Easy As Pie? Easier. Recipes to Make the Most of Michigan’s Apple Season

While apples are heavy on the branch, we’ve got six alluringly laid-back ways to bake them into something heavenly.

This story is featured in the October 2008 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Get your copy!


A homemade apple pie is a seldom-seen delicacy at my house, for the simple reason that I don’t know how to make good pie crust. I always fall short of the precision it takes to achieve flaky, tender, golden brown results: perfectly measured flour, icy water, not too much handling, but just enough that the fat incorporates properly. It’s just too much fiddling for something that may flop.

Even so, the change in the air almost begs for a warm apple dessert to go with it. And there is nothing quite so comfy as the honeyed, spicy aroma of apples baking in the oven. So here are our most forgiving autumnal comforts and desserts starring Northern Michigan apples. They’re proof you can let yourself off the hook and still make people very happy.

Wondering what apples to use? Use this guide to the best apples for baking!
apple carrot cake

Apple Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Two glories of the fall harvest—juicy apples and earthy carrots—make this a dense, moist cake that can’t come out dry. Crown with maple-tinged cream cheese frosting.

apple struedel

Shortcut Apple Strudel

Not a German grandmother’s recipe, but close. This crackly strudel is fragrant and comforting, and comes together nearly effortlessly with the help of frozen phyllo dough. Adapted from Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson.

baked apples with rum

Baked Apples with Dates, Coconut and Rum

You’ll love the way the rum and butter cozy up to the apples as they bake so much, you almost may not want to take them out of the oven. Almost.

apple cheddar scones

Apple-Cheddar Scones

A sweet-savory winner!

apple pancakes

Puffed Apple Pancake

This homey, not-too-sweet pancake cooked in a cast iron skillet is delicious for breakfast or dessert. It bakes up light and sinks as it cools.

The Perfect Apple Crisp

Here I’ve found the perfect proportions for the crisp topping if you like giant crispy buttery orbs that shatter deliciously when you fork into the warm apples.


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