Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Time Making Apple Pie!!!

Isn't she beautiful?! My fiance and I decided on a whim to make apple pie last weekend. Neither of us had ever made pie before, so we kind of just winged it. And it came out pretty good! We used the Betty Crocker recipe below and it was very tasty. Check out the photos we took below and step by step directions!

You'll Need:

2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Filling shopping list
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (6 medium)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, if desired

1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Heat oven to 425°F. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt.

Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

The camera made it look yellowy, but I guess this was the size of small peas. Right? =)

2. Gather pastry into a ball

It's coming along!!

Divide pastry in half; shape each half into flattened round on lightly floured surface.

Wrap flattened rounds of pastry in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until firm and cold, yet pliable.

While you wait for the pastry, you can cut the apples and make the filing!

We used 3 Granny Smith and 3 Pink Lady Apples to add some interest

3. On lightly floured surface, roll 1 round of pastry into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate, using floured rolling pin. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

4. In large bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and dash of salt. Stir in apples. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over apples. Trim overhanging edge of bottom pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate. (This was a little tricky! If there were breaks in the dough, we just took the excess from a different side of the pie and it came out fine)

5. Roll other round of pastry. Fold pastry into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape; place over filling and unfold. Trim overhanging edge of top pastry 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute. Brush top crust with 1 tablespoon water; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

6. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours.

Ta DAAA!!!
Our only minor complaint, was that our pie was a little watery on the bottom when we went to cut it. This could have been because we didn't drain the moisture from our apples, or because we didn't wait long enough for it to cool. Regardless, the pie was delicious and i'm not a big pie person at all. Definitely worth the time to make!

Friday, August 17, 2012

How To Eat a Cupcake - Review of a Page Turner

I’m always looking for a good read. Strangely enough, my dad recommended this novel to me. At first, I thought it was strange that he even knew about a cupcake novel, let alone recommend it to me. Don’t get me wrong – cupcakes are clearly my THING. My dad explained that his coworkers’ best friend had written the book, and he thought of me and my obsessive love of all things baking related. I went on Amazon, and pre-ordered two copies – one for me and one for my mother (because I am the best daughter ever). OK, here we go…

I half expected How to Eat a Cupcake to be a fluffy baking book with adorable recipes, pictures, pink stuff and possibly even kittens. Which I would have been fine with, I am a girl afterall. However, this book is nothing of the sort. It has this menacing undertone that something is always brewing, which made for a great page turner. On my commute into Manhattan for work, on my couch, in my car (when my fiancĂ© was driving, of course) I had my nose in this novel. Page after page I read about two frenemies who couldn’t be from more different worlds, and somehow went into business together to open a cupcake shop. Everyone’s dream, right? Book over? Hardly. The trials and tribulations of the shop, cleverly titled Treat, is anything but sweet. Without giving too much of the book away (because you should get yourself a copy!) this book is filled with everything - lies, vandalism, family, long lost friends, growing pains, ex boyfriends, class conflict and of course – cupcakes. Glorious, tasty, wonderful, unique cupcakes. The book gave me a few ideas on new recipes I wanted to create myself. My apron goes off to Meg Donohue, who wrote a book I never wanted to put down!