Tag Archives: homemade

Secret Recipe Apple Pie

19 Nov

You should feel so honored right now. I’m about to share my secret recipe with you. Once you make this apple pie, all other pie will pale in comparison. You may be tempted to make other pies, and when you do, you’ll just be disappointed that it’s not this pie. That’s how good this pie is.

Mmm... Apple pie

The BF likes it so much that even he will roll up his sleeves and help. Which is awesome, because peeling and grating apples is a pain. And yes, I said grating. That’s the first secret: don’t slice or dice your apples, grate them. With a cheese grater. Be careful not to grate your knuckles. When you slice or dice apples, you get random textures and tastes with each bite. When you grate the apple, you get a nice, uniform taste and texture throughout the pie. No weird mush surprises.

a la mode-y

Photo credit to Emily of Voila! with Emily

The other secret… using the right apple. I like sweet, and I’m not the biggest fan of tart. So I use my favorite apple: gala. Preferably organic, and if you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood, go there. They always have excellent organic gala apples.

The third secret: When you get a handful of grated apple, squeeze out the extra juice before adding it to the bowl. You’ll end up with a thicker, heartier pie instead of a sloppy, runny pie. And you’ll also end up with a glass of the most delicious apple juice you’ll ever drink.

I guess the last secret is the recipe, so here you go. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Secret Recipe Apple Pie

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

6 medium-sized Gala apples
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust: Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, oil, milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

Prepare the apples: Peel each apple. Grate the apples. Squeeze a handful of grated apple to reduce the amount of liquid. (Reserve juice if desired.) Add grated apple to a large bowl.

For the filling: To the apples, add 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to coat evenly. Spread in unbaked pie shell.

For the topping: In a shallow bowl or pan, add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or pizza slicer to mix until evenly distributed and crumbly. (The butter should not melt or spread evenly, but will look like small balls or pearls mixed in among the flour and sugar.) Sprinkle mixture evenly over the apple mixture.

If desired, cover edges of pie with foil to prevent browning. Place pie in the oven on top of a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may spill over. Bake 45 minutes.

Classic

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A-Pizza Pie!

26 Apr

Last weekend, I cooked up a storm. The BF was at some boring conference that I opted out of, so I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. Among other things, I made homemade pizza. And I mean, homemade – dough from scratch, sauce from scratch.

Speaking of the term “from scratch,” here’s a little rant for you. (If you’re not interested, just skip this paragraph.) In my mind, “from scratch” means using real ingredients, no short cuts. So when I find a recipe for tomato sauce called “tomato sauce from scratch” that calls for a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, I just feel like that’s a little bit of false advertising, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily oppose cooking with canned goods. I just oppose cooking with canned goods when it’s supposed to be “from scratch.”

Okay, rant over, because you need to see all the amazing pictures we got of this pizza. Mark Bittman ran a piece in the NY Times about homemade pizza, so along with about 1,453,7459 other pretentious hipsters, we tackled the project. I started with his basic pizza dough recipe, though I altered it a bit to feature whole wheat flour. Although this whole project did take a while, it was easier than I expected it to be.

The Dough

I set up my food processor and added in 1 cup whole wheat flour3/4 cup white flour1 1/2 teaspoon fast-rising yeast1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. I turned it on and poured in 1/2 cup water through the tube. It took about 20-30 seconds to process it into a sticky ball – a large clump of dough was swirling around and around inside. (If yours is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If too mushy/sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together.)

I rubbed a little olive oil on my palms to keep the dough from sticking to me when I pulled it out of the processor. I shaped it into a ball and wrapped it in plastic wrap. I left it out on the counter for 2 or 3 hours while I attended to other things. (Mark gives you a few more options in his recipe if you’re tight on time.) (Also, sorry for the lack of pictures – my hands were really messy and I was flying solo on this mission.)

Tomato Sauce

On to the tomato sauce. Before I put the food processor away, I pureed 4 small tomatoes  into mush. In a sauce pan, I heated 2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 diced yellow onion, and 4 cloves minced garlic over medium high. Once the onions started to look a little clear and smell more fragrant, I added the tomato puree in. Then I added about 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend and 2 tablespoons white wine. I let that simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. (Near the end it seemed a little thin, so I turned the heat up high and cooked it without a lid to get some of the extra water to steam off.) FYI, we both thought this was a little heavy on the onion – could have cut that down a bit. And we both thought it could have used more tomato flavor – though if I bought tomatoes in tomato season, that probably would be way better.

Pizza

Fast forward a couple hours, and I’m ready to cook my pizza. I took the dough ball and unwrapped it, shaping it into a ball and dusting the outside with flour. I let it rest for a bit while the oven warmed up to 500 degrees (HOT!) and I prepared the ingredients. I shredded up a whole ball of super high quality mozzarella. And trust me, when you splurge on super high quality mozzarella, you really notice the difference. I sliced up some mushrooms, the BF halved some cherry tomatoes, and I sauteed a handful of spinach with some olive oil and garlic for about 4 minutes.

Mmm... Cheese. Is that a little mushroom I see back there?

Aren't you just the cutest little tomatoes I've ever seen?

Spinach Saute

After that, I turned back to the dough and worked on pressing it out. I just used my hands to press it on the counter to about a 1/2 inch thick flat round. I added a little flour here and there when it got sticky. I didn’t worry about making it too thin, (1) because I’m impatient and (2) because I like thick, soft crust. The BF probably would have preferred a thin, crunchy crust, but he wasn’t the one making the pizza all day.

Dough!

I transferred the dough from the counter to my pizza stone. (I spread some olive oil over the crust, but after cooking it, I realized that was really unnecessary – it was pretty greasy.) I baked the crust for about 5 minutes at 500 F. After that, I pulled the crust back out and added my toppings – spinach and mushrooms on my side, spinach and tomatoes on his side. And course, a very large amount of mozzarella cheese for both of us. (If I’d had some, I would have loved to mix some rosemary into the crust.) I popped it back into the oven for 5-7 more minutes.

Totally Sauced

Ingredient #1

PIZZA

And when we pulled it out – omg gooey deliciousness. I sliced up our pizza, the BF cracked open a soda, and we settled down for a movie on the couch. AMAZING. It was SO GOOD.

PIZZA FTW