Apple desserts are a staple of fall and winter baking. And if you have the opportunity, go pick your own apples! I happen to be very lucky because I live in Minnesota where the state fruit is the Honeycrisp apple, a delicious variety developed by the University of Minnesota, and where 29 other varieties have been released by the U of M since 1888 when the apple breeding program began.
It’s a wonderful feeling to learn about different types of apples, pick your own and then head home to make some apple desserts with your bounty.
In the fall and winter, apple crisp is a dessert I return to over and over because it’s so simple but utterly delicious with its buttery, oat-y crumble, sweet apples and pungent spices throughout. I like to serve mine with homemade ice cream.
The perfect apple pie recipe below is a fan favorite and I love that you can play around with different types of lattice to make it your own. If you want to get extra fancy you can use a stenciled rolling pin or go extra simple with a crumble topping. Need help with your pie dough? I show you my tips and tricks for how to make pie crust in this post.
My swirled apple tarte tatin is a super fun dessert that was inspired by William Lanagnère, a pastry chef in Paris who took the rustic French classic and turned it into something beyond elegant. I marveled at the perfect spiral of apples and soon discovered a super cool kitchen tool that creates delicate ribbons of apple.
The Double Apple Cake pictured above is from Yossy Arefi’s fantastic book, Snacking Cakes. It is simple and comforting. Yossy’s book is filled with cakes that fit the occasion, but I came into possession of a pink apple and I wanted a cake that would show it off. Her cake starts with applesauce, which gives it a gorgeous texture and finishes with slices of apples on top. The cake is bold with spices, not too sweet and perfect to have for breakfast, but pretty enough to serve for dessert. I used pink apples on top from Miami Fruit, but you can use any apples with beautiful results. I also found pink apples at Dragonberry Club. You will find the recipe in her book and you can purchase it here.
Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with apple desserts. There really is something for everyone in this list!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract make homemade vanilla
- 8 small apples
- 1/2 cup crushed salted peanuts optional
- Prepare a cookie sheet with a lightly buttered sheet of parchment, set aside.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, honey and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture starts to boil. This can take about 10 minutes.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 238°F on a Candy Thermometer.
- Once the caramel reaches the right temperature, remove from the heat and allow it to cool to about 200°F. It will begin to thicken as it cools. It should be thin enough to coat the apple, but thick enough to cling to the fruit.
- While the caramel is cooling, stick the Lollipop or popsicle sticks into the apple. Make sure they are deep enough that they won’t fall out while you are dipping the apples in the caramel.
- Dip the apples into the caramel. I like how they look when some of the apple is still showing, but you can completely cover them if you prefer. Hold the apple over the pot of caramel and allow some of the excess to drip off before placing them on the sheet of buttered parchment. If desired, dip the bottom in the crushed peanuts.
- Keep the apples in a cool, dry place and they will last for a few days, loosely covered with plastic.