new apple pie

I’m always searching of the perfect pie crust; I think I may have found it.  I liked the flavor of it, since it’s made with both Crisco and butter.  My son Danny just told me that he thought it was amazing, so I’ll probably stick with this recipe, at least for awhile.

crust: 

3 cups unbleached organic flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

12 tablespoons frozen salted butter

8 tablespoons crisco (that’s refrigerated)

8 tablespoons ice water

Put flour in food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Sprinkle salt over.  Then put cut up butter over flour and crisco over as well.  Pulse till you can still see some pieces of butter throughout. Pour water over, and pulse till dough comes together.  Dump on clean surface (I use a marble slab) and divide into 2 pieces, one being larger by about 2 oz. for the top crust).

Flatter each into a round disk and refrigerate wrapped separately in waxed paper or parchment paper for a few hours or overnight.

apple filling:

apples – about 12 medium to large apples- I use a variety of baking apples either from my local orchard, Terhune Orchards near Princeton, or from

Whole Foods.

scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar

about 1 1/2 teaspoons organic cinnamon (you many need 2 teaspoons to taste)

about 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (I used cornstarch this time)

dash kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter, broken up for dotting over the top

Roll out smaller bottom crust, using enough flour to prevent sticking.  Place carefully in 9 to 9 1/2 inch pie dish.  Then spoon apples and most of the macerated cinnamon-lemon juice in. Dot with about 2 tablespoons butter. Then stick this in fridge while you roll out top crust.    After you roll out the top crust, carefully place over the apple filling.  Brush buy modafinil crust with a mixture of 1 egg and about 1 1/2 teaspoon milk or light cream (I used the light cream).  Then refrigerate or freeze for baking later. I freeze it uncovered for about 30 minutes before I wrap it up to give the egg wash some time to freeze.

Before baking, put  about 6 slits in the top for venting purposes.I bake it frozen at 375 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 minutes on lowest possible position in the oven  till the crust is nice and golden, and pharmacy online just before the juices start to erupt.

 

nectarine, blueberry, and raspberry galette or crostada

I usually bake pies, but sometimes, I enjoy baking summer fruit galettes because they are quick to prepare, and because you are guaranteed a flaky, browned crust on the bottom, which is hard to achieve in a pie.  For this, I used nectarines, blueberries, and raspberries, because that’s what I had on hand.  I liked the color of all three fruits- dazzling! I also liked the pure taste of the fruit in the tart- a result of only a little sugar and a dash of cinnamon- and no nutmeg!! I’m publishing this recipe because my daughter told me this dessert was one of the most delicious desserts she’s ever eaten. It’s adapted from Simply Scratch – Rustic Peach and Blueberry Galette.

for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks frozen butter (I used salted), cut into smallish cubes
  • 1 extra large egg yolk mixed with 3 tablespoons whole milk- but I will use 3 1/2 tablespoons next time, as dough needs a bit more liquid                                         ** (reserve the white for egg wash) 

In bowl of food processor with metal blade, put flour, salt, and sugar.  Pulse 1 or 2 times. Put butter cubes on top.  Pulse until you can still see little pieces of butter.  Pour egg yolk and milk mixture into canadian pharmacy online feed tube and whirr until dough just comes together as a ball.  Sprinkle some flour on a marble slab or on a piece of waxed paper, and flatten (roll) pastry into a disk about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  Wrap in plastic or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or if you’re short on time as I was, stick in freezer for 30 minutes.

for the fruit filling (you can adapt your fruits to your taste or what you have on hand):

  • 2 large nectarines (do not peel!)  (or 4-5 nectarines or peaches to 1 cup of blueberries and no raspberries)
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 heavy cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached flour 
  • NO NUTMEG!!! (I hate it!) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

