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Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Fried apples – thank you Barbara!

Filed under: food & drink,posts with recipes,side — ejm @ 08:02 EDT

go directly to the recipe

I recently read a post about the most amazing sounding fried apple dish in Barbara’s blog, Tigers and Strawberries. I showed it to T and we decided that we had to try it.

T is VERY opinionated about which are the best apples for cooking. He can’t stand it when they lose their shape. He wanted to buy Granny Smith but I pointed out that those would certainly be imported from far away right now and it would be criminal not to buy Ontario apples in September.

He agreed and said he would see what was available locally. He came back from the vegetable store with four different apples – he said they were all in a big basket marked “recently picked, Ontario”. We knew that one of the apples was a McIntosh – beautiful and crisp inside – how I love a good McIntosh!! Another we thought was a Cortland; another may be a Spy and the other?? Red and round and crisp – no idea.

So we fried up the apples and ate them last night with grilled chicken (old bay seasoning) , biscuits (baked on the barbecue) and a mountain of steamed broccoli. The apples were brilliant! And such a simple idea! Why had we never thought of it?? In fact, the whole dinner, well… three words:

It. Was. Delicious.

Thank you; thank you; thank you, Barbara. Your recipe for fried apples is a keeper.

Our Take on Barbara’s Gingery Fried Apples and Cranberries


  • 2 Tbsp (at least) unsalted butter
  • 4 apples with at least one that will hold its shape in cooking (we used McIntosh, Cortland?? Spy?? Jonagold???)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ c cranberry cocktail (Barbara calls for fresh apple cider – if we had had some, we would have used it!)
  • ¼ c dried cranberries
  • ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon

Preparation – some of this can be done in advance…

  1. Begin to melt butter in a frying pan.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples. Sprinkle sugar over the apples to stop them from oxidizing.
  3. Add apples and ginger to the melted butter and simmer, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until some juice begins to release from the apples.
  4. Add cranberry cocktail, sugar, cranberries, cinnamon and ginger. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring every so often, until the apples are almost soft. Some will have broken down. This is desirable. Ensure that most of the cranberry juice is absorbed. The apples should not really be swimming in liquid. At this point, you can turn the heat off and set the pan aside.
  5. Just before dinner is to be served, reheat the pan. Add a bit more butter if you are worried about burning. Stir the apples gently for even reheating. Serve immediately.

This is very good with grilled chicken and biscuits. Barbara suggested fried chicken and waffles. We would have had the latter if it hadn’t been hot and humid yesterday.

You can see Barbara’s actual fried apples recipe here.

Yes, yes, I know. So much butter. Far more butter than Barbara used. To which I say, so? I reckon that broccoli cancels out butter.

edit 17 September: we made the apples again (they’re so good!) and slightly revised the preparation. The apples are also fabulous with fried chicken and biscuits. Left-over fried apples are delicious with toast and peanut butter for breakfast.

  • Barbara

    Really, I use a tiny bit of butter compared to what is traditional, so use as much butter as you like. I also use way less sugar than is usually the case.

    Now, you can use bacon grease to fry the apples. That is good too–it gives a nice, rich smoky flavor. But really, very few people other than real honest to God hillbillies do that anymore, near as I can tell.

  • Amy

    Wow, this sounds amazing with the crystallized ginger. I can’t get cranberries yet down here, but this is def. going in my to-be-cooked file for next month!

  • ejm

    I suspected that most Appalachian cooks would have used more butter, Barbara. We are definitely in the “if some is good, more must be better” league when it comes to butter. But I do like the less sugar aspect. That’s one thing that I find odd about some southern cooking – it’s SO sweet! And yes, I read in your blog about the use of bacon fat instead of butter. (If we had had bacon in the house, we might have considered trying it.)

    Amy, it’s really delicious. If you can’t get dried cranberries (not even in a wholefoods-type store??), I’m thinking that dried currants or Thompson raisins might work just as well. Or, hey! What about using rosehips? (I have NO idea if that would really work.) Of course, you can leave out the berries entirely too. They don’t actually add all that much flavour. They just look pretty.

    Next time we make fried apples, we’re going to use fresh ginger rather than dried. And we might add more crystalizied ginger too. (I love that stuff!)

  • ejm

    We made the apples again last night and decided to use dried ginger rather than fresh. It just didn’t seem necessary to fix something that wasn’t broken….


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