Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Homemade Apple Pie

Apple pie is not something that was made from scratch in my house -- up till now. The idea of apple pie is so uniquely American that I always bought it at the store before. It's not an ancestral recipe with me. But I really admired Julia's rustic cinnamon apple pie, as described here:

For years, I intended to try to bake this apple pie, according to the directions described in the link above, but I never quite got around to it. And then finally I did -- yesterday afternoon.

Vacuum County & eight Jonathan apples plus a stick of unsalted butter

I set aside the apples and allowed the butter to stay out at room temperature, right to next to a copy of Vacuum County, and then I made the dough, rolled it into two balls and refrigerated them.

The dough was made of 4 cups of flour, one cup of milk, one teaspoon each of sugar and cinnamon
Then I started cutting up the apples.

I also cut the stick of butter up into individual pats of butter and let them get even softer by standing a while at room temperature.

Can you see that butter almost melting?
Then I started to mix the ingredients for the pie filling.

I used two tablespoons of coconut flour on top of the apples
The flour I used for the dough had been regular flour, but I decided on coconut flour for the filling.

I added the pats of butter
After the flour, I added the butter. 

I then added one teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg and half a cup of sugar

I used sugar in the raw along with the nutmeg and cinnamon.

After mixing all the ingredients for the filling, I rolled out the bottom half of the dough with a rolling pin between two sheets of wax paper.

I then put the bottom layer of dough in the pie pan.

Bottom layer of dough in pie pan
Next, the filling went into the pan.

The filling in the pan
Then I flattened the other ball of dough and covered the pie. 

I sprinkled some sugar and cinnamon on the top.

I made a few slits in the top layer of dough and then baked.

It was not as beautiful and perfect as Julia's pie, but I was happy with it.

Cuttting a generous slice
The slice of pie crumbled a little more than I would have liked, but when I served it to Bow, he did not complain.

Bow really enjoyed his slice of pie and so did I.

In twenty-four hours, between us, Bow and I managed to consume half the pie.

I had better not eat any more, or I will not be able to fit into my Vacuum County T-Shirt!

The last piece of pie


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Marzipan Strawberry Pie

During the great flood of 2017, Bow and I felt very cooped up. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do, and we got a little tired of the same music and the same sights and sounds. But luckily we had at home the makings of marzipan strawberry pie. Miniature marzipan strawberry pie, that is.

The Finished Product
My mother and I had been talking about marzipan lately. It is one of my favorite sweets. During my childhood, when we didn't have  chocolate doled out as a special treat, we got marzipan. It is one of my favorites and evokes good memories. But here in the U.S., you can't find marzipan along with chocolate in the candy aisle at WalMart. "I haven't seen it in years," I said to my mother. "Maybe they call it something else."

And then one day I found it, in the baking section, on a very high shelf next to the poppy seed filling. Sure enough, it was not called marzipan. It was just plain old "almond paste."  That made it sound very unromantic, I must say. Can it possibly taste the same if you call it almond paste?

In addition to the almonds, sugar is the major ingredient, That's why when I was a little girl, it was doled out after a meal in very small doses, just like chocolate.

Americans, apparently, don't indulge in marzipan as a sweet, but they use almond paste -- which looks and tastes exactly the same -- in baking macaroons and other pastries . For Bow, during those rainy days, I decided to use ready made graham cracker pie crusts and strawberries to add more substance to the marzipan.

The marzipan can be made into any shape 
I always have fresh strawberries on hand.

I just cut them into small bits and added them on top of the marzipan. Marzipan is sticky, so they were firmly in place.

Now all I had to do was serve this confection to Bow. He was happy. He did not care at all whether it was called marzipan or almond paste. It was all the same to him.