Dutch Apple Pie

October 24, 2012

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Margaux says . . .
This week I bought a bag of Rome apples, mainly because they looked the best, but also because I’ve never tried them and as a huge apple lover, I feel I need to try all of them. I used to carry around a huge list of all the varieties of apples, what their season is, what their taste and texture is, and what their uses are. (I know, a little obsessive, but i LOVE apples!) That list was stolen along with my purse, and it was one of my biggest losses. So I was winging it with these Rome apples. Needless to say, they are not eating apples…But they have great flavor. I looked it up online, and apparently they’re good for cooking, so, oh darn, I have to make a pie.
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I went onto our blog to find our Dutch apple pie recipe, because I was certain that Aunt Suzy had posted it, and discovered that we had not one single apple pie recipe posted!!! WHAT?? I’m still in shock about this. I make apple pie, like, once a month in the fall and winter. Remember how I said I love apples? Well, I really love apple pie. And I know Aunt Suzy probably makes apple pie pretty often, too. So what have we been doing? Yeesh, I’m sorry to our readers out there…we’ve really done you a disservice. My Granny’s apple pie, while totally basic, is the best out there. And this Dutch apple pie is pretty stellar, too! And I have other apple recipes that I realized, while looking for this recipe, I also haven’t posted. I will do my best to get these posted ASAP, before apple season (sadly) ends!

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Aunt Suzy says . . .

I saw this recipe in Food & Wine a couple of years ago. It caught my eye because I’ve only made my Mom’s (aka Granny) basic apple pie over the years.  As Margaux said, that pie is delicious, but I’ve always wanted to make one like this with the streusel topping.  I agree that this one is really good!  And, thanks, Margaux for the reminder that we need to post more apple recipes.  We will indeed be doing a public service :-).

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Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a baking sheet on the bottom rack.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed, for the crust

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, for the topping

1/4 cup ice water

6 large cooking apples—peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I used 8, but my apples were small)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar (Aunt Suzy uses a little more than 1/2 cup, I used almost a cup)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

The Crust

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 cups of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add 1 stick of the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Drizzle on the ice water and pulse until evenly moistened crumbs form; turn out onto a surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. (Or just make your favorite pie crust recipe for one crust. )

On a floured surface, roll a disk of the dough to a 13-inch round; fit it into a deep 10-inch glass pie plate and brush the overhang with water. Crimp the overhang.

The Topping

In a bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup of flour, the light brown sugar, the baking soda and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the 6 tablespoons of butter and cut it with pastry cutter until sandy (I cut it in until the butter was pea-sized, then used my hands to rub it together make it sandy). Add the walnuts and mix.

The Apples and Assembling the Pie

In a bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour and the cinnamon. Spoon the apples into the prepared pie crust. Press the topping mixture into clumps and sprinkle over the pie.

Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cover the edge of the pie if it begins to darken. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.

COOKS NOTES: Depending on your oven, this baking time might be too long. Check after 55 minutes.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

October 29, 2010

I’m totally in love with the cookbook Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Every page is filled with gorgeous photos of delicious, rich looking cakes.  This recipe is just that…gorgeous, rich, delicious and heavenly.  It’s a perfect dessert for an autumn dinner party, or a new tradition for the holidays.

Ms. Beranbaum created this cake for Fine Cooking magazine, despite her fears that the spices you usually add with pumpkin recipes would over power the cream cheese flavor.  But she used turbinado sugar instead of regular, which has mild overtones of molasses, instead of the spices, and it works extremely well.  The crust is so delicious also…I almost made a traditional graham cracker crust so that I wouldn’t have to buy gingersnaps and pecans for the recipe, and I am SO glad I changed my mind at the last minute.  It is a perfect complement to the pumpkin, and so good that I may use it in other cheesecake recipes as well.  I also almost didn’t make the caramel glaze.  I ruined the first batch (make sure you keep a close eye on it while it’s cooking!!), and contemplated nixing it all together, but decided to try again, and I am very happy with that decision as well.  It really finishes the cake.  Plus, you can use the extra leftovers for ice cream topping!  🙂

Plan ahead!!!  This must be made one day ahead of time.  (Another reason it’s perfect for the holidays!)

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Coat one 9×2 1/2-3 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set in a slightly larger silicone pan or wrap with a double layer (I did a triple layer) or heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent seepage. Then set in a 12×2 inch round cake pan or roasting pan to serve as a water bath. Set oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350.

