photograph by iStock/RyanJLane and Matt Hulsman



Roasted Pear & Apple Tart
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 servings.

½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick
2 Anjou or Bartlett pears, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick (do not peel)
1 (9 x 13-inch) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with sliced apples and pears. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold puff pastry and place onto the baking sheet, pressing lightly to fit evenly in the corners of the pan. Using a paring knife, make a shallow cut around the border of the pastry, 1 inch from edges. Generously prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Place apples and pears on top of pastry. Spoon any remaining sugar syrup over apples and pears. Bake 7 to 10 minutes more or until pastry is golden brown. Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar just before serving.

 


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Fried Apple Pies
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 servings.

½ stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 2-3 apples, depending on size)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
½ cup ice water
1 package (2 crusts) premade piecrust
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar or granulated sugar, for dusting (optional)

In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together; add chopped apples, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer covered, over medium heat, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.

Mix egg yolk with ice water and set aside.

Place premade piecrust onto a floured surface and sprinkle more flour on top, working it into the dough. Roll out to about ⅛-inch thickness and cut into 6-inch circles. Place 2 teaspoons of the cooled filling in the center of each round. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash, fold over, and gently press down on the edges and the filling. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Place the pies in a single layer onto a plate that has been lightly sprinkled with flour and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil to 375°. Carefully drop 2 to 3 pies at a time into hot oil to avoid a drop in temperature. Fry for about 3 minutes or until pies turn golden brown on both sides. Use tongs to remove pies from the skillet, drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with granulated sugar or dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

 


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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 bars.

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
3 large McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 6 pieces
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 300°. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides. Set aside.

Add the flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to the mixing bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 to 5 times. Add melted butter and pulse again until mixture resembles coarse sand. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and topping.

For the filling: Combine the sliced apples, lemon juice, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl and toss until apples are evenly coated. Set aside.

For the topping: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Remove the crust from the oven, and increase temperature to 350°. Pour apple filling over crust and press tightly, ensuring apples are packed into the crust. Sprinkle the apple layer with the topping and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into 12 bars. Drizzle salted caramel sauce on top of each bar and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve warm, at room temperature, or straight out of the refrigerator.

For the caramel sauceHeat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts into a thick, amber-colored liquid. Be careful not to burn. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately, and carefully, add the butter. The caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.

Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring. Note: The mixture will rapidly bubble when cream is added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool before using. Caramel sauce can be made ahead.

 


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Pumpkin Pie
Recipe Courtesy of USS North Carolina

Yield: 8 servings.

2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
½ cup cold water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups pumpkin
¾ cup evaporated milk
¾ cup re-hydrated milk powder
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine flour and salt. Using a butter knife or fork, cut small amounts of shortening into the flour, until the flour is crumbly. Add water, work to incorporate but do not overwork.

Wrap dough in plastic, refrigerate for four hours (or overnight). Makes enough for two pie crusts and can be frozen.

Roll dough out on clean, lightly floured surface. Cut a circle dough slightly larger than a nine-inch pie tin. Use a spatula or butter knife to lift the dough and set it into the tin. You can use scraps of dough to build the edge of the crust.

Using a fork, mark the rim of the crust and poke holes in the bottom of the crust.

If you have pie weights, use them to keep the bottom from rising. If not, butter one side of a piece of foil. Place the foil butter-side down and fill with beans or rice.

Bake crust for 12 minutes.

Mix dry ingredients: cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt. Re-hydrate ¾ cup worth of milk powder (If you can’t find powdered milk, double the amount of evaporated milk.). Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin. Add sugar and spices. Slowly incorporate milk. Blend well.

Preheat oven to 425º. Pour filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Lower temperature to 350º. Bake for 40-50 minutes. A knife or toothpick should come out of the filling clean.

Allow to cool for two hours.

 


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Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 bars.

For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup salted butter, melted
½ cup chopped pecans

For the filling:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

For the garnish:
Whipped cream
Pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 300º. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch of paper hanging over the sides. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and pecans with the melted butter. With your fingers, press the crust on the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside while making the filling.

In the mixing bowl of a stand-up mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar. With the paddle attachment on, beat on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Spoon half of the mixture over the crust and spread evenly.

Add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining cream cheese mixture. Use a wire whisk to stir until smooth. Carefully spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until just set. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar, allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool down for about 1 hour.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into bars. Top each bar with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice.

 


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Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Bundt Cake
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

For the cake:
1 cup canola oil

2½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
½ cup chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon orange extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, add oil and sugar and mix with an electric beater until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir until well blended. Slowly add to the egg mixture, alternating with the pumpkin, beating well to combine. Fold in the walnuts.

Pour the batter evenly into a 10-inch Bundt pan that has been well sprayed. Bake for 60 minutes or until cake tester or inserted knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing cake from pan.

For the glaze: Add the powdered sugar to a small mixing bowl. Add milk, vanilla extract, orange extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth. The glaze is at the right consistency when it coats the whisk but is still pourable. Add a bit more sugar if it’s too thin, or a bit more milk if it’s too thick.

Once cake has cooled completely, transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the glaze, and sprinkle with some chopped walnuts.

 


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Chocolate Bread Pudding
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 servings.

6½ cups bread cubes (1 pound brioche or white bread)
1½ cups bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ice cream (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish or 9 x 13-inch pan. Toss the bread cubes with 1 cup of the chopped chocolate, and place in the prepared pan.

In a saucepan set over low heat, combine the remaining chopped chocolate with the sugar, cocoa, and milk. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is thickened and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk in the heavy cream. Whisk in the eggs, salt, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes, and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325°.

Bake the pudding for 45 to 50 minutes, until it’s set. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, or dusted with powdered sugar.

 


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Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 16 servings.

For the cake:
1 pound unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup whole milk, warm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate royal icing:
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2 egg whites, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Butter, cream cheese, and eggs should be at room temperature. Cream together butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cover with foil until completely cool.

For the chocolate royal icing: In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix lightly. In a separate bowl, mix egg whites, vanilla extract, and half of the cream. Add to the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer, mix on low speed, and gradually add the remaining cream. Mix until the icing reaches the consistency of thick syrup. Turn the mixer to high and whip for approximately 2 minutes, until the icing is light and fluffy, like meringue.

 


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Chocolate Chess Pie
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 servings.

½ cup salted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell (unbaked)
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°. In a bowl, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and spread it evenly along the edges. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream (optional).

 


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