Butter Pie Crust

So I had been trying to think of what kind of pie to make for Pi Day. I do love this idea of Pi Day. It makes me smile. It also pushes me to make pie in the early spring instead of my usually fall pie baking season.

First thing, I want to make sure to make my own crust, which I don’t always do – sad, I know, but I’m going to find a good and kind of foolproof pie crust because this little fool needs some help in that department.

Wait for it – I found a great pie crust recipe – woo hoo! Yes, I am a total dork.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp table salt
16 Tbs unsalted butter, very cold*

In a measuring cup, add ice cubes, and fill with cold tap water. Put flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Dice butter into small pieces and sprinkle on the flour mixture. Pulse mixture until the butter is kind of like small peas.

Add the cold water, but no ice cubes, to the mixture a tablespoon at a time and pulse a few times. Add more water as needed until the dough come together in bigger clumps. Dump the dough out on a slightly floured work surface and kneed a couple time until it comes together.

Divide dough in half and press into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight. Dough can be kept in the fridge for a week or freeze, once double wrapped, for about a month.

Notes: * I took my butter right out of the freezer. Which is where I store butter. It is a good place.

This dough was so easy to work with. I was slightly astonished by it  but very pleased at the same time.

I cannot wait to make another pie with this crust. It is so easy to work with. This is now my D&D_1269go-to pie crust.  I do love my food processor – yep – that is how a pie crust comes together.

I so wish I had a picture of this pie crust, but I think the apple walnut pie may show it. It really is kind of nice.

 

 

Apple Walnut Pie

Yep – this is Pi Day. And I actually prepared ahead of time for it. Who knew?  Well, I knew, because there is pretty much no way I’m doing anything in the kitchen on a Monday (groan). D&D_1269

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
Butter Pie Crust, chilled and rolled out into a pie plate and chilled again

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pie pan with cooking spray. Roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch and spread over pie pan tucking excess dough into sides. Crimp around the edges. It is so pretty.

In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in apples and walnuts. Pour into pie shell.

Bake until crust is golden and filling is set, 50 – 60 minutes. Let cool before serving a cuple of hours or overnight.

Notes: I kind of did the pie because I had apples and walnuts and the filling was so brown sugar-laden that I could not help myself. It is damn near amazing, and I not one to give fawning praise, but stupid good could apply in this case. I think I will be eating this for breakfast tomorrow – no matter how wrong that seems. Don’t care.

Apple Carrot Muffins – Leap Day

Leap Day – 29 February 2016

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Carrot, Apple, Walnut Muffins

I don’t think there is any Leap Day food, I look at is an extra day to make something in the kitchen. Bake, cook, maybe trying something new.

Yes, I think try something new. But what?

So after the Boy and I made an excellent carrot cake from a recipe from my friend we had some extra grated carrots left and I remembered having recently seen this recipe and thought it looked good. Also nice that I had everything on hand. Bonus! Another breakfast food, at least in my opinion. Carrot, Apples, Walnuts – um, duh.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated carrots, about 3
1 1/2 cups grated Granny Smith Apple, about 2
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans if you can get good ones)

Frosting:
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
4 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Find some spiffy cupcake liners (this is a new thing for me). Line cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a measuring cup, mix together oil and eggs. Break the eggs up. Make a well and add oil and eggs, mix to combine. The add carrots, apples, and walnuts.

Spoon batter into liners, 3/4 full. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Sift in confectioner’s sugar. Apply frosting to cooled cupcakes.

Source: adapted from a recipe at Simply Recipes.

I made these one night and thought I would frost them the next day but I tried one after they had cooled a bit and decided to skip the frosting. They are great with no frosting. Even MotH likes them and that is saying something. I guess if you frost them then you can call them cupcakes. But I’ll stick with the un-frosted muffin. Besides, that way I can eat them for breakfast and feel good about eating carrots, apples, and walnuts …. for breakfast!! Woo Hoo!

Bolzano Apple Cake

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Bolzano Apple Cake

I looked at this recipe because it was a simple apple cake that seems similar to a clafoutis which I made a bit of a meh attempt this summer with fresh peaches. Will have to figure out a better version the next time. But when you read the details of this recipe, it gets more interesting and more charming.

In regards to it being similar to a clafoutis,  recipe wise in that I am correct. There isn’t much flour, but a good bit of butter, infused with vanilla bean and that, to me, is always a good idea. Some eggs and lots of my favorite apples, Granny Smith. They are always my go to apples. This is from northern Italy, near Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein and is delicate, but rich as well. It is a perfect delivery for apples – simple and wickedly good at the same time.

Bolzano Apple Cake
Scott Carsberg in the New York Times

4 oz (1 stick) butter
1 vanilla bean
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (4 medium-sized)
1/2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C whole milk at room temperature *

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” x 2 1/2” round cake pan with butter and flour and line with parchment. Grease and flour the parchment, tapping the pan to remove any excess.

