Danish Apple Pie with Caramel Apple Topping

March 28th, 2020

Still life with Apples

I thought I would share an apple still life with you during these challenging days; a little art can distract us from all that is happening.  Still life is a good word for these days by the way.  We are living a “still life” now;  no social events on our schedule. We returned to North Carolina from Florida last weekend.  We are sheltering in place like so many of you.  I have kept busy Spring cleaning after being away for 3 months.  But I have also been busy cooking and reading.  If you want to read a great series of books, I recommend Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books.  The charming village of Three Pines inspires warmth with its quirky people and strong sense of community.  Ironically the first book in the series is called Still Life.  I have been downloading books to my Kindle.  I am caught up with all of Louise Penny’s books, but am looking for more feel good books with wonderful prose and a hopeful message.  Let me know if you have suggestions.

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This recipe for Danish Apple Pie with Caramel Apple Topping actually came from one of the Kindle books I have been reading by Susan Wiggs; The Apple Orchard.  Although this is called an apple pie, it is actually an apple cake with a crumbly surface.  It is so easy in execution that you can throw it together in no time.  The topping takes a little bit longer, but it is a great condiment to have on hand for this or a topping for ice cream. It will keep well in the fridge for a week or more.

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We have been avoiding desserts over the last year, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  I am feeling an occasional treat can brighten the day.

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Another thing to brighten the day is this wonderful roast chicken.  We will be eating on this for a few days and will turn the carcass into soup.

LL tight up

This is the way to distance yourselves on the lake.  In these uncertain times it is hard to know what to do.  We are trying to support our local restaurants and businesses in anyway that we can. The best thing we can do right now is to help others.  One of my friends is making runs to Sam’s Club for food for several families so that fewer people are exposed. We have bought gift certificates to restaurants to be used later when the threat has passed and will be ordering take out from our local restaurants.  Stay safe and try to weather this unexpected “still life”.

DANISH APPLE PIE WITH CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING (Slightly adapted from Susan Wiggs)

Danish Apple Pie:
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups diced apples, peeled and sautéed in 1 Tbls butter until soft
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat the egg, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla.  Then add flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to create a smooth batter.  Fold in slightly cooled sautéed apples and nuts, then p9our into a buttered and floured 8″ square pan or 9″ pie pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Caramel Apple Topping:
4 chopped apples; no need to peel
4 Tbls butter
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream or buttermilk

Melt the butter in a heavy pan.  Add the sugar and swirl until melted.  Add the spices and apples and sauté until apples are tender.  Add the walnuts and stir.  Turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the cream.  Serve over ice cream or cake and keep leftovers in a jar in the fridge.  Also good with yogurt, pound cake or granola.  I halved the topping recipe when I made it.  It is easy to do if you don’t want a lot of leftover topping.

Printable Recipe

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

January 13th, 2015

Lemon Chiffon Pie 1

One of the things to love about Winter is that it is citrus season.  Oranges, lemons, tangerines and blood oranges brighten the produce aisles of the supermarkets.  I usually have an orange for breakfast.  But for a bit more decadent way to enjoy citrus try this smooth chiffon pie with a bite from the gingersnap crust.  It brightens even the most gloomy of days.

We are beginning a kitchen project this week.  We have been slowly updating what we found when we bought the house in Florida.  We updated the appliances a few years ago and added new countertops.  The previous countertops were the same faux wood as our cabinets.  Not pretty.  We chose Corian.  We have granite in Lake Lure, but Corian seemed the right choice for Florida.  Our current project is to reface all of our kitchen cabinets, replacing the doors and adding a few pull out shelves.  Here is how the kitchen looks now.

Florida Kitchen 1

The new cabinets will be off white, creamier than what you see here.  The style is Shaker with a beadboard insert.  The installers will be here Thursday and Friday and should be able to finish the job in just those two days.

Florida Kitchen 5

 

The cabinet over the dishwasher will have glass doors.  I am anxious to see the results.  I will give you an update when it is all put back together again.  In the meantime, I will be making a pot of soup before the work begins.  I was told that we could still use the kitchen and it made sense to have soup in the fridge to reheat for dinner each night.

Lemon Chiffon Pie 2

I will also have this tart lemony pie with a hint of orange zest to dig into.  I plan to add this to my list of Florida desserts.  I usually make key lime pie for guests, but this lemon chiffon pie is a good alternative.  By the way, the background for my pie is a Downton Abbey wrapping paper available at World Market.  I was immediately attracted to it before I even knew its provenance. This year’s episodes of Downton Abbey are riveting.  What will happen to Mr. Bates?  Will Lady Mary find happiness?

