing the juices to start draining so I didn’t overfill. I had about 7 cups of juice, which is slightly more than you need for this recipe.

Pulp for Apple Jelly

{Save what’s left, chill and drink it. The taste is unforgettably delicious !}

Fresh Apple Juice

Next, I added the juice to a large stockpot along with sugar and lemon juice, then brought it all to a boil. Even though your juice mixture might hit the 220° mark fairly quick, working without commercial pectin can be tricky. Test the jelly several times to see if it’s going to gel. Keep stirring it, so that it does not boil over while you’re waiting! To test for gel I took a cold spoon and dipped it into the boiling jelly, then dropped it over a cold plate. If the jelly forms a gel or began dripping very slowly, it’s probably ready. This was my first time making jelly without pectin, so there was a lot of uncertainty in my judgement!

Apple Jelly in Weck jars

Once the jelly was ready, I ladled it into sterilized jars, sealed with bands and lids, then processed in a water bath to seal them up for future use.

homemade apple jelly

Click Old Fashion Apple Jelly for the full, printable recipe.

Audley opened a jar the next day to top a Bojangles biscuit and deemed it absolutely perfect ! His seal of approval is all I need.

How do you preserve your favorite harvest flavors for later use? I would love to hear what your favorite ways to extend the season!

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Deep Dish Apple Crisp

Between picking apples with Audley as well as a trip back home for a visit with my Momma to one of our favorite orchards, we have a house full of apples right now! We have Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, Macintosh, yellow and red Delicious… so many flavors, which means there are so many ways to use them!

And Audley has been enjoying the many ways I’ve found to use all of nature’s bounty in baskets and on our kitchen table and on our cabinets….

Besides snacking on them, my oatmeal has been quite tasty the last several days as they make a yummy add-in. I also made some fabulous apple jelly and put up a few for later use.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee Blog

By far the absolute best way I’ve used the apples was in the apple crisp I whipped up for us to enjoy last weekend!

Y’all, it was absolutely delicious.

It was also so unhealthy.

But, It was so delicious!

What made this even better was mixing the different types of apples and their unique flavors to create a symphony in your mouth!  Combining the juicy tart flavor of a Granny Smith apple with a sweeter Rome Beauty is just the beginning of flavor.  Audley really loved the mixture of flavor.

It was THAT noticeable.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp

Making an apple crisp may seem difficult, but honestly, while it takes several steps, it is so easy to create.  Everyone will love you for it, and the unexpected ingredients raise this crisp far above any other you will taste! This recipe has the traditional ingredients of an apple crisp as well; oats, flour, vanilla, apple pie spice, etc… but the filling is really special. I mean who combines butter and heavy cream into the filling of their apple crisp?

I did, and it is over the top scrumptious!

And guess what?

The topping has butter in it as well.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp in Lodge pan

Whether you pick your own apples or buy them at the grocery store; mixed a variety of apple flavors or just stick to one, this apple crisp is perfect for your next potluck, family dinner, or to sit and eat in the corner, keeping it all to yourself!  If you show up to Thanksgiving dinner with this dessert you will be the family hero.

Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee

Y’all, I promise, it is that good!

You can find the full, printable recipe by clicking  Deep Dish Apple Crisp.

Bite of Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee

If you want to elevate the unhealthiness deliciousness of this recipe, Serve it warm topped with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

Autumn Deep Dish Apple Crisp From Fiddle Dee Dee

After serving this, if you don’t hear from your husband for a while, he is probably passed out on the couch with football playing in the background in a dessert coma.

Take this moment to change the channel to Hallmark, savor your own dish of Apple Crisp, and enjoy the peace and quite.

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Balsamic Cherry Pork Tenderloin

We’ve never been parents that crammed a million things into summer break.  Quite honestly the school year is busy enough and we are all craving the break during June and July.  Sure we might go swimming, take a short vacation, and for a while they all attended a week of Bible camp, but summer “break” is called a break or vacation for a reason!

One of the most relaxing things about summer are the lazy afternoons and evenings that have allowed us to slow down. I suppose I will have to adjust to this year round with the children all grown (wow that seems odd to say), but there is something very enjoyable about taking time to cook supper each night. No deadlines, no running in from practices, no where to be; it’s a wife and mom’s dream!

