Starry Apple Pie

It is now actually cold. Winter has set in, at least for the week. It was actually cold enough to warrant turning on the heat. We’ll see how long it lasts. In the meantime, it is perfect for enjoying the winter desserts that we all love. Rocker Dude asked for Apple Pie, with whipped cream. So though it had been a while, I pulled out my trusty dusty apple pie recipe and whipped up a nice comforting pie.

Starry Apple Pie
Starry Apple Pie

I have been making this pie for years. It’s a combination of a few recipes and it always comes out awesome. The filling has a little spice and the apples are not mushy and the crust is so delicious.

I have always used my standard 9 inch Pyrex pie plate to make all my pies, but last summer I treated myself to a deep dish pie plate with a fluted rim. This has made such a difference to my pies. The filling/crust ratio now feels more balanced, the rim holds the crust edge much better and overall, the pies come out more aesthetically pleasing.

I had filled the pie and was rolling out the top crust when I decided to make a lattice top instead of a solid top. With the extra dough, the Little Rocker and I cut out little stars to stick on top of the pie crust.

It looked great – the Little Rocker is really good at scattering the stars ;).

I added vanilla bean paste to the whipped cream so it made quite a treat when served – warmed, spiced apple pie with a pile of vanilla whipped cream on top. Perfect winter dessert.

The original Rocker Dude Family
The original Rocker Dude Family

In other news, we were witness to a lightning visit made by Rocker Dude’s sister and her youngest kid. They came to Israel for a week and we had to make the most of it. She came for the weekend as did the grandparents and we all had a great time – complete with trips to the emergency room. (What kind of trip would it be without one?)

A nice picture
A nice picture
Rocker Dude and his sister - their true selves.
Rocker Dude and his sister – their true selves.

You would think that because the Little Rocker went through all the effort of helping me with making the pie that she might actually eat it, but no. When dessert came, all she wanted was some whipped cream :). You win some, you lose some.

Apple Pie
Apple Pie

Recipe:
I used a double recipe of this pie crust recipe.

Filling:
6 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced, I like to use Gala, Fuji, Pink Crispy, or Granny Smith apples
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depends on the sweetness of the apples)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 egg white

Whipped Cream:
1 250 mL pareve whipped topping or heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Mix all ingredients for the filling together, except the egg white, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out half of the dough after it has chilled and line a 9 inch pie plate, leaving a 1 inch overhang.
Place pie plate in the refrigerator and roll out the top crust.
Brush the bottom crust with egg white and pour in the filling, including all the juices. Lay the top crust over the filling and crimp the edges. Alternatively you can cut the top crust into thin strips and weave a lattice over the filling. If you have a solid top, make sure to cut some vents to allow steam to escape.
Brush the crust with egg white. Stay away from the edge as it will brown faster on its own.
If you have extra dough after you crimp the edges, feel free to cut out shapes to place on top of the crust. Brush the shapes with egg white. You can sprinkle some sugar over the top if you want.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling bubbles. If the crust browns before the filling is done, tent the pie with some tin foil.
While the pie is baking, whip your whipped cream ingredients together until fluffy.
Let the pie cool for at least an hour before eating.

Advertisements

Chocolate….Silk Pie

And now for something a little different. No stone fruit this week. This week is all about chocolate. Smooth and silky and rich chocolate.

Creamy chocolate.
Creamy chocolate.

For the past few weeks I have been really enjoying the peach season. Unfortunately, the cherry crop this year was not so successful so I am having trouble letting myself buy a tiny container of cherries for an exorbitant amount of money. It’s just not happening this year. Hopefully next year there will be a better crop and I can add some variety to the stone fruit season. Even apricots seemed to have an unusually short season this year. They were in stores for about a month, maybe less. I feel like I turned around and they were gone. So I apologize for the lack of apricot recipes as well.Chocolate Silk Pie

But enough of fruit. I know what you all really love, chocolate! And to think that when I was a kid I hated chocolate.  Apparently I just never had any well-made chocolate desserts until I was an adult. When I was trying to decide what to make this week, I honestly felt at a loss. Actually it was more than that – there is a Hebrew expression – choser onim – which basically means helpless, but much more so – like you have no direction and you can’t see success anywhere. That was me. I had no idea what to make – for dinner, for dessert – nada. So I started with what I needed to use – the vegetables from our csa. Okay, pumpkin souffle. Done, Chicken… prepared bbq sauce. Done. Dessert… okay now we are stumped.  Fruit? Not really in the mood for making a pie crust. Chocolate? What about it? Just brownies or something fancier? On top of my indecision, I also had social events to plan around, first and foremost  was Rocker Dude’s premier as a singer!