LEMON CHIFFON GINGERSNAP PIE (Williams Sonoma)

1 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar divided
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or dish.  Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest, and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy.  Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form.  Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Printable Recipe

Deep Dish Apple Pie

September 11th, 2014

Apple Pie 1

 

We have been busy with friends recently.  Our Michigan and Nantucket friends were here for a visit.  We had a wonderful time with them.  One of our Michigan friends is a fruit farmer and he has acres of apple orchards.  So it made sense to me that I had to make an apple pie.  David said “You are probably going out on a limb here because Jim is probably a connoisseur of apple pies”.  Since I love to live on the edge, I decided to make Ina Garten’s deep dish apple pie because you can’t go wrong with her recipes.

Apple Pie 3

 

The pastry recipe was very easy to work with.  It had a combination of butter and shortening in it and rolled out like a breeze.  The apple filling was good, but Jim did notice the lemon flavor added to the apples.  I think it was too much and took away from the cinnamon flavor.

Chicken Dinner 1

 

Another meal that we had was rotisserie chicken on the grill with potatoes, onions and carrots roasted underneath them.  I got the recipe from the other Penny at The Comforts of Home.  It was a challenge to get three whole chickens on the spit, but David managed it and they turned out very well; moist and crispy.  I served them with French green beans, croissants and salad.  Very French.

Chicken Dinner 2

 

Moses, our Nantucket friend, even cooked the necks and gizzards to be nibbled as an appetizer.

Chicken dinner 4

 

I think David was really enjoying the neck meat.  Every picture that I took showed him gnawing away.  My kitchen looked messy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Smiling faces, good friends, good wine and good food all conspired to make for a memorable get together.

DEEP DISH APPLE PIE (The Barefoot Contessa)

4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I will omit this next time)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice (I may omit this next time)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Perfect Pie Crust, recipe follows
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg washPreheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim. Don’t stretch the dough; if it’s too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it.

Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1-inch over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm.

PERFECT PIE CRUST

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts

Printable Recipe

 

Sweet Cherry Pie

July 15th, 2011

Cherry pie has been on my mind lately.  We had a wonderful cherry pie at The Inn on Crippen Creek Farm on our vacation.  My friend Lyla commented on the fact that I failed to get the recipe for it and drats, it is true.  While shopping the other day I picked up some sweet cherries with the intention of baking a pie.  While laboriously pitting the cherries yesterday David said “what are you going to do with them?”  I said “make a pie”.  He said “You can’t make a cherry pie with sweet cherries!”  “What!”  I said.  You have to understand that I trust what he is saying, in this case, because he grew up on a farm.  A fruit farm.  With cherry trees.  His Mom was a great cook.  Their cherries were sour.  Grumbling, I went to the internet and searched for recipes for sweet cherry pie if there were such things.  I found one and it was from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  If you can’t trust her authority, one who is under contract with Knopf for a cookbook coming out next Spring, who can you trust.  So there.  As I expected when making a cherry pie with sweet cherries, just use less sugar.

I feel pretty confident about pie crust.  Even back in high school when I didn’t know how to cook anything else, I knew how to make a pie.  I had grown up watching my Mom and Grandma make pies.  As a matter of fact when David and I were first dating I decided to impress him with a homemade apple pie.  I worked on it all afternoon taking extra care to flute the edges of the crust just so.  David picked me up for out date and we went to a movie.  Now you have to understand that there were two people in our family who loved pie crust;  my Dad and me.  While we were gone, my Dad started nibbling on the edges of the pie by breaking off small pieces, a little here a little there.  He couldn’t help himself.  By the time we got home, my beautiful pie looked like a family of mice had gnawed their way through the edges leaving crumbs of pastry scattered everywhere.  It was a disaster.  David laughed.  I was furious.  Later my Dad apologized, but it was not as heartfelt as I thought it should have been.  He thought it was the funniest thing that he had ever done and over the years the story was told over and over again with great mirth.

So to this day, when I make a pie, I always make it with a thick crust with the edges fluted just so.  Just for Dad.

For the recipe for sweet cherry pie and a really great all butter pie crust check out Deb’s Smitten Kitchen blog post.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.