Easy sticky buns with apple bits tucked into the cinnamon-sugar filling are just right for dessert or tea time. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This is one of my favorite autumn dinners because it gathers so many of those fall flavors we look forward to. There’s the aromatic roast pork festooned with herbs, a seasonal salad highlighted with baked and bejeweled pears and, lastly, candified pastries to serve up with a hot cup of your favorite tea or a glass of mulled cider, complete with cloves and a cinnamon stick.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundys Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

You know my motto: “Celebrate the season with good food!”

Herb-marinated Pork Tenderloins

Zest from 1 large lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 (1 pound each) pork tenderloins
Freshly ground black pepper and salt

Combine lemon zest and juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, herbs, mustard and salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add tenderloins and turn to coat with marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate pork in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove tenderloins from marinade. Discard marinade. Sprinkle meat generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10-15 minutes or until they register 145 degrees at the thickest part.

Transfer tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 6 servings

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese

3 ripe, firm Anjou pears
Juice of 3 lemons
3 ounces blue cheese, coarsely crumbled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons port
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups spring greens
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel pears and cut in half lengthwise. Remove cores and seeds and cut a small slice away from the rounded side of each pear to keep them steady when filling and baking. Toss pears with lemon juice and set them core side up in a baking dish.

Toss blue cheese, cranberries and walnuts together and divide among the pears. Whisk together apple juice, port and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over and around pears, reserving 1/4 cup.

Bake, basting every 5-10 minutes with the apple-port liquid until tender (about 40 minutes). Remove and cool.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and 1/4 cup basting liquid. Toss with greens and divide among six plates. Top each salad with a pear half and season with salt and pepper. Yield: 6 servings

Apple Sticky Buns

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped in large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed


2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup Cortland apples, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a larger, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 tablespoon mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute walnuts evenly on top of butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a clean surface and unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border at the edges of the puff pastry, sprinkle with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 cup apples. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up like a jelly roll, pressing the edges together to seal in the filling.

Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces. Place each piece, spiral side up, in six of the muffin cups. Repeat these directions with the second puff pastry sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for only 5 minutes then invert the buns onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, scraping any extra filling onto the buns. Cool completely. Yield: 12 buns

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