Crazy for Apple Pie

The Crazy Cooks are back! I joined the group a few months ago only to find out, after my first challenge, they were no longer going to be running.  Then, last month I got an email  saying that they were starting back up again!!  I was quite excited as I only was able to participate in one previous challenge.  This group picks a theme and you can find any recipe you want, but it must be a recipe you have never tried.  This month was apple pie.

I am not a huge pie fan, in fact there are really only 2 pies that I like, pecan pie and my Gramma’s Raisin pie.  These pies are 2 of the sweetest pies I have ever tasted, you can almost feel your teeth rotting as you chew, they are wonderful!  Normally I pass on pie because I don’t like ‘fruit’ for dessert, and most pies are fruit pies.  Even though I don’t like pie I was excited to do this challenge because my family loves pie!

I combined two recipes for this pie.  The filling was from a recipe on Epicurious – Old Fashioned Lattice-Top Apple Pie.  As for the crust – I have a very hard time with crust, it rarely turns out.  I’ve been told that my hands are too warm to make crust, the butter melts before its suppose to (who knows?).  I had been using a Shortbread Pastry that worked fairly well, but these challenges require you to use recipes that you have never used before.  I chose to use Anna Olson’s Pie Dough, Anna is my Hero! I saw her make this dough on Bake With Anna Olson, AND it is made in your Kitchen Aid Mixer! Sorry for the dark pictures, we are experiencing a lot of dark rainy days here…

Two-Crust Pie Dough

2 1/4 cups cake and pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar

Directions

1. Stir the flour, sugar and salt to combine in a bowl or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

2. Cut in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter or on low speed until just small pieces of butter are visible and the mixture as a whole just begins to take on a pale yellow colour (indicating that the butter has been worked in sufficiently).


3. Stir the water and lemon juice together and add this to the dough all at once, mixing until the dough just comes together.

4. Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge before rolling.

Still able to see pieces of butter

Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

Directions

1. Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add apples and toss to blend.

3. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round.

4. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edge under, forming high-standing rim; crimp.Don’t worry about cracks, dough is very forgiving, just patch it up in the pan

5. Add filling.

6. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into twelve 1-inch-wide strips. Arrange 6 strips across pie. Form lattice by arranging 6 strips diagonally across first strips. Gently press ends into crust edges. Brush lattice with milk. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.(I got a little excited and forgot to take pictures. Sorry)

7. Bake pie 10 minutes.

8. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.  Continue baking until juices bubble thickly and crust is deep golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool on rack 1 hour. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand on rack.)

Apple Pie without Cheese is like a hug without a squeeze!

I have mixed reviews for the pie.  The crust was amazing! This will be my new ‘go to’ crust.  It was it was light, and flakey, but strong enough to hold shape, I highly recommend it.  The filling….it was a little blah…it did not thicken,
It was just like eating apples, not pie. I was disappointed.  Some people loved it, some said it was good.  No one was ‘wowed’.  Thought the crust got rave reviews.
I really enjoyed this challenge! Thank you crazy cooks for returning, I look forward to next months Challenge!
Check out everyone’s Apple Pies HERE
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Crazy Cooking Challenge – Cheesecake!

I am very excited, as I have joined another baking group!  This is my first month as a Crazy Cook!  This months challenge was Cheesecake.  We had to choose a new cheesecake recipe, we were not to use a recipe that we had already posted about.  This was hard for me because I really, really wanted to use my ‘go to‘ cheesecake recipe.  It is my all time favourite and have not tasted a cheesecake as good since I first made it.  So, in sticking with the rules I hunted for a new recipe!  I searched and searched, which one to try??

The recipe I chose was Tall and Creamy Cheesecake from Smells Like home.  Let me explaine why I chose this recipe.  While searching, many of the reicpes that were coming up were the same ‘base recipe’ I use, as it was a Daring Bakers Challenge a few years ago.  As  I was reading this one post the blogger mentioned how she really didn’t like the cheesecake and liked her ‘go to’ recipe much better.  What? a cheesecake better then my favourite? I knew I had to try it!

Next big decision? What flavour will I make? I usually sturggle with this one.  Most people like cheesecake, but not everyone like the same flavours.  It is hard to please everyone but this time I tried.  Instead of making one cheesecake I made many, many individual cheesecakes, this way I could make several different flavours.

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

Adapted from Smells Like Home

Crusts

I made 3 different crusts, grahm crumb, Oreo crumb and Oreo Cookies.

Grahm Crumb Crust

1 cup Grahm crumbs

3 T Sugar

3 T butter melted

Directions

1. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter – Stir and set aside

Oreo Cookie Crust

1 cup cookie crumbs

3 T sugar

2 T butter melted

Directions

1. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter – stri

Preparing the cursts

1. Spoon a generous tablespoon of prepared crust into lined muffin tins

2. Press frimly to create the base – I found a glass that worked perfect

3. For remainder place an Oreo Cookie in the cup

4.  Set aside to prepare Cheesecake

Cheesecake

  • 4 pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
  • 24 Oreo Cookies, 12 whole and 12 chopped
  • 2 Skor Bars
  • 2 pkg of mini Rolo’s

Directions:

1. Working with a stand mixer (I strongly recomend using a stand mixer, as a last resort an electric beater, but dont even attemt it with a whisk, your arm will fall off, there is alot of mixing), preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes.

2. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light.

3. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Look at that! So creamy and light.  It looks like a dream!


6. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula , just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl

7. Scoop the plain batter into the cups filled with Grahm crumb crust

At this point I notice that there is A LOT of batter still left, I didn’t even look like I used any.  I ended up making 12 plain and started dividing the batter into 2 other batches

8. Chop and crush remining 12 Oreo cookies

9. I crushed some (wacked them with a frying pan) and roughly chopped some – Stir to combine

10. Scoop onto the Oreo Cookie “crust’

11. Melt 5 oz of semi sweet chocolate allow to cool and add to remaining batter

12. I then divided the batter again.  One half chopped Skor Bar, other half chopped Mini Rolo’s

13 Stir and scoop into prepared cookie crumb crust


14. Bake at 325 F they are done when the centers are just about firm and only a tiny bit jiggly.

NOW DISASTER STRIKES!

I was so excited! The batter came together like a dream, so fluffy and creamy, it looked heavenly! I could not wait to try one of these little cheesecakes (who am I kidding? I wanted to try them all!)

I put them in the oven for their bake…

Everything seemed to be going perfectly.  They had a slight rise, as the recipe suggested.  The aroma in the kitchen was delightfully tangy and sweet.

Then………..They ALL FELL!!

I was devistated! Keep in mind they were still baking.  It’s not like I took them out too early and they were under cooked.

They Look more like Tart Shells than cheesecakes

The Oreo one’s survived the best

Skor

Rolo

What can I say? I was very disapointed! I really don’t know what went wrong.  They tasted ok… but, I like my recipe better. They were very dence, which I was not expecing from the fluffy and airy batter. Chalk this one up as a (very expensive) learning experience.

This was my first Crazy Cooks  Challenge and now I find out that this was the LAST challenge! They will no longer be running.   I guess I will have to search for another monthly baking group.  Anyone know of any?

 

Crazy Cooking Challenge!

 

I joined a another baking group!  Just what I need, right? another excuse to bake.  The Crazy Cooking Challenge is a monthly challenge.  Each month the host picks a ‘theme’ and we choose a recipe.  For example, one month was Chocolate Chip Cookies, each participant must find and make a chocolate chip cookie from a FoodBlog.  It has a guideline but, a lot of freedom.  I am quite excited!  We will be posting on the 7th of each month, check back for some delicious creations!