Rocker Dude got involved in a Linkin Park tribute show and auditioned to rap for two of the songs – “Bleed it Out” and “Faint”. Not only that, but he started the show!! So I, as a supportive wife, had to go to the show in Tel Aviv on Thursday night (seriously putting a dent in my Thursday night prep time). It was great to hear Rocker Dude sing, and I am also a huge fan of Linkin Park in general and they played all of their older music so it was an enjoyable show all around. Go Rocker Dude!

The Little Rocker adds whipped cream.
The Little Rocker adds whipped cream.

Back to our baking dilemma, on Thursday afternoon I went to a baking supply store to get vanilla extract (they have the quality stuff) and some high quality chocolate. (And I wanted to buy out the whole store.) I then stopped at the supermarket for a few more things, like figs. And that messed up the amorphous thoughts of dessert floating through my mind. Chocolate or figs?

In order to make help make my decision, I narrowed down the options. Rocker Dude has rules about when he helps me make decisions. First, I have to narrow down the options to the two or three options that I think are best. Then he will decide between what is left. So I gave him the options of Chocolate Silk Pie and Fig, Honey-Almond Tart. As he is a man of simple tastes (and figs are not one of them), you can imagine what he chose – the Chocolate Silk Pie. But he said that it shouldn’t be too chocolatey. Oy.

After licking the spatula.
After licking the spatula.

This pie is a rich, creamy dessert that really showcases the chocolate. With a chocolate cookie crust, a truffle filling and a whipped cream topping, it is decadence personified. Can a dessert be personified? Hmm.

This is  a multi-step dessert, involving pasteurizing eggs (no no one gets food poisoning or anything) and then chilling the chocolate filled pie and topping with whipped cream. This dessert is really rich and delicious and even for me – one piece is enough, but so worth it.

Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Silk Pie

It is also a great summer dessert as the pie is nice and cool. Hopefully next week we will have the Fig Honey-Almond Tart. Rocker Dude will have to suffer with it then :).

Also, a sponsored announcement right now. On August 22nd, Rocker Dude is producing an amazing tribute rock concert: Rock4Rookies Live!!! He is celebrating 5 years of his podcast with a concert by some of Israel’s best rockers. So anyone who will be in Israel then should come to the show!! The link to the Facebook event is here. Now you all know why we call him Rocker Dude! And check out his show here.

Recipe (From The Art and Soul of Baking):

Crust:
7 oz. chocolate sandwich cookies
3/4 stick butter/margarine, melted

Filling:
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 stick butter/margarine
10 oz. good quality bittersweet or a mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate (up to 70% cacao)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grind up the cookies in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.  Set aside about 1/4 of crumbs to top the pie. Mix the crumbs with the butter or margarine. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a pie plate and up the sides as well. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely.

In a heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. In a saucepan, heat two inches of water. Reduce to simmer and place the bowl over the pot. Keep whisking the egg mixture together as you slowly heat it. Using an instant read thermometer, heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. If some of your eggs scrambled, pour the mixture through a sieve into the mixing bowl so that you don’t get egg clumps. Beat the eggs on high speed for three minutes.

While the eggs are beating, add the chocolate, cream and margarine to the bowl over the pot of boiling water. Let sit for a minute and then gently mix until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture while the mixer is still going at medium speed. Mix until there is no longer a trace of the eggs. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Pour the chocolate into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the topping, beat the cream and confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl until you have soft peaks. You can pipe the cream decoratively over the chocolate or use a spatula. Sprinkle reserved cookie crumbs over the cream.

The pie will keep in the fridge for three days, though the cream might start to break down after the first day.

Peach Pie Crumble – Summer is here!

Millions of peaches, peaches for free. Millions of peaches, peaches for me. It’s stone fruit season! Woohoo!

Stone fruit season is the harbinger of summer.  Let me tell you, I didn’t need a peach to tell me that the temperatures were going up and that the sun has come for good and doesn’t plan on giving us a rest until November. When the laundry dried in under five hours, it was kind of a giveaway. Also, if you go outside and it feels like someone has a blow dryer blowing on you – also kind of a giveaway.  Though, I have to admit it is not unbearable yet. There are even some days when we don’t need to turn on the air conditioner. There is something about this weather that just calls out for a nice juicy peach.  That has to be the reason why they ripen just at this time of year.

