They’re everywhere at the moment, from the farmers’ market to your local grocery store … white paper bags filled with Macintosh apples. And it’s a good thing, because the best apple pie recipe I know is made with them.
What makes it, in my humble opinion, the best apple pie recipe? Well, first of all, there’s the crust; it’s thin and flaky, which I happen to prefer to a thicker, heavier, doughier crust. The crust is heaven. Second, there’s the filling, starting with the key ingredient, those Macintosh apples. When they’re cooked, they tend to be softer than other varieties; again, this is a personal preference. And mixed with the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and tapioca, and topped with butter, well, you’ll have to judge the result for yourself. To me, it bakes into sweet perfection. And lastly, there is the beautifully browned, not burned, crust (there’s a tip for that).
Full disclosure Part I: this is my mother’s recipe – she’s modified it over the years with tips from here and there, making it the divine apple pie that it is today – but I promise this is an unbiased recommendation. Everyone loves my mother’s pie; and her recipe is similar to my sister-in-law’s and her mother’s. Full disclosure Part II: my mother lives in Canada, as do my sister-in-law and her mother, so maybe this is the all-Canadian take on the all-American classic.
Give it a try, you just might like it.
As always, eat well!
Georgina’s Apple Pie
PASTRY FOR A 2-CRUST PIE
2-½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ lb. shortening or lard
½ cup ice cold water
- In a medium bowl, light stir flour and salt with a fork.
- Slice the shortening into one-inch cubes, then add it to the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until it is the mixture is the size of peas.
- Sprinkle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the pastry holds together.
- Shape into two balls and flatten into 1/2-thick round disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Note: you can refrigerate the dough for up to two days, or freeze for three months.
6-7 Macintosh apples, peeled and sliced into pieces about 1/8th of an inch thick
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. minute tapioca
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the apple slices in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the sprinkle lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and tapioca.
- Add to the apples and stir, until the apples are coated.
- Let sit the apple mixture sit while rolling out the pie crust.
- Flour your rolling surface and pin. Roll out one piece of the refrigerated dough, from the middle of the disk outwards, making a circle two inches wider than your inverted pie plate.
- Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate.
- Fill the pie shell with the apple mixture.
- Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and dot over the apples.
- Roll out the top crust, using the same method as above, and place over the apples. There should be a 3/4-inch overhang of the dough.
- Fold pasty overhang under and then bring over the top crust and pinch to make a decorative edge.
- Use a fork to pierce all over the top pie crust, to vent steam during baking.
- Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar.
- Cover edges with tinfoil for the first 40 minutes of baking time, and then remove.
- Bake a total of one hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool before serving (preferably some fabulous vanilla bean ice cream).
I happen to be a fan of Brussels sprouts. I’ll eat them steamed with some of olive oil and salt, or braised for a bit in the oven. I’ll eat them pretty much any way. But I’ve come to realize that not everyone feels the same way as I do about this sometimes maligned vegetable. The intent behind today’s post is to create some converts. And, if there is one Brussels sprout recipe that can accomplish the goal, this is it.
Epicurious’ Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots. The recipe was originally published in Bon Appetit in November 2007. That same Christmas, I was introduced to it by my brother and sister-in-law, both of whom love good food as much as I do and, admittedly, are better cooks.
The recipe is deceptively simple in its use of ingredients and its preparation. The caramelized shallots make the dish slightly sweet, while the most arduous step is cutting the sprouts into the 1/8-inch slices.
Give it a try as a side for your Thanksgiving meal.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
- 1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
- Coarse kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.
The harvest is coming to and end … culminating in the Thanksgiving feast. As the weather turns colder, we instinctively turn to comfort foods. And the seasonal fruits and vegetables seem instinctively to know this.
Broccoli, mushrooms, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash.
Cranberries, oranges, pears, pomegranate, tangerines.
If salads are your thing, look no further than Mark Bittman’s Roasted Sweet Potato Salad or 101 Cookbooks’ Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad. For a main course, you can try Spinach, Pesto, and Fontina Lasagna or Artic Char with Chinese Broccoli and Sweet Potato Puree, both from Epicurious.com. And this month, we’ll turn to Smitten Kitchen for dessert: Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart – sounds divine.
As for mushrooms, which I love, I have two suggestions. The first is mushroom crostini (like bruschetta but with mushrooms). With the holidays coming, it’s always good to have a few go-to appetizers that you know your guests will love. Martha Stewart offers up Wild Mushroom Crostini. The second recipe is Mushroom Risotto. The official version of my favorite locked away in a storage unit in one of the outer boroughs, I discovered a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis and modified it slightly to match the memory of the one I love. I made it yesterday and, I have to say, it was delicious. The recipe, along with my changes, are included below.
As always, enjoy the season and eat well!
Giada De Laurentiis, “Everyday Italian“
- 8 cups canned low salt Chicken Broth
- ½ oz dried porcini mushroom
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 cups finely chopped Onions
- 10 oz white Mushrooms finely chopped (I used cremini mushrooms)
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1½ cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
- 2/3 cup Dry White Wine
- ¾ cup frozen pea thawed (I omitted the peas)
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- salt and freshly ground black pepper optional
- Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
- Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: If you’re short on broth, as I was last night, instead of reconstituting the porcini mushrooms in the chicken broth, do it 2-3 cups of boiling water (for about 20 minutes). Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and follow the directions above. You’ll be left with the “porcini broth” which you can run through a strainer, adding it to your chicken broth. You’ll have more than enough to cook the arborio rice and the flavors are all there.