(Family Features) Whether your festivities include immediate family or bringing together relatives from around the country, the holidays are about making memories with loved ones. From the first days of the season to the last, many families spend their precious time together with favorite activities and the best foods the holidays have to offer.

This year, you can change things up and start new traditions with fresh ingredients like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to update classics due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance; and naturally white flesh that doesn’t brown as quickly as other apples all lend themselves to shareable recipes like this Apple Wreath Salad or Roasted Apple Macaroni and Cheese, both perfect for holiday parties.

Because cherished memories are made with sweet ingredients, you can turn cozy movie nights into festive and memorable events year after year by pairing Hallmark Channel’s popular “Countdown to Christmas” holiday movies with delicious desserts like Apple Custard Sponge Trifle and Brown Butter Apple Pie.

Find more memory-making recipes at EnvyApple.com.

Apple Custard Sponge Trifle

Servings: 8-10

  • 6 Envy apples
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, water
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 1 large plain sponge cake
  • 2 cups vanilla bean custard
  • 1/2 cup caramel or butterscotch sauce, plus additional for garnish, divided
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • fresh apple slices
  • fresh strawberry slices

Peel, core, and dice apples; place in a large saucepan. Add caster sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer apples for 5-8 minutes until tender.

Combine corn flour and remaining water. Stir corn flour mixture into apples until apples are syrupy.

Cut the sponge cake into 2-centimeter diced pieces. Arrange 1/3 of the sponge pieces in the base of the serving bowl. Add half of the cinnamon apple pieces, including syrupy juices. Add 1 cup custard and drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with sponge cake; chill.

Whip cream and spoon dollop over sponge cake to cover the top. Garnish with apple slices, strawberry slices, and caramel sauce.

Apple Wreath Salad

Recipe courtesy of “The Produce Moms” (@theproducemoms)

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 10 ounces baby arugula
  • 3 Envy apples, sliced
  • 9 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 ounces pomegranate arils
  • 3 ounces pecans, toasted

To make the balsamic dressing:

  • In a small serving bowl, whisk honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
  • Place the dressing bowl in the center of a large board or platter. Arrange an arugula around the dressing bowl in a wreath shape.
  • Place apple slices on top of the arugula. Sprinkle on goat cheese, pomegranate arils, and pecans.

Brown Butter Apple Pie

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds Envy apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 deep-dish frozen pie shell

Preheat oven to 375 F.

To make streusel topping: Mix flour, chopped pecans, and light brown sugar. Stir in butter using fingertips until incorporated with small lumps of butter visible. Refrigerate.

To make the filling:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until amber, stirring often. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla, and flour using a spatula. Pour brown butter over apples and mix, scraping the skillet with a rubber spatula to incorporate brown butter bits.
  • Place frozen pie shell on baking sheet. Add 2 cups of apple mixture into the shell, gently pressing apple slices for an even base. Add remaining apple slices and gently press. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the apples.
  • Bake for 30 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 35-45 minutes until the topping is golden and the apples feel tender when pierced with a fork.

Roasted Apple Macaroni and Cheese

  • Salted water
  • 1 pound macaroni noodles
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Envy apple, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over high heat, melt butter then saute diced apple until caramelized and tender. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Whisk in heavy cream and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently so the milk doesn’t burn.

Once boiling, turn the heat to low and whisk in cheddar cheese, Romano cheese, gruyere cheese, salt, and Worcestershire. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted thoroughly.

Carefully pour the mixture into a large blender and blend on high until smooth.

Pour cheese sauce over the noodles and stir.

Pour macaroni and cheese into a 9-by-13-inch pan and spread evenly.

Heat oven to broil.

To make topping: In a medium bowl, melt butter and stir in panko breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over macaroni and cheese; broil until golden brown.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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