Michigan Apple Recipe Contest Winners Recipes

Jan 25, 2018

Pasta Category Winners

1st Place – Chicken, Apple and Bacon Carolina Pasta Salad

1 – 12 ounce box Rotini Pasta
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces (I prefer Michigan Golden Delicious)
1 stalk celery, cut into small pieces
1 cup large bacon pieces
1 cup Rotisserie chicken, cut into small pieces

Cook pasta until tender, drain, set aside until cool.

Make Carolina Dressing – Best part of salad!

½ cup Pioneer granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon celery seeds
½ cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour over pasta, apples, celery and chicken. Refrigerate.

(Optional) To serve – thinly slice lengthwise a long cucumber and roll it into a circle to form a 3-inch bowl; add pasta salad inside the cucumber bowl. Add large bacon pieces to top of pasta salad.  Serve. Enjoy!

Linda Schmidt – Kawkawlin, Michigan

2nd Place – Tortellini Salad

8 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Michigan Honeycrisp apples, sliced
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
3 cups Cheese Tortellini, cooked according to directions on package and cooled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ cup bacon, crisp and crumbled – reserve 1 Tablespoon bacon fat for dressing
½ cup Craisins
¾ cup shaved parmesan cheese

Toss Tortellini in olive oil. Toss sliced apples with lemon juice. In a large bowl toss lettuce, onion, apples, chicken, and tortellini. Add almonds, bacon, Craisins, and parmesan cheese. Toss with dressing.

¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup Ranch dressing
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons Pioneer granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon bacon fat

Colleen Gawrylowicz – Caro, Michigan

3rd Place – Pure Michigan Lasagna

1 pound of your favorite ground breakfast sausage
2 packages Peppered gravy mix that makes 4 cups (Pioneer Brand)
1 large egg
6 Tablespoons Pioneer granulated sugar
1 – 15 ounce container small curd cottage cheese
5 Michigan Gala apples
1 – 8 ounce package shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 – 8 ounce package shredded Provolone cheese
1 large sweet onion
2 boxes ‘No Boil’ Lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; Coat a deep dish lasagna pan with cooking spray. Cook, brown, and drain sausage. Prepare the Peppered gravy as directed on the package. Mix together with sausage; Set aside. Mix the egg, cottage cheese, and provolone cheese; Set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples into a medium non-stick frying pan. Peel and slice onion and add to the apples. Sauté on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add sugar; Sauté another 2 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble the lasagna:
Put 1 cup of gravy mixture on bottom of pan and spread around
Add a layer of noodles
Add cottage cheese mixture
Add layer of noodles
Add apple mixture
Add layer of noodles
Add mozzarella cheese and remaining sausage gravy and spread evenly

Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Carol Kammer – Marysville, Michigan


Sandwich Category Winners

1st Place – Pickled Apple Pork Belly Banh Michigan

Pork Belly:

1 pound skinless pork belly
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup Pioneer brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup hoisin sauce

6 inch Baguette sliced ¾ open
Kewpie mayonnaise
Cilantro leaves


Pickled Apples:

½ pound Michigan Gala apples
½ pound Michigan Golden Delicious apples
½ cup Pioneer granulated sugar
1 ½ cup vinegar
1 pinch Chinese 5 spice

Peanut Sauce:
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon Pioneer brown sugar

Pickled Apples:

  1. Peel and cut apples into ¼-inch thick slices. Take 2 to 3 of each apples’ peels and trim so it resembles spaghetti noodle thinness. Set aside for garnish.
  2. Combine vinegar, sugar, and Chinese 5 spice in a small saucepan and heat until dissolved on medium heat.
  3. Once cooled, add apples. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and brown sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat.

Pork Belly:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and hoisin. Place pork belly in large zip lock bag and pour half of the marinade over it. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Place the pork belly in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown, basting it with the other half of marinade every 5 minutes. Flip halfway through.
  3. Turn oven down to 300 degrees. Place the pork belly on the split open baguette. Leave the sandwich open faced and place in oven until bread is crusty about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. On one side of the sandwich place pickled apples and on the other scatter cilantro leaves. Squirt a line peanut sauce and line of kewpie mayonnaise, and optional line of sriracha. Close sandwiches, cut in half, and serve hot. Top with the 2 different color curled apple peels.