Gingersnap Crust

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup gingersnap crumbs, lightly packed
1 tbsp sugar
2 pinches salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Toast pecans by spreading the pecans evenly on a baking sheet and baking for about 7 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Place the gingersnap crumbs in a food processor. Add the pecans, sugar and salt and process until fine crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter and pulse ten times just until incorporated. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, begin by pressing the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and partway up the sides. To keep the crumbs from sticking to your fingers, it helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the crumbs and to press them through the wrap. With a 6-inch round cake pan or a flat-bottomed straight-sided measuring cup, smooth the crumbs over bottom and at least 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Be sure to press the bottom thoroughly so that the crumbs are evenly distributed.

Pumpkin filling

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1 lb cream cheese, softened and cut into several pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks (2 tbsp), at room temperature

In a small heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin and sugar over medium heat and bring the mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick and shiny. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the mixture into a large food processor and process for 1 minute with the feed tube open.

With the motor of the food processor running, add the cold cream. Add the cream cheese in several pieces and process for 30 seconds, or until smoothly incorporated, scraping down the sides 2 or 3 times. Add the eggs and yolks and process for about 5 seconds, or just until incorporated. Using the silicone spatula, scrape the filling into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula. Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water.

Bake for 45 minutes, turning the pan halfway around in the oven after the first 25 minutes. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for 1 hour.

Remove the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover with a large bowl or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To unmold, use a small propane torch to heat the outside of the pan or wipe the sides of the pan with a dish towel run under hot water and wrung out.

Caramel Piping Glaze
(makes a full 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream, heated
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla

Have ready a 1-cup heatproof glass measure, coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heavy saucepan, preferably nonstick, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water until all the sugar is moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow the mixture to boil undisturbed until the mixture turns a deep amber (360 degrees F/180 degrees C or a few degrees lower because its temperature will continue to rise). Remove it from the heat and as soon as it reaches temperature, slowly and carefully pour the hot cream (I added a pinch of salt to the hot cream before adding to the caramel)  into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture gently, scraping the thicker part that settles on the bottom.

Return the pan to very low heat, continuing to stir gently for 1 minute, until the mixture is uniform in color and the caramel is fully dissolved. Remove it from the heat and gently stir in the butter until incorporated. The mixture will be a little streaky but becomes uniform in color once cooled and stirred.

Pour the caramel into the prepared glass measure and allow it to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla and allow the caramel to cool until no longer warm to the touch, stirring gently three to four times.

The glaze keeps covered for up to 3 days at room temperature and for at least three months refrigerated. To reheat: If the caramel is in a heatproof glass container at room temperature, microwave it on high for 1 minute, stirring twice. Alternatively, place the container in a pan of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until warm, about 7 minutes.

For a decorative lacing effect, you can pour the caramel glaze from the glass measure, but for the greatest precision, use a pastry bag fitted with a small decorating tip.

Margaux says…

I actually made this cake awhile ago, and am finally getting around to posting about it.  It was the first cold snap of the year, and I was really getting in the mood to bake fall-like things, but didn’t have a ton of time on my hands.  This spice cake was the perfect fix for my autumnal dessert yearning, and it was super easy to make.   Also, the ingredients are things that most cooks and bakers have around all of the time, so it’s a great cake for your spontaneous baking repertoire.   It’s perfectly spicy, and has a dense and moist texture.  The browned butter icing adds the perfect amount of sweetness.

Velvet Spice Cake
from The All New Joy of Cooking

Have all ingredients at room temperature, 68-70 degrees F. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 9-inch tube pan or one 8-10 cup fluted tube or Bundt pan.

Sift together twice:
2 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, beat until creamy, about 30 seconds:
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Gradually add and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2-4 minutes:
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

Beat in one at a time:
3 large eggs
1 egg white

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with, in 2 parts:
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp yogurt or buttermilk

Mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan, or tap the sides of the fluted tube or Bundt pan against the counter to loosen the cake. Invert the cake, then let cool, right side up or inverted, on the rack.

Browned Butter Icing

6 tbsp butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, constantly swirl the pan over the heat until the butter becomes deep golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Scrape it into a bowl and beat until smooth and spreadable. Use immediately, while still warm, so that it will pour over the cake more easily.