Country Store ‘Fried’ Apples offer flavor of pie without the fat

09/17/2013 12:00 AM

09/17/2013 8:27 PM

Editor’s Note: This recipe originally ran in 2007.

There’s a real-estate adage that says if you want to sell your house, be sure to have an apple pie baking in the oven when prospective buyers come knocking on the door.

Cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled over baking apples create a pleasant aroma that signals a sense of warmth and coziness. No wonder apple pie is so closely associated with hearth and home.

Essentially an apple pie without a crust, The Star’s recipe for

Country Store “Fried” Apples

is inspired by a popular version of the down-home filling sold in quaint glass jars at Cracker Barrel’s Old Country Store.

The restaurant doesn’t share its recipe, but a Google search confirms that copycat recipes are popular and frequently swapped. Imitators claim the secret ingredient is 1/4 cup of bacon drippings — hardly the stuff of light cooking!

Country-style food often gets a bad rap, but the core ingredients are healthful. For instance, cinnamon has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and may reduce the discomfort of heartburn.

Then there’s that other famed saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples contain vitamin C and a wide array of phytonutrients.

Instead of frying the apples in a skillet,

The Star’s

testers opted for a slow cooker, a low-fat cooking technique that bypasses the original recipe’s artery-clogging fat without compromising flavor.

Even better, the several hours required to soften the apples in the slow cooker allows their intoxicating scent to linger longer.

Sure beats an apple-pie-scented candle.

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Shopping tip:

Tart, spicy and crisp, the green Granny Smith apple is found in nearly every supermarket. The American Cameo is a red apple with a sweet, tart flavor.

This recipe was tested with Louisburg unfiltered apple cider; shake well before using and refrigerate immediately after opening.

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Cooking tip:

If you enjoy collecting gadgets, a cylindrical apple corer or an apple slicer makes quick work out of coring apples.

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Serving tip:

Serve baked apples as a side dish, spoon them over oatmeal for breakfast or use them atop frozen yogurt for a tasty dessert.

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Pump it up:

The Star’s testers chose to remove the peel on the apples, but Cracker Barrel leaves them on. You can do the same and benefit from the added fiber.

Country Store ‘Fried’ Apples Makes 8 servings 5 to 6 cups firm, tart apples, such as American Cameo or Granny Smith (about 2 1/2 pounds or 4 medium apples) 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 cup apple cider

Peel, core and slice apples into medium to thick slices. Place apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small to medium slow cooker. Dissolve cornstarch in apple cider and blend well. Pour over apples and stir to blend.

Cover and cook on low setting 5 to 6 hours; stir halfway through cooking.

Per serving: 102 calories (2 percent from fat), trace total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 25 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 6 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

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