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Courtesy Centrolina.jpg
Caramel Apples (Photo courtesy Centrolina)

Part Two: Local chefs share apple recipes that don't involve a pie dish

This is part two or a three part series where we are sharing local chefs favorite things to make with apples that don't involve a pie dish. (Click here to see part one)

We hope this helps you make a dent in your fall fruit stock!

Caramel Apples from Chef Caitlin Dysart of Centrolina

Centrolina’s take on this nostalgic favorite will delight kids and kids at heart, with a rich caramel dip and a salted graham cracker coating.


  • 8 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 c. brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
  • Graham cracker crumbs, as needed
  • Fleur de sel, as needed
  • 8-10 Granny Smith apples
  • Wooden skewers
  • Candy thermometer


  1. Wash the apples (be sure to remove any stickers on the apples). Remove the stems and insert a skewer into each apple. Set aside on a baking tray lined with wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Gently stir in the sugars and corn syrup.
  3. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, stirring regularly. Carefully pour in the condensed milk. Cook the caramel over medium heat while whisking until the mixture reaches 241F/116C on a candy thermometer.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Let cool for two minutes. While cooling, combine the graham cracker crumbs and fleur de sel in a small bowl.
  5. Dip the apples in the caramel, tilting the pot and twirling the apples as needed to ensure the caramel reaches at least two-thirds up the side of the apple. Allow the excess caramel to drip off of the apple and scrape the bottom of the apple on the side of the pot. Dip the bottom of the apple in the crumb mixture to coat. Place the apple on the baking tray and allow to set up before serving. The caramel apples are best enjoyed the same day.

Granny Smith Apple Crème Fraiche Cake with Pumpkin Seed Streusel from Chef Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant

Apples give flavor, body, and texture to this apple cake from Equinox. Top it with a scoop of creamy vanilla gelato for a decadent fall treat.


  • 2 1/2 c. almond flour (find at well-stocked supermarkets or specialty stores)
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 2 c. whole eggs, lightly beaten (about 6 medium eggs)
  • 1 c. egg yolks (about 10 eggs)
  • 2 1/2 c. crème fraiche
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and diced
  • Streusel:
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. toasted pumpkin seeds



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan.
  3. Combine the first three ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, and crème fraiche.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  6. Heat the butter in a skillet and sauté the diced apple until golden. Fold the sautéed apples into the batter and pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


  1. Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small to medium clumps form.
  3. Mix in pumpkin seeds.
  4. Sprinkle on warm cake.

Apple Butter from Chef Michael Ellis of Charlie Palmer Steak DC

Apple butter reminds Chef Michael Ellis of visits to the Apple Butter Festival in West Virginia as a child. His version of the sweet, spiced jam is served as an accompaniment to the variety of cheeses offered on the cheese cart at Charlie Palmer Steak DC.


  • 4 lb. good cooking apples (such as Granny Smith or Gravenstein)
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • Sugar (about 4 c., see cooking instructions)
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Method
  1. Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them.
  2. Put them into large pot, add vinegar and water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Ladle apple mixture (cooked apples and liquid) into a chinois sieve (or food mill) and using a pestle, force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below. Measure resulting puree.
  5. Add 1/2 c. sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar.
  6. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind, and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
  8. Note from Chef Michael Ellis: If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.

Apple Goodie Pancake from Chefs Theorun Anderson and Holly Platt of Firefly

Chefs Theorun Anderson and Holly Platt worked together to adapt one of Platt’s German family recipes for a brunch dish at Firefly. You can add the apple syrup or “Goodie” topping to your favorite pancake recipe, or recreate the whole dish.


Apple Syrup:

  • 2 c. apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Oatmeal "Goodie" Topping:
  • 1/2 c. butter, soft
  • 1/2 c. oatmeal (quick oats are best)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Cinnamon Spice Pancakes:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 2 c. buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon


Apple Syrup:

  1. Add apples, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt to a saucepan and set to medium-low heat.
  2. Cook apples until they are soft and tender.
  3. Coat apples with maple syrup and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch with two teaspoons of water and add to the syrup mixture.
  5. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the syrup thickens.
  6. Keep warm.

Oatmeal "Goodie" Topping:

  1. In bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. Using pastry cutter or fingers, gently work in the butter until a dough forms.
  3. Spread dough on lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. (Goodie should be soft and cookie-like.)
  5. Let it cool slightly, then break apart to crumble.

Cinnamon Spice Pancakes:

  1. In a large bowl, measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to blend, break up lumps, and aerate.
  2. Preheat your griddle or a non-stick fry pan to medium-high heat.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and oil.
  4. To mix the batter, first push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl and then pour the wet ingredients into the opposite side.
  5. Then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. As soon as the batter comes together, stop mixing.
  6. Let the batter sit for about 5 minutes. The batter will thicken slightly as it sits. Do not remix once the baking powder has started to react.
  7. Before you start cooking, make sure your griddle is nice and hot.
  8. Once hot, use a 1/2 c. measuring cup to ladle batter onto the griddle. Let the pancakes cook until you start to see bubbles break the surface.
  9. Then flip and continue to cook on the other side. It should take about 3 to 5 minutes to cook the pancakes, but this will depend on your heat source, and how thick your pancakes are.
  10. To finish the dish, top pancakes with apples, syrup, and goodie topping.