Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Classic Apple Pie

Two-Layer Apple Pie

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 sticks + 1 tbsp butter, cut into small chunks
10 tbsp ice water
5 apples
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp cinnamon
fresh ground nutmeg

Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter a bit at a time and mix with a pastry cutter until it looks like fine crumbs, with pieces no bigger than peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the crumbs and mix by pressing down with a rubber spatula. You can add an extra tablespoon or two of ice water if it won't come together.
Divide the dough in half. Form into 5" disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

After the dough has had time to chill, Preheat the oven to 375º. Take one piece of dough out and place between two sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll it out to a 12" circle, then carefully roll it around the rolling pin. Hold the rolling pin just above the pan and carefully unroll the dough into place. Press down lightly to fit the dough into the pan, then cut excess off edges. Prick the bottom of the crust to reduce risk of bubbles when it bakes.

Cut up 5 apples, toss them in a sauce pot with about 1/2 cup of sugar and a few tablespoons of corn starch and a splash of water. Simmer and occasionally stir over medium/high heat until the apples are caramelized, let them cool a bit then throw them into the crust and do whatever fancy work you want with the top layer of crust.

Brush the top with a mix of egg whites & water, then sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Sometimes it takes 40.

Let cool mostly before serving.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Zebra Cake with Raspberry Puree & Chocolate Ganache

Zebra Cake

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 2/3 cup all purpose or cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth, then beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl in between. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. Stir the vanilla into the milk in a bowl, set aside. Mix 1/3 of dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then 1/3 of the vanilla milk, and repeat until all are combined. Pour half the batter into another bowl and add the cocoa powder.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate batter into the greased cake pan, followed by 1 tablespoon vanilla batter in the center. Rotate the pan after each addition to keep it evenly distributed.
Bake ...20, 35? minutes, remove from pan when partly cooled.

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate

Melt in a double boiler over medium-high heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over cooled cake before adding raspberry layer.

Raspberry Topping
1 pack of raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
brandy or honey bourbon

Stir all together in a sauce pot over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When it looks like jam, let it cool before piling into the center of the ganached cake and carefully spread it out to the edges.