In mixing bowl, slice the nectaries, put the blueberries, and the raspberries.  Sprinkle in the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour.  Gently mix with a rubber spatula.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take pastry out of fridge.  Roll out (either on waxed paper or on a marble surface) to a circular shape of about 14 inches. You should flip it a few times, sprinkling flour on rolling surface as needed.   Transfer carefully to a large sheet pan lined with parchment (I folded pastry in half to move it and then unfolded it onto my parchment lined sheet pan). Evenly put the fruit mixture evenly on pastry leaving a border of about 1 1/2 inches around the outer edge canadian pharmacy viagra with no fruit.  Then pleat that uncovered pastry up and over the fruit (You will have quite a large opening where the fruit is uncovered by pastry).  Make an egg wash of the reserved egg white with a teaspoon of water.  Brush it generously over the folded pastry.  Sprinkle the crust lightly with granulated sugar, and a little extra sugar over the fruit, too.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 min.  Once you see crust buy modafinil is starting to brown, reduce oven to 375 degrees, and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes till crust is perfectly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature plain or with vanilla ice cream.

banana pudding a la magnolia – in more ways than one

I was recently at 2 parties where my cousin Jane made the Magnolia Bakery recipe for banana pudding.  I couldn’t help but notice how everybody was going crazy for it.  So this weekend I decided to make it  as a dessert for my grandson Noah’s afterbirthday party (7 years old).  My daughter told me that it made a big hit.  I don’t see how it couldn’t – it’s rich and refreshing and just plain delicious. My cousin used the recipe on popsugar.com, so I used that as well.  I also referred to the recipe on health-e-child.org

ingredients:

  • 1 box Nabisco Nilla wafers (don’t substitute any other brand of cookies)
  • 1 14 oz. can Magnolia sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 pack Jello brand vanilla instant pudding
  • 4 large ripe (but not too ripe) bananas 
  • 3 cups heavy cream

instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk and water for about a minute with paddle attachment. Add the pudding mix and beat for canadian pharmacy cialis about two more minutes. Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. By that time the mixture should be nice and firm.
  2. In a large bowl on medium speed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form (I put my large metal mixing bowl and whisk mixer attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. I also put the cream in the freezer for 5 minutes before beating.) Beat till stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in whipped cream to the pudding mixture in thirds until fully incorporated and no streaks of pudding are visible.
  3. I like to use a glass trifle dish.   Start out by putting a shallow layer of whipped cream in bottom of dish. (This is different than any recipe I looked at for the Magnolia banana pudding) Then put about a layer of cookies (about a third of the box of Nilla wafers) on top of cream.  Layer about one third of the sliced bananas over cookies, then about 1/3 of leftover cream.  Then put second layer of cookies, then 2nd layer of bananas, then 1/2 of leftover cream.  Then put last canadian pharmacy online layer of cookies, last slices of bananas, and rest of cream over bananas.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 8 hours before serving.

Note:  I recommend you watch the video on popsugar.com at least once before you begin making this banana pudding.

Corn Muffins

I’ve made many different recipes for corn bread and corn muffins.  I happened to have on hand a mix from Stonewall Kitchen for cornbread which I used for corn muffins.  Although I usually am pretty negative towards mixes, I have to admit that this one was great.  The muffins had that perfect taste between savory and sweet, slightly reminiscent of the sweet Thomas Toaster Cakes I loved when I was a kid.  My daughter in law really enjoyed them, and she requested I make some for her to take back to Vietnam with her.  I didn’t have another of that mix, so I had to choose from one of the many recipes I’ve used in the past.  I settled on one I haven’t made for years from my old Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  The muffins came out great.  The second batch I made, I divided the batter in half and I added 1 cup of buy modafinil fresh blueberries to the one half.  I actually added an extra tablespoon of sugar the second time I made the muffins, and I liked the end result.

Adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook recipe entitled, “Rich Corn Cake” :

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal  (I used Quaker yellow cornmeal)
  • 1 cup organic unbleached flour (I always use King Arthur Flour)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (I used 5  the second time)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (original recipe calls for cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (I use Daisy because it is the purest brand of sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (I used salted) 
  • optional – blueberries-  about 1 cup for half the batter if you want to do half muffins plain and half with blueberries.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put canadian pharmacy 12 paper muffin cups in muffin tin.

In mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Mix milk, eggs, sour cream with a whisk.  Then pour in melted butter (but slightly cooled).  Mix with whisk. Add wet ingredients to dry.  Mix quickly with rubber spatula just till combined and you can’t see any pharmacy online streaks of the flour.  Scoop into muffin cups.

Bake 20 minutes, just till tops are starting to brown.

Eat hot with lots of butter!

