Pecan Apple Crisp
Linda with the scones

Linda Johnson is crazy about brunch so we are on part 2 of 3 “brunch dishes”. She has a breakfast group at her house on occasion and is looking for interesting dishes to serve. This week we made bacon-cheddar scones with applewood smoked uncured bacon and lots of ground pepper. The scones were tender and perfectly cooked and the smell of the bacon, scallions, and pepper was really nice. I did explain to Linda that scones were in the category of occasional indulgence since they are pretty rich, but as in everything else, a small portion served with other healthier items is OK. These are just like the scones my husband and I fell in love with at the Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredericksburg and I had to learn how to make them because they are so popular they’re often sold out by the time we get there. Anyone want that recipe?

We also made an egg dish called Picante Quiche, a crustless quiche. The first time I stayed at a bed and breakfast, Angels Gate in Bryan, Texas, the owners served little dishes of this quiche.
When she told me what the ingredients were I was a little surprised at how simple it was.
Picante Quiche

1 cup salsa (my favorite is Joe T Garcia’s, medium or homemade is always great)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
6 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 T finely choppped scallions
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 or 10 inch pie pan with cooking spray. Spread salso over the bottom of the pie plate. Layer with cheeses. Combine eggs, sour cream, scallions, and garlic powder. Pour over cheese layers. Top with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika and cilantro. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

This can be lighted considerably by reducing the amount of cheese and using light sour cream.
It tastes fine with very little cheese. Like I said earlier, reserve this type of dish for a special occasion or cut back on the sour cream and cheese.

My favorite dish was the Pecan Apple Crisp. This really was a healthy version of the real thing. Linda and her husband really liked it (and apparently ate quite a bit of it after I left). Linda told me she was going to share her recipes with her daughter-in-law so I hope they also enjoy the food as much as Linda.

What I liked about this recipe was the fact that it tasted delicious cold! I made it at home to test it and initially was disappointed. It wasn’t all that sweet and didn’t have much taste. I put it in the refrigerator over night. The next day I absent mindedly tasted it and thought it was perfect.
To me it was an improvement on the traditional apple crisp which uses a lot of sugar, flour, and butter. Try it and let me know what you think.

Pecan Apple Crisp

5 pounds Fuji apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups apple cider
½ cup orange juice
½ cup cranberry juice

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (Toast for 5 minutes in 350 degree oven)
2/3 cup whole oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 T canola oil
1 T agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large saucepan, over medium heat combine vanilla, cinnamon, cider, orange juice and cranberry juice. Bring to simmer and add apples. Lower heat and cook apples until tender, but not mushy, approximately 10 minutes.

Combine topping ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Add pecans last.

Place cooked apples in a 13 X 9 baking dish (or 10 inch round pie pan). Return liquid back to medium high heat and reduce to a thin sauce. Pour on apples and then place topping ingredients on apples.
Place in oven and cooked until topping has browned, approximately 20 minutes.

Serve with Greek yogurt, plain mixed with a little honey

I was so pleased to hear that Linda had just made a lunch of stir-fried vegetables and chicken with brown rice earlier in the day. Back in September she had never attempted such a thing but now she is challenging herself to step out of her comfort zone and prepare a wide variety of foods. I am inspired by her example and positive attitude.