Bon Appétit!

Melissa Kildow – Grand Blanc, Michigan

2nd Place – Turkey Club Apple Slaw Sandwich

2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup Pioneer granulated sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons poppy seed
½ cup shredded carrot
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon honey mustard
4 large Michigan Gala apples, sliced

Mix all together for dressing and set aside.

1 loaf bakery bread
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pound sliced turkey
8 ounces sliced cheddar cheese
10 strips cooked bacon
Lettuce (optional)

Butter two slices of bread and place butter side down on grill; top with turkey, cheese, and bacon; put on dressing and grill. Cut in half or quarters.

Judy Jones – Bay City, Michigan

3rd Place – A Gouda Apple Cranberry Grill

Sandwich Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 slices of sourdough bread
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
2 thin slices smoked ham
2 slices smoked Gouda
3 thin slices smoked turkey
2 ¼ by 3-inch slice of brie cheese
3 Tablespoons apple cranberry sauce
2 slices bacon, cooked (sliced in half)
Green onion, diced
Apple Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:
½ cup ginger soda
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup Pioneer granulated sugar
½ cup canned cranberry sauce, drained
1 Michigan Empire apple, sliced into ¼-inch wedges

Apple Cranberry Sauce Directions:
1. Place ginger soda, ginger, and sugar into a sauce pan and cook to a rolling boil.
2. Stir in drained cranberry sauce.
3. Sauce should begin to thicken. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Place sliced apples in sauce for 1 minute; remove from heat.
5. Let the sauce cool.

Sandwich Stacking and Grilling Directions:
1. Butter two slices of sourdough bread and place butter side down on wax paper or clean surface while preparing.
2. Stack sandwich in exact order below – building it from the bottom to top.
a. Mayonnaise-spread over bread opposite butter
b. 1 slice thin smoked ham
c. 1 slice smoked gouda
d. 3 slices thin smoked turkey
e. Apple cranberry sauce
f. Bacon
g. Green onions
h. Brie
i. 1 slice thin smoked ham
j. 1 slice smoked gouda
3. Grill until golden brown on each side. Slice in half and serve. Add garnish of choice when plating.

Linda Cutler – Atlanta, Michigan

Dessert Category Winners

1st Place – Best Apple Bars

1 sleeve graham crackers
2 Tablespoons Pioneer granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
Crush crackers, mix in sugar and butter. Press in 8 x 8-inch pan.

Cheesecake Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup Pioneer brown sugar
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
Beat together and spread over graham cracker crust.

Apple Layer:
4 Michigan Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ cup Pioneer brown sugar
¼ cup water (more if needed)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Add first four ingredients to pan. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft and water is evaporated. Add spices; cook slightly; then spoon over cheesecake layer.

Crumble Topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup Pioneer granulated sugar
½ cup oats
½ cup Pecans, finely chopped
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients and sprinkle over apple layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool 10 to 20 minutes. Then drizzle with salted caramel. Cool completely and store in refrigerator.

Salted Caramel:
1 cup Pioneer granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring first three ingredients to a boil; boil until caramel colored (8 to 10 minutes). Slowly add cream while whisking. Slowly add vanilla; whisk in salt. Boil another minute then remove from heat.

Jessica Bryant – Shepherd, Michigan

2nd Place – A Pioneer’s Pearl
Yield: 36 mini Tarts

8 ounces softened cream cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
2 cups all-purpose flour

Apple Filling:
1 ½ cups Pioneer granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons corn starch
3 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon orange zest
1 stick butter
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
2 Tablespoons orange juice
8 ounces Ginger Ale (I use Vernors)
3 medium Michigan Empire apples, diced ¼-inch
¼ cup chopped sea salted pecans

Caramel Filling:
20 square unwrapped caramels (about 5 ounces)
¼ cup evaporated milk

½ cup butter
½ cup all-vegetable shortening
2/3 cup Pioneer granulated sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chopped pecans to sprinkle over the frosting when tart is complete