Last week’s special was peach pie… with a crumble topping.  So peach crumble… in a pie crust. So peach pie crumble! (Actually I used nectarines, so Nectarine Pie Crumble if we want to get technical.) I was so excited to make the first stone fruit dessert of the season.  I got a whole bunch of peaches and nectarines and then I didn’t know what to do with them.  I spent Friday morning browsing through the cookbooks, thought about making peach dumplings, but wasn’t in the mood. I wanted to make a peach pie and I couldn’t find the recipe that I was “feeling”. Also, I didn’t have the energy to try and steal five minutes on the computer from Rocker Dude to browse online. In The Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer I found a list of easy fruit pie fillings.  One was a peach pie. So this pie is inspired a bit from there, and a bit from what I had in the house.

A slice of pie. Sorry for the poor lighting, it was late and there was only one piece of pie left. I didn't want to wait until morning when there would be no pie left.
A slice of pie. Sorry for the poor lighting, it was late and there was only one piece of pie left. I didn’t want to wait until morning when there would be no pie left.

The little bro came over for the weekend, and even though he is usually a fan of my baking, he decided to have babka for his dessert instead.  (Granted, I made that as well, but apparently he wasn’t feeling the pie thing.) I was very disappointed in him.  I guess if I had made a strawberry shortcake, he would have dug right in. At least this time, Rocker Dude liked the pie.  Which is interesting, because I used almond extract in the filling and he hates almonds and almond extract.  Don’t tell him that he liked something with almond in it – I have to win somewhere :).

Peach Pie Crumble
Peach Pie Crumble

I had some crumble topping in the freezer left over from an apple crumble that I made who-knows-when, and I am really attempting to clean up what is in the house and use what already exists before I go shopping for more. Ergo, use already made crumble topping on pie – great solution. I was worried that the crumble might get soggy in the peach juices but it totally stayed crunchy.  I recently read somewhere that in restaurants, in order to keep the crumble crunchy, they bake the fruit and crumble topping separately and then right before serving, they reheat the fruit with the crumble topping to make a cohesive dish.  Great trick!

I can’t wait to make more things with the new crop of peaches, nectarines and apricots! Stay tuned!

Recipe:

Crust:Half of this recipe, made until the chill step
1 egg white

Filling:
6-7 medium sized peaches, peeled, or nectarines, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon juice

Topping:
1 stick butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

While your dough is chilling, mix together the ingredients for the filling. Let it macerate while you make the topping and roll out the dough.

Place all the topping ingredients into a bowl.  With a pastry cutter, or your hands, gently incorporate the butter/margarine into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly and holds together when you squeeze a bit in your hands.  Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about an 1/8 inch thickness.  Gently place in a 9 inch pie pan and crimp the edges decoratively. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white over the bottom of the crust to help prevent sogginess.  Then add the filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Generously sprinkle the crumble on top of the filling and place the pie into the oven.

Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, until the crust edges are slightly browned and the filling is bubbling. Let cool on a cooling rack. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Back from Vacation and a Peach Pie

Hello everyone, we are back from America, back into the swing of things, and Rocker Dude just went back to work this week!  I know I should be happy that he has vacation, and teachers do work really hard, but still, when I have to be out of the house by 7:15 and he is still in bed,  I can’t help but be a teensy weensy bit jealous. But it’s all over now.  The Little Rocker went back to school today too, so I no longer have a junior assistant at work :).  It is the end of summer.
But before we say goodbye, there are definitely some memories to share (and if we could only get around to printing all those pictures that we took, we could see them too).  While we were in the states, we spent a lot of time with family (duh!) and assorted cousins on both sides.

The Little Rocker and her cousin H. make silly faces for the camera.

We also had some adventures.  I am not going to talk about the flight adventures, but suffice it to say, Rocker Dude was not impressed with Air Europa.

On a brighter note, we went peach and corn picking with some cousins.  The Little Rocker was not so impressed with the peaches I have to say, even though there were trees with branches low enough for her to reach.  But the other cousins were more than happy to make up for it and we picked a giant box full of peaches and nectarines.

The Little Rocker and her cousins show off their flowers at the farm. There was no way we were going to get all of them to look at the camera at once – at least they’re all smiling.

But when I offered corn picking the Little Rocker jumped at the chance and we went into the “corn forest”.

