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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pie

Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving pie? Make this one! I am sure there will be enough pumpkin pie wherever you go for the holidays, so change it up and offer your friends something a little different this year :)

I made this pie for a Thanksgiving potluck we had at work and it was such a nice change for me. I love my chocolate and butter overload just as much as the next baker, but the natural colors from the fruit in this pie just came together so beautifully! And, I was reintroduced to the goodness of natural sugar! Okay...there was a little bit of refined sugar too.

If you have the time I really encourage you to do this all from scratch. That means no store bought pie crust (I know you can do it!) I promise it will taste so much better and whoever you feed this too will say "wow!" Just keep in mind you need to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour; even better overnight. So, plan accordingly. I don't want any Thanksgiving day freak-outs.

Preheat the oven to 375

Ingredients

Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6-8 tbs ice cold water
Pie Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of cranberries
  • 5 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
I also added a bit of streusel topping before covering the pie with the top crust (seen below.) I just eye-balled it and mixed flour, brown sugar, and melted butter until it reached the crumbly consistency I wanted. Then I just sprinkled it over the fruit filling:
Directions:

Pie Crust:
  • Place the butter squares in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  • Once the butter is cold enough, combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and add the butter, pulsing about 6-8 times until they mixture gets crumbly.
  • Add the water 1 tbs at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. You will know it is ready if you pinch it and the mixture sticks together. If it doesn't, just add water until it does.
  • Separate the dough into two and form into discs on a lightly floured surface.
  • Cover each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour, or overnight.
  • When it is ready, roll out the discs with a rolling pin and place one on the bottom of a greased 9" pie pan to create the pie shell. You'll then roll out the other disc to cover the pie once the filling is in there.
Pie Filling:
  • Mix the sugar, flour, and salt in a large saucepan.
  • Stir in the cranberries and maple syrup.
  • Cook over high heat and make sure to stir it constantly.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the apples (covered in the nutmeg and cinnamon) and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Once the filling is done you can remove it from the heat and pour it into pie shell. Covering it with the streusel is optional, but a nice touch. Then cover the pie with the second disc of dough you rolled out for the top. And don't forget to fold over the sides to lock it all in, and poke some holes in the top with a fork.

If you made the crust from scratch you will want to bake this for about 45-55minutes, and 30 minutes if you bought the crust. Keep and eye on it though. If it starts to turn golden brown it is almost done!

This was really really good and I hope at least one reader gets to make this as part of their Thanksgiving feast. If not, there is always an occasion for pie. Serve it warm, and make folks feel cozy.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mustache Cookies


You may think this is just a hipster baking experiment, but no, it is much more than that. I am raising money for Movember people! The office is having a bake sale to raise funds and I was asked to bake, and then handed a mustache shaped cookie cutter. How fun!

I just used a simple sugar cookie recipe, but gave them some pizazz with food coloring and sprinkles. Manly like a mustache? No, but who cares :)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups butter softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, then beat in eggs and vanilla
  • Stir the dry ingredients into above mixture
  • Let dough chill in the refrigerator covered for at least one hour, or overnight
  • Once chilled roll the dough onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes
Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Scones with Candied Ginger


I figured it was time to spice up the pumpkin. Chocolate dipped pumpkin biscotti is sweet and all, but time for a little more zing! I found that ginger adds the perfect spice; and when you cover it with sugar it is even better.

I highly recommend that you eat these straight out of the oven. But first, let's bake them.

Preheat oven to 425

Ingredients:






  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (don't be alarmed, you'll hardly taste it)
  • 5 tbs white sugar
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of sour cream (you could use yogurt or buttermilk as well but I really think sour cream makes baked goods more moist and delicious!)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped candied ginger
Directions:
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the ginger
  • Add the butter pieces and use your hands, an electric mixer, or a pastry blender to mix the ingredients until they turn into coarse crumbs
  • In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin and sour cream
  • Add the pumpkin mix to the dry ingredients
  • Roll or pat the dough onto a lightly floured surface, spreading it into a rough 10" square about a half-inch thick
  • Cut the dough into triangular shapes
  • Place the triangles onto a parchment paper-lined/greased baking sheet
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown




A word of advice: Eat a couple before you given them away. If you don't, you might regret it later (too good!) Oh, and don't skimp on the ginger ;)