Two Sisters Cook: Apples and pumpkins — the taste of autumn

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

“Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor” — Irish proverb.

Sept. 22 marked the first day of fall in 2018. Cooler nights, red ripe apples and frost on the pumpkin all bring to mind favorite autumn recipes.

Linda: This time of year means “apple crisp” to me. I have a favorite recipe that I always make to mark the change of seasons. As soon as I see the apple stands opening up, I know it’s time to dig my recipe out.

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Lucy: Yes, I know that recipe. I always use Golden Delicious apples, but I know that you prefer Macintosh. Macintosh is an apple usually found in cool weather climates, but Golden Delicious are plentiful here in the South. Another Southern apple that works for baking are the Arkansas Blacks. But they’re a later apple, needing cooler night temperatures.

Linda: I have discovered the Arkansas Blacks. The actually do turn almost black when stored. And, if kept cool, they can be stored for a long time.

Lucy: It’s also time for pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin bread is often found in grocery stores this time of year. But I have a favorite recipe for pumpkin muffins. They have cream cheese in the middle of the muffin. Don’t be deterred by the long directions. They’re not that difficult, and they are delicious.

Linda: I love those muffins. The cream cheese is perfect with the pumpkin flavor. And they can be frozen and brought out one at a time for breakfast on crisp fall days.

Lucy: Looking through my old hospital auxiliary cookbook, I found a recipe for Autumn Apple Bread. I baked a loaf and think it’s a perfect addition to dinner this time of year. It would complement pork chops, barbecue pork, or even salmon or chicken. And of course it’s delicious for breakfast

Linda: Perfect! And we all know “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”! Let’s get cooking.


3-4 large apples

½ cup seedless raisins

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

About 1 tablespoon lemon juice

¾ to 1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup + 1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh grated is best)

Heat oven to 375. Wash, peel and thinly slice apples (about 6 cups) into an 8-by-8-by-2 baking dish. Sprinkle apples with raisins, some lemon juice and lemon rind and dot with 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, toss together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then, with a pastry blender or two knives, cut ½ cup butter into flour until shortening and flour particles are the size of small peas.

Spread crumb mixture evenly over apples. Bake 40 minutes or until apples are tender and crumb crust is crisp and well browned.


Servings: 12 muffins

Streusel Topping

½ cup flour

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup old fashioned or quick oats 1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold butter

Mix all together until crumbly


8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (light style is okay)

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Stir together. Refrigerate while making batter


1 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

2 eggs

½ cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup boiled cider or dark corn syrup or honey   

1/3 cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves and ¼ teaspoon ginger)

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups flour

Heat oven to 400. Prepare muffin tin by spraying with Pam or using foil muffin papers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil, boiled cider and milk. Mix spices and dry ingredients together and add very gently to wet batter.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons batter into the muffin cups. Add about 1 tablespoon of filling and cover with another scant 2 tablespoons of batter. Each muffin cup should be full.

Sprinkle top of each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of streusel.

Let muffins rest 5 to 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. If desired, muffins can be frozen once they cool.


¼ cup shortening

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled, coarsely grated apples

1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 8-by-5-by-2 loaf pan (if preferred, line pan with nonstick foil for ease removal).

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and add alternately with grated apples to the egg mixture. Stir in zest and nuts. 

Bake in prepared pan for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Do not slice until cool.