Cherry Balsamic Pork

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Balsamic Cherry Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Yesterday morning I planned to prepare a pork tenderloin for our evening meal. Most of the day was spent wondering how to prepare it. There was the grilling option, but a ferocious band of thunderstorms was headed our way and fighting to keep charcoal lit around rain was not my idea of fun. The crockpot option is always a good one, but when you’re carefully eating only at mealtimes, smelling supper cook all day makes one want to eat all day. There are at least a thousand ways to roast a tenderloin, but my tastebuds were screaming for something seasonal and unique.

This particular pork tenderloin was purchased locally and not in the grocery store, so after looking through the refrigerator I found just the flavors needed! Taking fresh cherries, yummy Georgia Vidalia onions, fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar I went to work preparing supper.

cherries and sweet onions

Searing the tenderloin in olive oil after tucking a few fresh cloves of garlic inside, it went straight from the stovetop to the oven thanks to using a cast iron skillet. With the tenderloin being long and thin, it doesn’t take long to cook. Dry pork is horrible, so pay attention when cooking it. Internal temperature should be around 145° and then allow to rest a few minutes.

Once the pork was cooked and removed from the pan, the pan and juices went on the stove top on medium heat. I added an entire sliced onion, cherries that had been pitted and a little fresh rosemary from the back porch. After a few minutes of sautéing the two together to soften balsamic vinegar was added to the mix. Stirring often, this mixture was allowed to reduce and thicken for a sweet and textured sauce for the pork tenderloin.

Click Balsamic Cherry Pork Tenderloin to print off the full and very easy recipe.

Balsamic Cherry Tenderloin summer supper

Serve with fresh green beans and a salad for a completely seasonal supper everyone will enjoy!

Summer supper alfresco

Tell me dear readers, what do you enjoy most about these summer days?

Velvety White Chocolate Cake

Despite all the baking going on in the house this summer I’ve actually lost 10 pounds and several inches since Bradley left for boot camp last month. The patriotic cupcakes shared earlier this week were delivered to the local police department so that they didn’t stay in the house after Audley, Madeline and my niece ate a couple.  But, when you whip up something like this cake we carried to South Carolina as we visited two of our kiddos over the weekend, it’s really hard to say “no” to sweets!

WhiteChocolate Cake

 

Making a cake from scratch is not that difficult. A little more time consuming maybe, but really not as hard as people would have you think. My problem with taking the time to bake is there are actually people out there who will complain about the dense layers of homemade flavor, and say they prefer a box mix!

Really?!

You have got to be kidding me!

Nonetheless, I will continue to scratch bake when time allows, and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their loss. They should probably have their taste buds checked and shop the outer rims of the grocery stores for real food more often!

Velvety White Chocolate Cake

For my white chocolate cake you need a good quality cake flour (I love King Arthur’s brand), sugar, baking powder & salt for your dry ingredients. For your wet ingredients you will need egg whites ( separate your own, don’t use prepackaged liquid eggs), vanilla; grass-fed, fat-filled, real butter, and whole milk. You will also need 8 ounces of quality white chocolate …. I prefer Ghirardelli brand.

Scratch Cake Ingredients

The better quality products you use, the better tasting your cake will be!

You also want to have a flour sifter on hand to use when measuring your flour. You will be able to tell a difference in the density of your cake if you do (or don’t) sift the flour.

If you’ve never used one, it’s not difficult; promise! You just place flour into the gadget and shake or sift into a measuring bowl the amount your recipe calls for.

You’ll also need two bowls (one for wet ingredients; one for dry), measuring spoons and of course a mixer. You will need a bowl to melt your white chocolate in as well.

Prepare to 8-inch cake pans by spraying with Bakers Joy or another cake release product and preheat your oven to 350°.

White Velvet cake

After you have baked your layers, allow them to cool on a cooling rack,  The edges may be crispy (my favorite part to eat), but carefully level each layer with a cake leveler.  You can find a good one at Hobby Lobby for under $10.  Its worth keeping on hand if you like to bake.

The cream cheese icing recipe I shared earlier this week would be perfect to frost this cake, but since this cake was traveling I used a decorators buttercream that would hold.  Click here for the full and printable Velvety White Chocolate Cake recipe and here for the Cream Cheese Icing recipe.

 

White Chocolate Cake with Sprinkles

An easy way to decorate your cake would be to add a colorful holiday sprinkle mix over the top.  Fresh summer berries would also be a delightful addition!  Strawberries especially compliment the flavor of a white chocolate cake!

Sliced White Chocolate Cake

 So tell me, which do you prefer… A box cake or a fresh baked scratch cake?

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