Posted by: csdailyblog | November 13, 2009

Weekend Activity: Cooking with Apples

job, angie, matt, natalia

Job, Angie, Matt, and Natalia peel and chop apples.

Last weekend I offered “cooking with apples” as an activity at the Donahue House Student Apartment. I know the girls bake a lot in Elaine House, but I assumed the Donahue Apartment kitchen wasn’t getting much of a work-out. So I toted to the apartment all the basic baking ingredients: flour, white and brown sugar, shortening, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg, along with several different types of Wisconsin apples excellent for baking: Cortland, Macintosh, Jonathon, and Haralson (such a true northern Wisconsin name).

Several students dropped in over the course of the evening and tried their hands at peeling and slicing apples and mixing and rolling out pie crust — the real thing, no ready-made crusts allowed. Students found paring and slicing the apples the biggest challenge. Most of them had never attempted to peel an apple before and didn’t know where to begin or how to hold the knife to slice a thin peel, as opposed to taking away a good chunk of apple along with the peel. In the end, though, students peeled and sliced enough apples to fill a gigantic bowl and to make two pies and one apple crisp. The students had good luck with the pastry cutter and rolling pin, and they turned out excellent crusts, not an easy feat. I had fun showing the students the mechanics of peeling the apples, cutting shortening into flour, and adding neither too much nor too little water to the mix to make a crust that is flakey but doesn’t fall apart. The finished products were outstanding. Check out the photo of the gorgeous pie the students made.

While some students baked, others drifted in and out of the living room, chatting and watching TV together. Some of the girls were trying to keep the channel on “Say Yes to the Dress” while most of the boys, and a few of the girls, were trying to keep the channel on football. They all settled amicably on Comedy Central instead.

The student apartment adds a lot of ambience to the dorm. It’s a great spot for students to mix, relax, bake, eat, and enjoy a homey environment.

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