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Apple orchards are the go-to place in autumn to stock up on fresh picked apples for favorite recipes.

More that 300 commercial orchards, comprising about 6,500 acres, are now found in 57 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, according to the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association's (WAGA) website.

These acres hold nearly 900,000 trees and produce about 60 million pounds of fruit worth over $15 million per year. Most of the commercial acreage is found in four locations in the state:Crawford & Richland Counties (1,300 acres), Door County area (824 acres), Bayfield & Chippewa Counties (840 acres), and the greater Milwaukee area (900 acres).

Once home, be sure to store small quantities in your refrigerator, in plastic bags in the crisper--between 34 and 40 degrees.

Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated. One or two days sitting on a counter top and the fresh crunch of your apple is lost forever.

Each year the WAGA sponsors a recipe contest during the Wisconsin State Fair to promote Wisconsin Apples and their products. Here are some of the past apple pie winners of the apple pie contest.

Apple Pie with Cinnamon Cream Topping

Eileen Stutt, Wauwatosa, WI, second place 2016

CRUST

2/3 c. Crisco butter flavored shortening

1 2/3 c. all purpose flour

2/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. ground almonds

1/2 c. Smucker's seedless red raspberry jam

FILLING

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 T. cornstarch

1 T. grated orange zest

3/4 t. cinnamon

3 lg. tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1 T. Crisco butter flavor shortening

TOPPING

3 T. butter

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. sliced almonds

1/4 c. packed light brown sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

CINNAMON CREAM TOPPING

1 pkg. vanilla suguar

1 pkg. Whip It

1/8 t. cinnamon

1 c. heavy whipping cream

For the crust:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine shortening, flour, sugar and ground almonds with fingers or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using well-floured fingers, press dough into bottom and up sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom. Spread jam over crust.

For the filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch, orage zest and cinnamon.  Add apples and toss to coat.  Arrange apple mixture in crust. Dot with shortening. Bake for 30 minutes.

For the topping: Combine topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly. After pie has baked for 30 minutes, sprinkle with topping. Bake pie for 15 minutes more. Remove pie from oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the cream topping: Beat vanilla sugar, whip it, cinnamon and shipping cream until thickened.  Decorate pie with cream topping.

Crunchy Pecan Topped Apple Pie

Sheila Bethia - 1st Place, 2014

FILLING:

7 apples, peeled and sliced thinly

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg

2 dashes salt

2 T. flour

Juice from 1/2 lemon

 Mix together in a bowl.

TOPPING:

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. flour

3 dashes salt

3 T. butter

Mix all, except the 3 Tbs of butter together.

CRUST:

1 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 t. sugar

6 Tbs butter-flavored Crisco

About 3 T. cold water

Blend dry ingredients. Cut in Crisco until it looks like course corn meal. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix with fork until it comes together. Shape in patty. Cover with saran wrap. Chill 2 hours. Roll out between 2 floured saran wrap or wax paper sheets to 1/8" thick. Place carefully into pie pan.

To assemble, pour filling into prepared pie crust. Sprinkle topping over filling. Tap down slightly with fingers so it looks even. Then dot 3 remaining tablespoons of butter all over filling. Bake in a preheated 425º oven for about 12 minutes. Then turn down oven to 400º and continue baking until golden and bubbly for about 30-40 minutes.

Caramel Apple Pie

Terry Mayestro - Third Place, 2014

CRUST:

1 1/4 c.flour

1/8 t. salt

1/2 c. shortening

2 T. cold water

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender till fine crumbs appear. Sprinkle with water and toss till well blended. Press firmly into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 13" circle. Fit loosely into a 9" deep dish pie plate. Trim and flute edge.

FILLING:

7 c. peeled, cored, and sliced Wisconsin apples

1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 T. cornstarch

1 T. lemon juice

2 T. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

TOPPING:

3/4 c. flour

3/4 c. pecan halves

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 t. salt

6 T. cold butter, cut into pieces

CARAMEL & GARNISH:

3 T. cold butter, cut into pieces

1 T. water

30 caramels

1/2 c. chopped pecans

pecan halves

Preheat oven to 400º Combine apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into fruit along with the cinnamon and vanilla. Pour fruit mix into pie shell. Put on center rack of oven and bake 30 minutes.

Make crumb topping. Combine the first flour ingredients in food processor, chopping nuts coarsely. Scatter butter over mix and pulse processor till mix resembles fine crumbs. Refrigerate till ready to use.

Remove pie from oven and reduce oven to 375º Sprinkle crumbs over pie, spreading evenly. Return to oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Combine butter, water, caramels in the top of a double boiler. Melt over hot, but not boiling water. When melted, whisk till smooth, then drizzle over pie. Place pecan halves nicely on pie and then sprinkle chopped pecans over pie.

 

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