Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
This fall has been somewhat disappointing weather wise going from unseasonably warm to cloudy rainy weather to freak October snow storm. The weather has played apart in delaying my pie making, but today, I’m going to bring back fall with an apple pie. My first apple pie in college was a success, followed by a mediocre pie during the holidays. For every pie that succeeded, there was a failed pie and today was another attempt to break the curse. I consulted Smitten Kitchen to try an all butter crust recipe, because the crust is always the biggest player in pie. This also gave me an opportunity to use my pastry blender, which had been collecting dust (cleaned before use? Yes). In recent years, I’ve been making use of a food processor for my pie crust needs. Fast and clean, but more clean up required.
A Call to Arms
Double Pie Crust (because a single layer pie crust would be cutting corners)
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/2 cup + a few extra tbsp very cold water
Blend flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add cold cubed butter and mix with pastry blender until pieces of butter are smaller than a pea and texture of mixture is crumbly. Add 1/2 cup water and bring dough together with 1 hand. Add additional tbsp cold water until dough comes together. Separate into two portions, flatten into a disc shape between plastic wrap and cover completely with the same plastic wrap. Place dough into fridge for at least 2 hours.
For the filling, I used Food Network Kitchen’s recipe since my best pie post college used this recipe
Apple Pie Filling
3 lbs. peeled baking apple slices (7 to 8 apples, I used Golden Delicious)
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbsp AP flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 egg plus 1 tsp water
sugar to sprinkle
Toss the juice of 1 lemon with apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp butter and cook apple mixture on medium high heat until sugar mixture starts to bubble, lower temperature to medium low heat and cover pot. Cook until apples are tender (about 15 minutes). remove from heat and add vanilla and flour. Mix and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough from the fridge into 2 circular layers 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Place 1 layer into 9 inch pie tin and mold along the edge. Fill with apple mixture and top with cubed butter. Take egg and mix with a little water to make egg wash. Brush egg wash along the edge of the pie. Place second layer of pie dough over the top of the pie. Press edges of the pie until the crust is sealed. Cut off access dough 1 inch from the edge of the pie tin. Fold the 1 inch of access dough under the edge of the pie so the it rests on top of the edge of the pie tin. Flute the edges of the pie. Cut 6 slit above the pie to let steam come out as it’s baking. Brush egg wash over the pie and top with sprinkled sugar. Place pie on foil covered cookie sheet in case of overflowed filling. Bake for 15 minutes and reduce temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 50 minutes. Let cool and serve warm.
My pie turned out butt ugly so the streak of unfortunate pies shall continue. At least I’m positive that the crust is flaky. Let’s hope it tastes good.
In sales, this is called “Rustic”
Attention, sane people — it is September 20th and I’ve already whipped out my Halloween sprinkles and harassed friends for canned packed pumpkin (thanks Kate!). Apparently, canned packed pumpkin is seasonal and now is not the season. LIES!
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe by David Leite
Yields 20 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 oz can of solid packed pumpkin
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with fabulous Halloween cupcake liners.
2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl. You may choose to sift the dry ingredients together, but I typically skip this step because I’ve had no idea where my sifter’s been for the past 7 months.
3. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely before frosting.
Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with any crazy sprinkles and Halloween candies you have around.
These cupcakes are tremendous. They are moist, super delicious, and so season appropriate (especially if you’re a crazy early bird like me!). As you can probably tell, I had a very fun time decorating them. I even bought those damn pumpkin candies that I hate. Those didn’t make it to the picture because I was having an inner debate whether to add them. I really don’t like them… candy corn either. Gross. I did give in though, because they are just too cute to boot!
If you like pumpkin pie and feel like mixing it up a bit, definitely give these bad boys a try.
As a side note, yesterday was my 25th bday. WOOOO! I went to Menton, a Barbara Lynch restaurant (of course). I snapped some pretty snazzy pictures of the tasting menu goodies, so be on the look out for that in an upcoming post.
On Sunday, I went to the Sowa Open Market for the first time to check out the food trucks and farmers market. After arriving around 10:30am, I took a stroll to see what was available and created a shopping list in my head. Corn, tomatoes, peaches and plums came to mind, yet I also left with string beans, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. Typical. This wasn’t like haymarket where food goes bad in 24-48 hours. I still have them going strong in my fridge and have been enjoying them all week. I spent a total of $21 for 3 ears of corn, 3 tomatoes, 2 peaches, a pint of blueberries, plums, cherry tomatoes, and about a half pounds of string beans.
Best Produce of the Summer So Far.
Lush, Full Herbs… Ways to Inaccurately Describe My Herb Garden…
When Pigs Fly Bread.
For people not in the Boston area, food truck business has been booming and they’ve been popping up all over town as permits and license restrictions have become more lenient. However, having food trucks gathered at a single location is a huge draw and they are at Sowa every Sunday. For lunch, I got a lamb skewer from Silk Road BBQ (which is actually a food stand), but was left disappointed since it cost $8 and was essentially 5 large chunks of lamb and left me hungry. It tasted decent, but wasn’t worth the price and was regretting passing up the chance to try M&M Ribs. However, the guy was friendly and also offered me a sample of pulled pork.