The Corn Forest!!!

We also went to see the Statue of Liberty.  The Little Rocker has been dying to see it ever since she saw the WonderPets episode where the WonderPets had to save a pigeon who was falling off the Statue’s nose.

At the Statue

As the Statue is currently undergoing renovations, we couldn’t actually go up, but it did not stop the Little Rocker from trying to find the pigeon that needed help. What she really enjoyed was the ferry ride though.

On the Ferry.
On the Ferry with Uncle A.

Because we had so many peaches, my mom asked me to please do something with them, so for Shabbat I made a peach pie that I had found on Smitten Kitchen’s site.  The recipe was simple enough and all her stuff is delicious.  While my family is not particularly picky about desserts and they care more about taste than anything else (which makes sense I guess), I figured that a lattice pie would not go unappreciated. Another thing that did not go unappreciated was a certain cinnamony treat that I had to make multiple times and was in demand every morning for breakfast.

Unfortunately, my mother still does not have a pie plate.  This is the second time that I have wanted to make a pie at their house and they have not had a pie plate – even a disposable one!  So this time I just made do with a disposable cake pan.

All ready for the oven.

The pie was enjoyed all around, even Rocker Dude liked it!

Peach Pie.

Recipe (From Smitten Kitchen):

Crust
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
1 tablespoons (15 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks (225 grams, 8 ounces, or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold

Filling
About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (approximately 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (use 1/3 cup for a sweeter pie)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch

To finish
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar

Make your pie dough: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large. Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. (You can also do this in a food processor.) Gently stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.

Filling: Halve and pit the peaches, then into about 1/3-inch thick slices. You’ll want 6 cups; it’s okay if you go a little over. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, stir together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch until evenly mixed. Add to peaches and toss to evenly coat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Flour your counter, unwrap your first dough (if the two pieces look uneven, go for the smaller one) and put it in the middle and flour that too. Roll it out until you have a 12- to 13-inch circle. Then transfer pie dough to a standard pie dish. Trim the overhang to one inch.

Scoop filling into bottom pie dough, including any accumulated juices. Roll out your top pie dough using the same procedure, until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. If you’d like to make a regular lidded pie, use it as is, cutting some decorative vents in the pie lid before baking. To make a lattice-top pie, cut the pie dough into strips anywhere from 1/2 to 1-inch wide with a pastry wheel, pizza wheel or knife. Arrange every other strip across your pie filling in one direction, spacing the strips evenly. Fold back every other strip gently on itself and add the longest remaining strip in the other direction. Fold the strips back down, repeat with the other strips until a full lattice-top is formed. Trim the lattice’s overhang to the diameter of the pie dish’s rim. Gently fold the rim of the bottom crust over the lattice strips and crimp decoratively.

Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake pie for another 30 to 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling all over and the crust is a nice golden brown. If the pie lid browns too quickly at any point in the baking process, you can cover it with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning.

Cool pie for three hours at room temperature before serving – keep in mind that the pie filling does not fully thicken until it is fully cool. Pie can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge; from the fridge, it will be even thicker.

Fresh Apple Pie on a Diet

Who loves apple pie but always feels guilty for wanting more than two pieces? Definitely me.  Anyone else out there?  Well for all you people, here is the perfect recipe.  It’s also really quick so you have no excuses. And after you’ve eaten the cinnamon buns from the previous post, you may be ready for these.

Baked Apple Pie

The idea came from a picture that E. pinned me? pinterested me? what’s the verb for using Pinterest? She found it on Pinterest and sent it to me. You can check it out here.  We are talking apple pies with no bottom crust!  Just baked apple! What an ingenious idea.  You still get that pie crust flavor from the top crust and you don’t have to worry about a soggy bottom crust because it is an apple – if it is not soggy then you are in trouble.

We decided to use Granny Smith apples for the base and then fill them with apple pie filling made from Jonathan apples.  This was the perfect treat for movie night, put into the oven right before the movie started and ready 30 minutes later.

Conveniently I had a small amount of pie crust left over from a previous pie-making session (recipe here), and it was the perfect amount to cover these apples.

While waiting for E. and A. to make it over, I prepared my all-purpose pie filling (something else that needs to be posted) which is basically sliced apples, a tad of cinnamon and sugar and a bit of lemon juice.  You can also add other spices such as cardamom or nutmeg or allspice if you want.