Directions: (The recipe has 4 simple stages to make these delicious bite size treats. Once you master each step, it makes the entire process come together with ease about 50 minutes to make.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by making Apple Filling. Place sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest in saucepan and dry whisk together. Then add butter, corn syrup, 2 tablespoons orange juice, and ginger ale. Once boiling – add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are softened. It will take about 10 minutes. Then add in salted pecans and pull off stove. Apple filling should be slightly thickened. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour mixture in strainer. KEEP BOTH APPLES AND SAUCE.
As Apple Filling is cooling start working on your shells. Place in a bowl butter and cream cheese; use a mixer with dough hook. Mix until blended well. Add 2 cups flour. Mix until all ingredients are mixed well. Pinch about a heaping teaspoon size of dough and roll into a ball. Place in a tart pan and press the dough to form a mini tart. Place pan in oven for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and gently punch down with a Tart Tapper (or as grannie did with thimble on your finger and swirl around.) Centers tend to rise, so you gently push them down. You will tap down 3 times – baking for a total of 20 minutes. Shells should be slightly golden brown. Place on cookie sheet lined with a paper towel. It will absorb some of the excess butter.
Let tart shells cool slightly.

Place a small scoop of apple filling in each shell; top with a small spoon of apple mixture sauce. Each shell should be about ¾ filled with Apple Filler. (You may have excess sauce, but no worries – it is AMAZING over Vanilla ice cream!)

Now it’s Caramel Time! This step requires a double boiler, or you can do like I did and use any old glass bowl that fits over your saucepan. Place your unwrapped caramels into a glass bowl with the evaporated milk. Then, get a saucepan boiling with a couple inches of water. Place the whole glass bowl with caramels and milk OVER saucepan with water, reduce heat to medium, and whisk until caramels are melted. Don’t let pan run out of water, I’ve done that, and it’s not good. Caramels are ready when completely smooth – about 5 minutes.

Back to your shells waiting patiently for caramel; now, top them little beauties off with caramel to the rim. If it seeps over, no worries; It will still taste amazing! Let cool.

As caramel topping is cooling, you can make your frosting. Start by beating together butter and all-vegetable shortening. Then add sugar and whip it good. Next, add vanilla and evaporated milk. It will look like a sloppy mess at first. Beat until it is a smooth creamy frosting. Place into a frosting tool. I use a star shaped tip. Swirl around from outside to center and lift. Makes a cute little top.

Sprinkle them beautiful little Pearls with pecans. Now you should have yourself a delicate bite size beautiful looking Pioneer Pearl. Warning it’s like the best little tiny pecan caramel apple pie topped with yummy frosting.
Try not to eat 10 on the first day. Good Luck!

April Cutler – Applegate, Michigan

3rd Place – Grandma’s Apple Bourbon Dumplings

6 Michigan Northern Spy or Ida Red apples, peeled and cored-leave whole
1 Tablespoon Pioneer brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter

2 cups Pioneer granulated sugar
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup butter
Cook first 4 ingredients for 5 minutes, then add butter. Dough:
2 cups flour
¾ cup Crisco Butter shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup milk
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces cream cheese

Dough: In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, cream cheese, lemon zest; add milk. Roll out into large rectangle and cut into six – 6 x 5-inch squares. Place apples on dough. Place butter, brown sugar and cinnamon inside of apple. Pinch dough together and place in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour the sauce around the dumplings and bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes, 35 minutes uncovered and the remaining 35 minutes covered with a tent of foil.

Caramel Bourbon Sauce:
1 cup Pioneer granulated sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Bourbon
Pinch of salt

Simmer sugar and ¼ cup water on medium heat, swirling pan NOT stirring for about 15 minutes or until a deep amber color is reached. Watch closely as not to let burn. Turn off burner and remove from heat and slowly add cream while stirring. Add pinch of salt and bourbon and place back on still-warm burner for another minute while stirring. Transfer to a heat safe dish or bottle and let cool. After dumplings are cooled for an hour, serve with the caramel bourbon sauce.


Susan Datte – Freeland, Michigan

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