Holiday Apple Pie

November 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

You may have noticed that this blog has been on a little hiatus lately. What with visitors, holidays, travels, etc. as I’m sure you’re all too aware, it’s very easy to let hobbies slip by the wayside. So I’m offering this, the quintessential Apple Pie recipe, as an apology and a promise that I will never abandon this little blog completely!

Using a mix of Granny Smith and Gala apples keeps the pie balanced with sweet and tart.

So back to the pie. I read Emily Schuman’s Cupcakes and Cashmere every week and when she posted this recipe claiming it tackled her biggest pie fears (namely being overly sweet and mushy), I knew I would be trying it this holiday season. So when we trekked out to Give Thanks last week, I couldn’t wait to have this in tow.

Another dough endeavor sans mixer sounded really intimidating. Fortunately, I learned this handy tip: freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour and rub the flour-coated pieces in your hand. That’s right, what you see in the picture above is a giant mound of shaved butttaa.

Add in 6-8 tbsp. ice water until you get the consistency you want–when the dough sticks together

While your dough is chilling in the refrigerator, it’s time to peel and core and slice your apples. And this takes probably longer than you will take. The recipe calls for 4 lbs. of apples but I had at least 2 full apples left over so I think you can get away with 3 small apples of each kind (and this will help shave off a little time). Preheat the oven to 425 °.

I like super thin, probably less than 1/4 inch thick

Toss the sliced apples with 3/4 cup sugar and lemon juice and zest and allspice and cinnamon. I thought the lemon flavor was a little too strong so I would cut what the recipe calls for in half.

Roll out one of the pie shells until it is about 12 inches and place over a 9-inch Pyrex. There should be some extra hanging off the edge. Pile in the apples with the juices and form a mound in the center. Roll out the the dough ball and place on top.

Once the top is on brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 425° when the crust is golden and then reduce heat to 375° and continue baking until juices bubble and the crust is a deep golden brown.

Let cool for four house and enjoy! Serve with vanilla ice cream (obvi).

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Book Club- “Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home”

June 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I first read this book soon after moving to New York.. To give some perspective, I was 22, being paid in miniature peanuts (not literally, but you get the gist) and sharing a studio apartment with a friend (sleeping head-to-toe in a queen bed). And then here is Kim Sunée–with just one year on me, she is beautiful, exotic, and in possession of an international businessman millionaire boyfriend who whisks her off to the French countryside to cook luxurious dinner parties and lounge by the pool. I must have done something terribly, terribly wrong.

But Kim is deeply dissatisfied with her position and place.  Abandoned by her mother at just 3 years old in a South Korean market and then adopted by a family from New Orleans, she is on a life-long quest of self discovery. She isolates herself from her family, living abroad and is wooed by the founder of L’Occitaine and finds herself his mistress in his enormous house in Provence and globe-trotting around the world with him. Though her situation and misery may be a little unrelatable, the book is still a really enjoyable look into the life of the frenchmen–the strong relations of neighbors, the daily trips to the market. And of course, I love when recipes are included. I also like that some are just tips so you they are easy to apply to whatever you have. For example, some ways she recommends to use truffles:

“Toss cooked fettuccini with cream and shave truffles over. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, a crack of pepper and, if desired, Parmiagiano-Reggiano.” And “Toast baguette slices. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; sprinkle with fleur de sel and shave truffle slices over.” SO easy, even I can do that.

I’ve had at least 3 PERFECT peaches this week–so ripe the juice dribbles down my chin and I have to eat the whole thing as fast as possible. For this reason, I think this recipe stood out for me and I can’t wait to try it:

Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena

6 medium-size ripe wild peaches
1 (750-ml) bottle Lillet Blanc
1/3 cup sugar
2 to 3 tbsp. honey
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
Squeeze of fresh orange juice (from  quarter) 4 to 5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs, plus leaves for garnish.

Cut an X in blossom end of each peach. Plunge in boiling water, about 30 seconds. remove and peel peaches. Place peeled peaches in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour Lillet Blanc over. Add sugar, honey, orange rind and juice. Gently crush lemon verbena leaves with hands to release fragrance and add sprigs to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and poach, occasionally turning peaches gently for even cooking, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on ripeness) or until peaches are tender when pierced gently with tip of knife. Carefully remove peaches and place in a  large serving bowl. Turn heat to high and cook poaching liquid 6 to 8 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Pour over peaches. Let cool and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with more lemon verbena leaves. This is also delicious with a swirl of creme fraiche or soft vanilla ice crème fraîche and grated Amaretti di Saronno cookies. Serves 6

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