When E. came over, I quickly cored the Granny Smith apples that she brought  and left a small border of apple under the skin.  Then I stuffed them with the apple pie filling.  I rolled out the dough and cut it into thin strips to make a lattice. Bear in mind that this whole process took about 8-10 minutes.  After latticing the top – into the oven they went! And 35 minutes later – fresh baked apple pie!  It’s like the best of both worlds – baked apple and apple pie. This is the perfect TV watching snack for the winter.

Apple Pies all in a Row (please ignore the cookies next to the pan, they are for another post on linzer cookies - stay tuned!)

Also, something I noted while eating the apple – Mission Impossible 3 has almost nothing to do with the other Mission Impossibles and the story line is so not Mission Impossible. Sorry to throw that in here, just something I noticed.

Enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Pie

I know it is a bit late, but I promised you all Apple-Cranberry Pie.  So here it is.  I had intended to make it for Sukkot, but transporting a pie on the bus to be eaten a few days later is just not a good idea.  So I made it for Shabbat last week and it was delish.

 Apple-Cranberry Pie

The reason it has taken me so long to make this pie is because we have been busy over Sukkot and just now are getting back to normal.  Also, now that the holidays are over, people have come back from their travels overseas and we can see them again.

We spent most of the holiday in Jerusalem at Rocker Dude’s parents because they have a big sukkah and holidays are about family right? (Yes, yes, and food).

Being based in Jerusalem does have it’s advantages, though most of the attractions are outside the city.  We spent Shabbat of Sukkot in Beit Shemesh at our friends’ parents and had a great time there.  Thanks so much W.’s!  The Little Rocker especially loved the little fish pond outside the house and had so much fun deciding which fish belonged to which families. (Because every family has a father, mother and one baby right?)  Then on Monday we went to the Monkey Park in Ben Shemen.  I’m not sure who was more excited to go – Rocker Dude or the Little Rocker.  Rocker Dude has always had a thing for monkeys and somehow he managed to pass it on to the Little Rocker.  We obviously made sure to bring Momo, her constant simian companion, so that he could meet his cousins.  There was a section at the end where 30-40 squirrel monkeys were running loose all around the people walking through and the Little Rocker made sure to lift up Momo so that he could meet all those little monkeys.  She was most excited when she saw a baby squirrel monkey riding piggy back on the mommy monkey – now she knows I’m not crazy when I want to carry her piggy back.

We spent the last day of Sukkot, actually Simchat Torah, at our friends in Ginot Shomron and had a wonderful time.  The Little Rocker made sure to get her fair share of treats (though I have to admit that I hid most of them afterward when she wasn’t looking – saving them for prizes and things).  There was even a small horse ranch outside the town and we took the Little Rocker to go and feed the horsies.  She had a lot of fun, even if she fell down on a rock on the way and scraped her nose.  And then we came back home – finally.  It ain’t easy to be away for a week and living out of suitcases, but somehow we managed it.

We were invited out to friend’s for both Friday night and Shabbat lunch last week.  Now that the Little Rocker is older and Shabbat  comes in earlier, we can take her out at night and pretend that we have a life too ;).  I was asked by H. to bring a dessert.  Immediately I thought – “Apple-Cranberry Pie!  This is my chance!”  Now cranberries are usually a problem to find here in Israel as they are a cold weather fruit – something that doesn’t exist here (the weather I mean).  When I looked at the recipe though, one of the comments made was that the filling had a lot of liquid and the author was worried that the crust would get soggy.  So I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to use dried cranberries – problem solved!

Instead of using the pie crust that came with the recipe , I used Dorie’s Good For Almost Anything pie crust recipe.  I have used it before and we have an understanding.  I will make a good filling for it and it will behave and stay light and flaky.  It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.

The cranberry layer

The hardest part for me is always making the crust.  I love making pies and tarts but when I think about making the crust, all of a sudden I start getting lazy and I put off making whatever I was going to make.  That’s the point when I rethink my plan of making a pie and start looking for one-step recipes that don’t require chilling.  In my dream mansion (which will have a hover golf-cart so that we can get around all the land without messing up the gardens) I will have a huge freezer where I can make tons of pie dough and have it frozen in single-use size packages.  Then I never have to feel lazy again.  But until that magical future (hey – it could happen!) I just have to deal with what I have – i.e. a small freezer and no time.  So last week, in order to prevent the Friday afternoon laziness, I made the crust dough on Thursday night.  Go me!  Advanced preparation – woo hoo! And then when I woke up on Friday morning, I had a crust that was ready to be rolled out and used.

