Friday, October 29, 2010

Nana's apple pie

Ready for the oven!

We all know, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I think a slice of pie will do the same for you! Here's my late Nana's apple pie recipe. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a slice of sharp cheese (my favorite and my late Grampy's too).

If you think you would like to make a decorative crust you can use cookie cutters or purchase these cute little cutters from Williams Somoma - I know you'll love them, I do!!!

Ready to eat!


    • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup well-chilled vegetable shortening (we use Crisco)
    • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

    1. BLEND flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.

    2. 2.
      CUT chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.

    3. 3.
      SPRINKLE half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.

    4. TIP
      Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.

    5. 4.
      SHAPE dough into a ball for single pie crust. Divide dough in two for double crust or double deep dish crust, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball(s) into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).

    6. TIP
      For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

    7. 5.
      ROLL dough (larger ball of dough for double crust pie) from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.

    8. 6.
      For a SINGLE pie crust, trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edge under. Flute dough as desired. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

    9. 7.
      For a DOUBLE pie crust, roll larger disk for bottom crust, trimming edges of dough even with outer edge of pie plate. Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

    10. Two Methods for Pre-baking Pie Crusts (Cream Pies)

    11. 1.
      Pre-baking without weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Bake crust in lower third of oven, at 425°F, 10-12 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.

    12. 2.
      Pre-baking with weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Chill or freeze for 30 minutes. Line pie dough snugly with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Reduce oven to 350°F. Bake 5-10 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.


      • 6 -8 medium Cortland apples
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
      • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

      PREPARE recipe for double crust pie. Roll out dough for bottom crust. Place in 9-inch pie plate. Press to fit without stretching dough. Trim even with pie plate. Do not bake.

    2. 2.
      HEAT oven to 400ºF.

    3. 3.
      PEEL, core and slice apples. Toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into unbaked pie crust; dot with butter. Cover with top crust; seal and flute edge. Brush with egg white. Cut slits for steam to escape.

    4. 4.
      ROLL additional crust to 1/8-inch thickness. With small 1/2-inch star cookie cutter, cut 20 to 25 stars. Place 1 star on rim of top crust; brush with egg white. Repeat until rim is covered.

    5. 5.
      COMBINE cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over crust. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until pie is golden brown and apples are tender.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes!

    The Finished Result!

    Can you say MMM for Martha, Michaela & Mary! Along with my niece Michaela we made Martha Stewart's Boston Cream Pie Cupcake! My niece phoned me one morning and asked me if I'd help her make some cupcakes for her mom. My sister-in-law was going to a GNO (girls night out) and needed to bring a dessert, so my niece offered to bake some cupcakes, but wanted to know if Auntie Mary would help! Well, I can't say no to my nieces, I love them to pieces! So Michaela and I baked all morning and made the most delicious, decadent cupcakes ever! We used a Martha Stewart recipe that was easy to follow and simply delicious! The cakes tasted like a slice of Boston Cream Pie, if you like Boston Cream Pie, you'll love these cupcakes, they are delicious! Check out the recipe below!

    Shh, frosting in progress!

    Cupcake Ingredients

    Makes 18

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Vanilla Cream
    • Chocolate-Ganache Glaze

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
    2. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
    3. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
    4. Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.

    Vanilla Cream
    Makes 1 1/2 cups
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
    2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
    3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
    Chocolate-Ganache Glaze

    Makes about 1 1/4 cups

    • 2/3 cup heavy cream
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

    1. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

    Would you like one?

    We had so much fun, I'm fortunate to have such wonderful nieces!

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    The Road Not Taken . . .

    I took a walk in the woods on a road I had not taken before, I had
    my hubby, my shopping bag for pine cones and my camera There
    were many lovely discoveries along the road, and it was so
    peaceful, just my husband and me. Occasionally we'd hear some
    voices, or see another walker, but for the most part it was just the
    two of us. Our walk on former 1800's railroad bed, which is now
    conservation land between New Hampshire and
    Massachusetts, reminded me of a beautiful poem
    The Road Not Taken ~ by Robert Frost
    I hope you enjoy my pictorial walk
    in the woods on the road not taken!

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could

    To where it bent in the undergrowth;
    Then took the other, as just as fair,

    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:

    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.

    Oh, I kept the first for another day!

    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Table for Two ;-)

    Since we couldn't make it to Maine this weekend due to the amount of homework for a class I'm taking, I decided to make one of hubby's favorite meals - a boiled dinner! I had a corned beef in the freezer so it was easy. However I didn't have all the veggies as you can see in the the photo above. So hubby went to the market for me on a holiday - he's such a good guy! When he came home I surprised him with a beautiful table setting. I used his mom's wheat dishes, I just love them (I'm a self-professed dishaholic), and for some reason I enjoy using them in the Autumn! This was a special treat because I haven't used them for about three years!

    Let's see what we have around the house to make a lovely
    centerpiece for the kitchen table. The tray acted like a
    mirror and the votive's reflected beautifully, it wasn't
    planned - it was a "happy accident." Can you keep a secret?
    I purchased all of these items at half-off at various stores
    over the past several years - I love a nice bargain!

    Here are my mother-in-law's dishes that she got in the
    1960's. My husband just told me that they are supermarket
    dishes! Every week she would add to her collection, I must
    have a service for 10, with all the serving pieces! Love 'em!

    Let's add some wine glasses, I love the mix
    of the vintage with the new - don't you?

    Honey, dinner's ready! Purple cabbage, Yukon gold potato,
    turnip, sweet onion, carrot & corned beef - yum!

    Let's not forget dessert, baked apple with walnuts, crasins
    sugar and spices, topped of with a generous dollop of whipped
    cream, followed by a cup of piping hot tea to complete the dinner!

    Then it was back to the books!

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Delicious Autumn, in Poetry . . .

    I cannot endure to waste anything as
    precious as autumn sunshine by
    staying in the house. So I spend almost
    all the daylight hours in the open air.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Spades take up leaves
    No better than spoons,
    And bags full of leaves
    Are light as balloons.
    I make a great noise
    Of rustling all day
    Like rabbit and deer
    Running away.
    ~Robert Frost

    Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
    ~William Cullen Bryant

    All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn,
    Led yellow Autumn, wreath'd with nodding corn.
    ~Robert Burns

    Youth is like spring, an over praised season more
    remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.
    Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in
    flowers we more than gain in fruits.
    ~Samuel Butler