There’s so much that demands our attention in the fall. From the critical fantasy football quarterback situation to the errant math test (if your grade would earn a speeding ticket, you’re good), each of us has a lot on his plate. But despite the fact that we’re all pressed for time, I challenge you to think about what should really be on your plate. Physically, I mean, the food you’re putting in your body. Because in the face of enormous stress at school, I find there’s nothing that helps more than a nice reshuffling of priorities. When you bake eight recipes of apple pie (I didn’t actually do this) to find the best one out there (I really want to), all of a sudden the four typos you found after submitting the common app seem to matter a lot less. In fact, maybe they don’t matter at all. You know what really matters? The ratio of cinnamon to nutmeg.
I highly recommend you consider baking this fall. With that in mind, I’ve found a couple of dishes that you might enjoy making and will certainly enjoy eating. First off, we have apple cake. Unusual, I know, but I share this because, for all its tradition, apple pie really doesn’t do it for me sometimes. Granted, I’ve been known to eat pie slices (hah!) in one sitting, and I appreciate the inherent patriotism as much as the next citizen. But if you’re looking to shake things up this season, do yourself a favor and bake a German apple cake. It’s simple, a little different, and delicious.
In terms of pie, again the classic apple comes to mind. (If you’re interested in trying this out, I’d look up “caramel apple blondie pie.” An astonishingly good twist on the classic.) But for the purposes of this article – namely, none – I’d like to provide you with a little variety. If you’re looking to irrevocably change Thanksgiving in your home, I’d have to recommend pecan pie. There are several twists you could try, such as maple pecan or derby pie, a deadly chocolate-nut mix. Whatever you do, keep an open mind – pecan pie has a lot of potential.
The list goes on and on – from a salted caramel pear tart (some experience recommended) to bourbon-maple banana bread (shout out to Jack Richards, this was incredible), there is no end to the desserts you can make this fall. If none of these strikes your fancy, you can easily Google “good fall desserts” and scroll through until you find something that looks delicious and give it a try. And it doesn’t have to end on December 21st either.
You may be thinking “what a waste of four minutes. I’m not a baker, and I have no interest in becoming one.” Let me provide several challenges to this line of thinking: 1) Baking yields baked goods, and baked goods taste good. If you want to eat good, freshly baked food, then you should bake. 2) You can share things you bake with other people, which will make other people like you more. If you don’t believe me, conduct a quick experiment. Tomorrow, hand a warm croissant/doughnut/cronut to the first friend (or teacher, if you’re still worried about your math grade) you see in school. Gratitude and affection are guaranteed, barring serious allergies. Giving things you bake to other people may seem a little contrived, but it’s actually an awesome thing to do, and almost everyone appreciates it. 3) Baking is time-consuming and… not schoolwork – two qualifications that make it an ideal option for procrastination. 4) Baking relieves stress. It’s almost definitely scientifically proven. 5) Odds are, if all of those reasons make sense to you but you’re still holding out, you’re just a little bit insecure. In the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur, “Men who think they’re too manly to bake aren’t real men.” If a five-star general can do it, so can you.
So you should view this fall as an enormous opportunity. It’s a great time to start baking because people move indoors and Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to food (and giving thanks! Who knew). If you whip out a homemade derby pie after the turkey this year, your family will be surprised, impressed, and grateful. So best of luck, and may the fall harvest bring blessings (especially edible ones) to you and yours.
German Apple Cake:
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups apples – peeled, cored and diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
- In a mixing bowl; beat oil and eggs with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well.
- Combine the flour salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon together in a bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cake cool on a wire rack. Once cake is cool serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or with a Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups corn syrup ( I use 1/2 dark and 1/2 light)
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely broken
- 1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell
- In saucepan, boil sugar and corn syrup together for 2 to 3 minutes; set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
- At this point, I like to strain the mixture to make sure it’s smooth and lump free.
- Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust.
- Bake in a 350°F oven for about 45 to 60 minutes or until set.