Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Bit More Baking

I bought this muffin top pan, made famous on Seinfeld, because everyone likes the tops of muffins the best. It keeps getting moved from cabinet to cabinet when I search for other baking utensils. On Christmas Eve it dawned on me to use it to make little individual apple pies.
How cute are these? I had some apples sitting around the counter and I thought that they should become pie. But they were Gala and don't make much of a juicy baked apple, so I decided to create my own sauce. I chopped the peeled apples, put them in a pan with brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and water and a teaspoon of corn starch to thicken. I cooked them until soft, about 15 minutes, while I made the pie crust.
I used this recipe for the pastry (in the food processor) because I was thinking that I would make a bottom and top crust. But I divided the dough into six equal parts, rolled them out and felt that they would be just right for one layer. I usually make a crumb topping for my pies, liking that extra crunch, so that's what I did here.
Crumb topping: Cold butter, white or brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, oatmeal. Put it all in the food processor and whirl until it looks like granola.

I may have begun with a half stick of butter, but ended up using the whole stick, about a half cup of flour, half cup of oatmeal, maybe a cup of walnuts...I never have figured out exact measurements, and in this case I have lots leftover, so I will use the topping on something else soon.
I baked them at 350 for as long as it took to brown the topping and crust. Perfecto. We shared one pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and they were fabulous. The crust was so flaky that it melted in the mouth. O my!
Our Christmas was very, very quiet. Dave washed and detailed the old truck (in the rain) to get it ready to sell. I baked and washed dishes and washed a couple of loads of laundry ( a new treat!) and got the dinner ready to eat by 11am. I figured that gave us time for a nice afternoon nap if needed.
Right after we ate I sent Dave off with a hot dish full of our dinner to Mike our hired man, who was asleep when Dave arrived.
Then I sat down to enjoy my Christmas gift to myself, something money can't buy. I read a book in the daytime! Of course there were a few moments of snoozing here and there, but I finished one (Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky) and started a new one, Royal Heist by Lynda LaPlante. I never allow myself the luxury of daytime reading and now I wonder why? It is so much nicer to be awake when reading, instead of reading in bed and having no idea what went on when I pick up the book the next time. Duh.

PS. See this pin

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  1. I read "this secret receipt" at first - perhaps I am still asleep... the pies sound magnificent! A couple of weeks ago I bought a few tazzie where the crust was just as you described it!! So I bought a few a week later but they were just tired pie crust. I fear that a good pie crust is becoming a dinosaur. It is an art that takes time to learn.

    You said Dave does detail... well that too seems to have left our corner... this year no one received the Christmas gift of detail as the business is gone.

  2. Those mini-apple pies look scrumptious! I don't have the baking gene; there has to be recipe in front of me, and I have to follow it exactly or things don't work out...
    Enjoy your sewing! :-)


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