April 2013 archive

Colonial Apple Pie

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A few weeks ago, I shared with you all my perfect pie crust recipe. Only the crust- I never shared with you a filling to go with that pie! I figured I should share an amazing filling to go with the perfect crust.

This apple pie filling is from the same source as the crust- the book I bought when I was eight years old in Colonial Williamsburg. It’s just as amazing as the crust and has my friends and family asking me constantly for apple pie. If a pie is needed at a family gathering, I get asked to make it. Some people bake cookies. I bake pies.

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Anyway, about the apples. I use a mixture of sweet and tart apples; usually granny smith and pink lady. They get sprinkled with lemon juice, which does two things- it brings out the apple flavor, and keeps them from browning while you’re working on everything else. I slice them, and then dice them into smaller pieces. I don’t peel them- ain’t nobody got time for dat! Also my mother SWEARS that it makes the pie seem more homemade.

After the lemon juice bath, you mix together sugar and some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, etc.) to taste and toss them into the apples; throw them in the pie crust, and bake at 400 for one hour. As far as the spices go, I just sprinkle them in to taste, but I’ve included suggestions for measurements if you would prefer to use those.

You will have people coming back asking for more when you make this!

Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients
For the crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup very cold water; dived in half (two 1/4 cup)

For the apple filling

  • 5-7 medium sized apples
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar
  • cinnamon to taste (around 1/2 teaspoon)
  • nutmeg to taste (around 1/4 teaspoon)
  • ground cloves to taste (around 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon mace
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter

Instructions
for the pie crust:

  1. Combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and cut the mixture with a knife or pastry blender until it is mealy.
  2. Add the egg and 1/4 cup of water. Gradually add the remaining water to make a soft pastry.
  3. chill well, at least 45 minutes and up to 3 days. (I usually chill around 2 hours)
  4. On a floured surface roll out two round crusts around 1/8 inch thick.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or 375 on convection.
  2. Core, slice, and dice the apples. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cups of the sugar and spice and gradually mix into the apples. Add the rest of the sugar if needed.
  4. Add filling to a pastry-lined pie plate and dot with butter.
  5. Add the top crust; pitch edges together and slash vents into the top. Bake for 50-60- minutes or until crust is golden brown or apples or done.

Funfetti Cupcakes with Cotton Candy Frosting

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You know what’s great therapy? Baking. Saturday morning I baked a whirlwind of treats, including these cupcakes, which I made for a movie night at Brian’s house. The funfetti cupcakes are from a recipe I found over at Crazy for Crust, originally from How Sweet it is. The frosting is also adapted from that same recipe, but I changed it a bit to make it smooth and creamy, but also fluffy and with cotton candy flavor.

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The cupcakes are moist and delicious, and taste just like they came out of a box. I definitely have a new favorite homemade cake recipe! The frosting is creamy, sweet, and tastes like cotton candy, but it isn’t overwhelming. I simply whipped the butter, slowly mixed in the the powdered sugar, and about 2 teaspoons of whole milk. Heavy cream would have made the frosting fluffier, but I didn’t have any on hand and I had no time to go buy some. The fluffier you want your frosting, the higher fat content you’ll want in your milk; hence why I chose to use whole milk, rather than 1% like I usually use. I also threw in a pinch (or two!) of salt, simply to cut the sweetness so it wasn’t too overwhelming. I find that, while I have a VERY sweet tooth, some frostings are so sugary and sweet I feel like my teeth are rotting as I eat. (Lovely description, I know.) I don’t find that very pleasant, so I add salt. After the frosting was made, I mixed in one packet of Dunken Hines frosting creations mix; naturally I used cotton candy flavor. However, you could use any flavor you want- I’m sure they’re all fantastic!

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Here’s the recipe:

(yields 12 large cupcakes)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles, plus more for decoration if desired.
  • 24 jellybeans to top cupcakes, if desired.

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream (if needed)
  • 1 packet dunken hines frosting creations cotton candy flavoring

Directions:

  1. preheat muffin tin to 350. line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until combined; add the milk and stir, then add the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the sprinkles.
  4. pour into the prepared pans about 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  5. To make the frosting: Beat the butter in a large bowl (i used the bowl of my stand mixer; but used my hand mixer to make the frosting) until creamy. mix in the powdered sugar; about 1/2 cup at a time. mix in the vanilla. If the frosting is too thick, mix in the milk/cream about 1 teaspoon at a time until it has reached desired consistency. Mix in the packet of flavoring with a spoon or rubber spatula, and spread onto cooled cupcakes.

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