The apple layer

I knew that H. and Y., well especially Y., like fruity desserts, so this pie would be perfect.  The hardest part was waiting for the filling to cool before I could put it in the pie shell.  I solved that problem by watching three episodes of Pan-Am.  It is not such a bad show – kind of Mad Men-esque in that it takes place in the sixties and the characters do and say things that would get them sued today, but otherwise it is a lighter show.  They don’t deal with some of the heavy things that Mad Men deals with.  Of course, that may be because the show is only about 6 episodes in.  Rocker Dude thinks that I only like fake shows, meaning shows that don’t make you think.  But I ask you, does How I Met Your Mother really make you think? And besides, we watch Castle together and that makes you think, sort of.  The point is, that by the time the three episodes were over, it was time to pick up the Little Rocker from nursery (her first day back after vacation) and when we came home, she helped me fill the pie and cover it with the top layer of dough.  What a helper!

The pie baked really nicely and the crust came out nice and flaky and flavorful, even if I did use margarine instead of butter.  Such is Jewish life.

Thanksgiving is coming up and I encourage everyone to try this pie for their Thanksgiving meal.  It has the quintessential fall flavors of apple and cranberry and tastes delicious!

This recipe comes from Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who took it from Cook’s Illustrated.

Recipe:

2 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/2 pounds sweet apples (6-7 medium), peeled, cored & cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 double crust pie dough (recipe here)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw

To make the cranberry filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries have plumped and absorbed almost all the liquid, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the water, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

To make the apple filling: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and cornstarch.  Add the apples and toss to coat thoroughly.  Microwave the apple mixture on high power for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes with a rubber spatula, until the liquid is thick and glossy and the apples have started to turn translucent around the edges.  Let the apple filling cool to room temperature.  You can microwave the apples for less time if you want more of a bite to your filling.  (Note: both fillings can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated.)

While the fillings are cooling, preheat oven to 425 F.  Place a rack in the lowest position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack.  Roll one disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough.  Spread the cooled cranberry filling in the bottom of the dough-lined pie plate.  Place the cooled apple filling on top of the cranberry layer, mounding it slightly in the center.  Roll out the second disk of dough to a 12-inch round on a floured surface.  Transfer it to the top of the pie plate.  Use kitchen shears to cut through both layers of pie dough, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang.  Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the outer rim of the pie plate.  Use your fingers to create a fluted edge or use the tines of a fork to seal the dough.  Brush the top and edges of the pie with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the sugar in the raw.  Use a sharp paring knife to cut slits in the top crust.

Bake the pie on the preheated baking sheet until the top is light golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and continue to bake until the crust is deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes longer.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Pie Crust

Here is the basic recipe for an awesome pie crust that can be used for just about anything:
from Dorie Greenspan‘s Baking From My Home to Yours

For a 9 inch Double Crust

3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tbsp size pieces
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces (or use margarine for both the butter and shortening)
About ½ cup ice water

Margarine for the pie crust.

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing- what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 6 tbsps of the water- add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a work surface.

Pie crust dough ready for refrigeration.

Divide the dough in half. Gather each half into a ball, flatten each ball into a disk and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling (if your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge).

Ready to be rolled out

To Roll Out the Dough: Have a buttered 9 inch pie plate at hand.

You can roll the dough out onto a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to life the paper, plastic, or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.

If you’ve got time, slide the rolled out dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up.

Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (I use a Pyrex pie plate). If you want to use a standard 9-inch pie plate, just reduce the amount of filling by about one quarter.

Rolling out the dough

Working on a well-floured surface (or between wax paper or plastic wrap), roll out one piece of the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Flouring the dough

Fit the dough into the buttered pie plate and trim the edges to a 1/2-inch overhang. Roll the other piece of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle and slip it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Cover both the circle and the crust in the pie plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven and prepare the filling.

Pressing the dough into the pie plate.

Add your filling, lay the top crust and crimp as you like.  Make sure to cut steam slits in the top crust. Brush with a little milk or cream and sprinkle some sugar on top.

Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes, and then lower the oven to 375 degrees F and bake the pie for another 50-60 minutes.  If there is a fruit filling, it should be bubbling.

After about 40 minutes in the oven, if the top crust looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with a foil tent.

Transfer the pie to a rack and let it rest until it is only just warm or until it reaches room temperature.