New Yummy Brownie Recipe

This recipe turns out fudgy with a crackly top.

  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa 
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • a very heavy 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (recipe called for 2/3 cup, but I’d say I added an extra 2 tablespoons of flour to that)
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

I made this recipe today in honor of my grandson Noah’s seventh birthday.  It was his special request. When they came out of the oven, my son Benji couldn’t wait to eat one warm.  He said, “You can’t buy brownies like these anywhere- in a restaurant, supermarket, anywhere.”

Over a pot of simmering water, put a glass bowl.  Put butter and oil in, melt a bit, and put chocolate chips in.  Mix over simmering water till melted.  Take bowl off heat.  Add cocoa, sugars, espresso, eggs, vanilla.  Mix till blended.  Add flour, baking powder, salt.  Mix with rubber spatula just till blended.  Grease pan.  Put parchment paper in with overhang.  Grease parchment.  Put batter in.  Bake at 350 for about 20 min. till toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Judy’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole/ Bread Pudding

For my new granddaughter’s baby naming party, I wanted to make one more spectacular hot brunch item. I’ve made my french toast bread pudding recipe a few times to rave reviews, but there’s something I don’t like about it, and that’s the syrup that’s on the bottom.  It’s too sweet for me, mostly. I found a recipe on Kitchen Treaty called Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast that I mixed with my own recipe. So I pretty much kept the custard part of my recipe, added a sprinkling of blueberries, and sprinkled the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Most importantly, when I took the masterpiece out of the oven, I drizzled the entire top of it with pure maple syrup.  Oh my gosh, I can’t express how delicious this was.  Everyone who ate it loved it and commented on the absolute perfection of the dish.  My daughter called me to tell me that I need to make one entire casserole for her family because she did not get enough of it and because her husband got none.  This is an outstanding recipe, and what makes it even better is that you can prepare it a few hours ahead, or the night before, as I did, and bake it off the next day.

for the custard:

  • 1 challah (I use Zommick’s 15 oz. challah, which I buy at Stop and Shop
  • 8 extra jumbo eggs
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2  to 2 cups of blueberries (optional, but I used them)

for the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

essential ingredient for serving:

about 4-6 oz. pure maple syrup- medium grade

Directions:

1.  Cut the challah into slices about 1 inch thick.  Then cut the slices into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches big.  Let them sit out to get a little stale.  If I don’t have the time for that, I put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in a 200 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (I did this for baby naming party).

2.  Grease sides and bottom of large oval or rectangular 9 by 13 pan with butter.

3.  Place the pieces of challah in so they fit like a puzzle.  If you have to squeeze a few in, that’s fine, but use the entire challah.

4.  Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the challah pieces; you can push some of them down a little into some crevices.

5.  Whisk the eggs, light cream, sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla in a mixing bowl. Ladle the custard evenly over the bread.

6.  Refrigerate over night or for a few hours till you are ready to bake.

7.  Before you put into the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top, using all of it.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min. until top is puffed (even the center) and a toothpick comes out clean.

9.  Take out of the oven, and immediately drizzle the maple syrup all over the  top of the casserole.

10.  Serve immediately!

Homemade Applesauce

This is a great recipe for homemade applesauce.  You will think you’re eating baked apples with cinnamon.   I made this for my son and his friends, and they couldn’t get over how much better it was than eating store-bought applesauce.

  • 1 teaspoon good cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use Minute Maid lemon juice from concentrate if I don’t have fresh lemons)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths (or Cortland, Honeycrisp, Winesap) (Reserve some of the apple peels)
  • 3  large McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths (or any of the above varieties)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place cut up apples in dutch oven or pyrex baking pan.  Sprinkle apples with the lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and water.  Add the reserved pieces of apple peel. Mix gently.  Bake for about 45 min.  Mix once or twice during the cooking.  After the 45 minutes, cook a little longer if aren’t soft enough.  When apples are soft enough, take a potato masher just to mash the bigger pieces a little.  There should be a little texture to this apple sauce.  If you wish, you can take out any pieces of apple peel, but they may have pretty much dissolved.  Refrigerate or serve warm.

New Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been wanting  a muffin that’s bigger and tastes more like a bakery muffin.  This is what I came up with. They are fluffy, perfectly sweet, and a little lemony.  These take a little more effort than my original blueberry muffins, and although I do like these, I’m still stuck on my originals.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 heavy cups blueberries dusted with flour
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • about 1 teaspoon lemon zest (zest from maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of one lemon)
  • optional sugar for sprinkling on muffins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 385 degrees.  Put paper muffin cups in standard 12 muffin tin.  (This makes about 16 muffins though, so you’ll need 2 muffin tins.)

In large mixing bowl, put flour, powder, soda, and salt, and mix gently.  In second bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, yogurt, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry.  Gently fold dry into wet.  When about 1/2 way folded in, add the blueberries, and continue to fold flour and berries in just until you don’t see any more flour.  Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into muffin cups.  Cups will be filled almost to the top.

Bake at 385 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Then reduce the temperature to 350.  Bake about 30-40 minutes until tops are nicely browned but not burnt, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.  Sprinkle with sugar after muffins come out of muffin for that professional look.

Amazing Chocolate Cake

It was my daughter’s anniversary today, so I decided to make a yummy dinner for her and her husband (and kids).  For dessert, I decided last night that I’d make a chocolate cake that I’d been eying the recipe for.  It is known as “That Chocolate Cake” and I found it on the Scharffen Berger web site and on Tastespotting. This cake was everything I was looking for, and it was super simple to make.  I believe this recipe is almost exactly the same as the recipe I’ve made for chocolate cupcakes (Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe) except that it calls for no vanilla. I followed it pretty much exactly as it appears on the web site listed above, except that I added vanilla.  The finished product was magnificent.  The cake was really dark, moist, but light at the same time.  The icing was bittersweet and creamy, but I prefer to use my own recipe you will find on this site under “Judy’s Famous Birthday Cake.”

Recipe is adapted from the Scharffen Berger recipe – “That Chocolate Cake.”


for the cake:

  • unsalted butter (for greasing pans)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder (I used this brand of cocoa and after tasting the cake, I’m a huge fan of it! But I also use Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa and it’s great)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I used aluminum free- Rumsford)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup  oil (I used light olive oil or canola)
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used organic)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 This is one recipe, but I prefer the chocolate icing from Judy’s Famous Birthday Cake  for the frosting which can also be found on this site:

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (I used a heavy 1 1/4 cups since I did not use the 99% unsweetened chocolate the original recipe calls for, but totally unsweetened chocolate)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used organic)
  • 5 ounces  (squares) Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter (I used organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but I feel that is too much)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt (the original recipe does not call for salt)

make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of  a 9 by 13 inch rectangular pan or two 9-inch round cake pans. My cake pans are amazing- they have a bottom that comes off the sides so I never have to worry about getting my layers out of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand held mixer or with a whisk, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed just to combine. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk and vanilla.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for a minute or two, scraping the bottom a few times. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the boiling water. The batter will be soupy, but if you mix it on low for a minute, it will thicken up a little.

Pour into greased rectangular pan or divide the batter evenly between the 2 round cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake starts to separate from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 15-30 minutes.  Then you can frost.  If using round pans, then run a knife around the edges of the pans turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely. I just take the sides off my pans to finish the cooling, because the cake is a little fragile at this point.

 Start making the frosting while cake is baking or at end of baking, because it will require about 15 or 20 min. to firm up enough to use.

see Judy’s famous birthday cake recipe for favorite chocolate frosting.

make the frosting:

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Turn flame off and add the chocolate.  When almost completely melted, add the butter and stir until melted. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the vanilla. Immediately place in the fridge to start firming up.  Every 15 min. or so, mix the frosting with a rubber spatula and place back in fridge.


to frost the cake:

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a palette knife or icing spatula. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Cover with a good quality of plastic wrap that won’t stick to the icing and take any off the cake, and refrigerate cake until you serve it.

Jewish Apple Cake

My daughter Randi had eaten some homemade apple cake at a friend’s house, and she claimed it was the best apple cake she’d ever eaten.  It turned out the recipe had come from Smitten Kitchen and is called Mom’s Apple Cake.  I basically followed the recipe to a t.  It turned out to be absolutely delicious.

( adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 6 apples (I used a combination of apples)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (squeeze fresh if you have it)
  • 2 3/4 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs (extra large)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.