Melt the butter over low heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the butter. Add the vanilla pod and keep on low heat for a couple of minutes, swirling gently. (The idea is to infuse the butter with the vanilla, not to brown the butter.) Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the lemon juice and lemon zest into a bowl big enough to hold the apple slices. Peel, quarter and core apples. Slice thinly and add to the bowl, tossing gently with the lemon juice and zest as you go. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Whip the eggs and the sugar until the mixture is light in color, thickened, tripled in volume and forms a ribbon when drizzled from the beater. This takes about 5 minutes on a stand mixer on medium high speed.

Remove vanilla pod from the butter and gently fold the butter into sugar-egg mixture. Fold a third of the flour into the batter alternately with half of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the apples until every piece is coated with batter. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the batter and apples evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the pan and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for another 25 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan, gently remove the parchment and invert onto a serving platter.

* totally forgot to do this.

Source: NYTimes
Pastry Studio

Apple Cake “Tatin”

It is the time of year that I start thinking about apples (and pears). I have a great apple cake recipe that I make for The Boy – D&D_IMG_0779-EditSour Cream Butterscotch Apple Upside-Down Cake. It’s dreamy. No really, not kidding, even though the name is long and I never seem to put all the words in the same order. Sometimes I make it for Thanksgiving, sometimes in the spring for his birthday. Apples are great anytime, but they, to my mind, really are fall fruits.

I like this idea because it plays on the classic tart Tatin which, by definition, is “A famous French upside-down apple tart made by covering the bottom of a shallow baking dish with butter and sugar, then apples and finally a pastry crust.”*

I’ll admit to some trepidation about this recipe, but it was really only the part that involved a candy thermometer. Even though I have a good bit of candy making (sugar work) experience, sugar can go south so fast, but my Thermopen and careful watching saved the day. Thank you Ina Garten!

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces or more as you see pictured – yep, that’s just me.
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down. Okay, there are two cut sides – um, yep there are.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 D&D_IMG_0782-Editminutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
* Food Lover’s Companion, p.620.

I’m sorry, but this cake is only slightly amazing.
I dub you – breakfast apple cake!
And this will make an appearance at the Thanksgiving table – a high honor indeed. Plus the MotH liked it too which is nothing short of amazing. It is not too sweet and the apples baked up to perfection.D&D_IMG_0793-Edit

9 October 2015

Apple Turnovers (chausson aux pommes – apple slippers)

This recipe is a bit time consuming but not really difficult, but it is so worth it because it tastes just like the fried apple pies that my grandmother (Nettie McLean Fields) used to make.  I just imagine that since she used canned biscuit dough, dried apples, and an electric skillet, that her’s were, somehow, easier. But maybe that’s my imagination talking. I did add up the times to get a sense of how to have it ready for dessert for Christmas Eve – here’s what I have: 10-15 minutes to sauté apples, but get the puff pastry out about 30 minutes before to thaw. Then 10 more mins in the freezer and another rest of 30 minutes in the fridge. And then another 15  – 20  to bake, so … um, guess this involves math now – not my strong suit. But here goes: Get going about 90 minutes ahead of when you want to serve.

Might, next time, sprinkle some some kind of sugar on the top for a little bit of crunch. That could be good, since it’s not overly sweet to begin with (hate ending a sentence like that) (or like that – ugh.) Please see notes below.

Apple Turnovers

  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 x 1″ slices
  • 1 1/2  tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • dash freshly grated nutmeg (must be freshly grated – really!)
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs whole milk
  • 1 package (14 – 16 ozs) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Apple Turnover

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in a large saucepan and stir to combine and coat apples. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Set a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour in apple mixture   Let apples cool to room temperature and reserve juice in the bowl.

When apple ply mixture has cooled, whisk together the egg and milk in small bowl until the egg is broken up, set aside. Spread a sheet of puff pastry on lightly floured surface. Dust pastry lightly with flour and using a rolling pin, roll into 12 inch square. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the uneven edges and cut dough into four equal squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheet and place in freezer until firm, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a 1 inch border on the edges of the dough with egg wash. Reserve egg wash. Spoon 1/4 of apple mixture in middle of each square and fold dough in half to form a triangle. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut a few slits in the top of each pastry with the tip of a paring knife. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees and arrange rack in the middle.

Remove the turnovers from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown and flaky, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm, drizzled with reserve juice.

Thank you – Chow.com for bringing back a memory.

24 Dec 2014

Notes: Well, this recipe says it’s for a package of puff pastry, but for four turnovers, it’s only one sheet of pastry. Pretty easy to double for eight, but it’s not accurate on that point.