I’m not sure what happened to all of my cookies. These lasted all of two hours before they vanished. I restrained myself from eating the dough, which was no easy feat. And they definitely came out of the oven… They made it to the cooling […]
More specifically, how about some pie?
Apple? With caramel sauce and ice cream?
Yeah, let’s do it!
I used local Fuji apples, and they were so juicy and delicious! I’m going to do this again, because this was seriously the best apple pie, but I’m going to use Granny Smith, cause that’s what I’ve got. It’s gonna work, don’t worry.
I also didn’t follow a recipe. It was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever done.
Don’t make fun of me. There’s no feeling like the pounding in your heart when you have no guarantee that the pie you’re making could be epic or awful.
I ALSO LEARNED THE COOLEST TRICK!!
Sorry for yelling, but this tip changed my life. For real.
Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
Makes two crusts
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed
Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.
Cinnamon Apple Pie
3-4 medium apples
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice the apples very thinly, and then add the apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apple slices get covered in the lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch together. Add the cinnamon chips and stir them in.
Add the sugar mixture to the apple slices, and make sure the apples get coated in the sugar mixture.
Roll out the first pie crust (see above for rolling instructions, or use a well floured surface), and gently put it in a pie pan. Pour the apple filling into it, and then roll out the next crust. Lay the second crust over the apple mixture, and pinch together and trim the edges. Cut vents in the top of the pie, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the edges look like they’re starting to burn, wrap them with foil. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving. If you’re very very hungry for pie, you can put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. Just don’t melt your refrigerator shelf.
It’s just so pretty!
I first saw it in a bakery in Seattle. Naturally, I assumed you had to go to bread baking school to make something so beautiful.
It’s kind of true, but mostly not.
Pain d’Epi is French for bread that looks like wheat. Fitting, since that’s where flour comes from, and bread is made from flour.
I actually made this without my bread machine. It felt way too easy, so I was sure I’d screwed it up. Sure enough though, it rose and rose and rose.
The only difficult part of making this bread was shaping it. I had to try a few times to get it right.
Not pretty. This was my first attempt. My sous chef said it looked like a bunny, so I decided to just say I did it on purpose. Bunny bread, just in time for Easter!
Luckily, it tasted far better than it looked. Perfectly crusty and crisp on the outside, fluffy and pillowy on the inside. And even if it didn’t look like a wheat stalk the first time around, it still pulled apart into single portions like it was supposed to.
Want to know how to do it? Go here. That’s probably the best tutorial out there, unless you find a video on Youtube. I didn’t check there. Sorry. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have made bunny bread.
Anyway, here’s the recipe. Try this out and impress the heck out of your friends. Hopefully the first time around, not the third.
Makes 3 loaves
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt
3 1/4 cups warm water (I’m told that between 115F and 120F is perfect for yeast activation)
Add the yeast to the warm water. Gently stir once and then let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour and the salt. Add the yeastwater to the flour and gently combine. You don’t need to knead, per se, but make sure that all the flour gets incorporated.
Transfer the dough to an oiled container or bowl. I read that a 5 gallon bucket with a lid is great for rising bread, but I don’t have one, so I used the biggest bowl I could find and loosely covered it with cellophane. If you go the bucket route, make sure you don’t seal the lid on tight. It could very well blow the lid right off.
Let the dough rise for two hours. This works best in a sunny spot where it’s not going to encounter any drafts. I had used the oven earlier in the day, so I just left my dough on the counter where it would get that residual heat.
After the dough has risen, you can cover it completely and store it in the fridge for up to a week, or you can get right to baking. If you’re ready, preheat a baking stone in the top half of the oven, and a broiler pan in the bottom half at 450F.
Pull off a chunk of dough, loosely roll it into a ball, and then let it rest on a floured sheet of parchment for a couple of minutes. Come back to it, and then stretch it out into an oval. Fold one side in longways, then the other side over that. Because it’s on the parchment, you’ll be able to easily transfer the loaf to the baking stone when it’s time.
Gently stretch the dough so that it becomes a long baguette with pointy-ish ends. Don’t squeeze hard though, because it will compress the air. If you find the dough is resisting, just let it rest a few more minutes. It should be much easier to work with when you come back to it.
Then comes the part where you should really study the tutorial. Using kitchen shears or scissors, cut the dough at a 45 degree angle, almost all the way through. Gently angle that chunk of dough away from the loaf, and shape the tip if needed. Repeat this process along the entire loaf.
Trim the parchment paper so that it won’t hang over the edge of the pan and grab about 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Working quickly, place the dough on the baking stone, and pour the water into the broiler pan. Don’t be surprised (like I was) if it splatters and boils right away. Close the oven door and bake for 35 minutes. The bread should be golden brown before you take it out of the oven.
This bread is best served fresh, while it’s still slightly warm.
Good luck, and if you discover any tips to make it look prettier, PLEASE share them with me!
I got this idea while running on the treadmill. No joke. Something similar was happening on 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray–similar in that she was wrapping meat in puff pastry sheets, but totally different meat and filling–and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. You know how songs get stuck in your head sometimes? Yeah, that happens to me too, but with recipes. Sometimes they are awesome, and sometimes they totally bomb. My track record is pretty 50-50 whether or not these recipes actually work.
The elements of this recipe were spectacular.
Chicken baked in a balsamic glaze. (This one worked really well, and I found a small bottle in Safeway)
Avocado, basil, tomato, mozzarella and green onion.
Layered inside puff pastry (which was surprisingly hard to find at Safeway).
There are only two things I’ll do differently next time: no tomato and more basil. The tomato made the pastry dough very soggy and hard to completely bake, and the basil got lost amidst everything else.
But truly, it’s hard to go wrong with flaky pastry, moist chicken and melted mozzarella cheese! I liked it very much, but Nick hates–and I mean hates–soggy, doughy things. He gave it a valiant effort, and was very nice about it, but I could tell that he wouldn’t eat this version again happily. No worries! The cool thing about my recipes is that they’re just general guidelines. I can add or subtract whatever I like. Next time, everyone will be happy.
Pastry Wrapped Chicken
Preheat oven to 400F
2 chicken breasts, brushed with balsamic glaze and baked
8 fresh basil leaves (if you don’t like the stem, go ahead and cut it out of the middle of the leaf)
4 slices of mozzarella cheese (or 1/2 cup grated)
half of an avocado, sliced
1-2 green onions, sliced
1 sheet of puff pastry (Like this)
1 egg white mixed with 2 tsps of water
After thawing the puff pastry, cut into 4 squares. On each square, layer: basil leaf, half of a chicken breast, basil leaf, mozarella and avocado. Begin pulling the corners of the pastry over top of the fillings. Brush the corners with the egg wash, and gently press to seal. Don’t worry if the packets aren’t totally sealed. Flip the completed packet over and brush with the egg wash, then top with green onion. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
Do you ever get crazy ideas stuck in your head? Do you ever act on them?