Thursday, November 24, 2011

Double-Crust Butter Pecan Apple Pie

I have had really good results and love all the recipes that I have tried from Baking For All Occassions by Flo Braker.  This pie was no exception.  The crust was tender and flaky, the filling was not overly sweet, the addition of the candied pecans was amazing!  I will most definitely make this pie again!


Double Crusted Butter-Pecan Apple Pie

Yield:  One 9-inch pie, 8 servings

Candied Butter Pecans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 T light corn syrup
3 T unsalted butter
1/8 t salt
1 c pecan halves

1 recipe double crust pastry

7 medium (3 pounds) your favorite or assorted cooking apples, peeled, cut in half vertically, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 9 cups)
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 T firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/8 t salt
2/3 c candied butter pecans
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T honey 

1 to 2 Tablespoons of whole milk
2 T sanding sugar, raw sugar, or granulated sugar

To make the Candied Butter Pecans:  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or aluminum foil.  In a 10-inch heavy skillet, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts.  Increase the heat to medium-low.  When the mixture reaches a simmer, add the pecans and cook just until the syrup turns deep amber and large, thick bubbles form.  Stir the pecan occasionally to prevent burning and to coat them.  Pour the nuts out onto the prepared baking sheet and, without delay, separate them, using metal or wooden skewers or fork tines.  Set aside to cool.  The nuts will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.  You should have about 1 cup.

Before baking: Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Have ready a 9-inch glass pie dish.

To line the pie dish: Roll out pastry into a 13-inch circle about 3/16 inch thick, transfer the pastry to pie dish, and trim the edge with scissors to leave a 1-inch overhang.  Set aside at room temperature.

To fill the pie crust:  Put the apple slices in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, and salt.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture, candied pecans, butter, lemon juice, and honey over the apples and toss the apples to coat evenly.  Pile the apples into the pie crust, mounding them in the center, and scrape any juices and sugar in the bowl over the filling.

To finish the pie: Roll out the second dish into a 13-inch circled, then top the pie and finish the edges.  Using the tip of a small sharp paring knife, cut a 3-inch circle in the center of the top crust for decoration and to allow the steam to escape during baking.  Brush the crust lightly with milk and the sprinkle it with sanding sugar.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips) and bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake the pie until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, the filling starts to bubble, and the crust is golden and bubbly, about 40 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 1 hour to serve warm, or to room temperature to serve later (During the rest, most of the juices return to the apples and the filling thickens.

Cut the pie into wedges and accompany with vanilla ice cream.  Garnish each serving with a few candied pecans, if desired.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cranberry-Pecan Bread

I have made this cranberry bread for the past 9 years for Thanksgiving and it always turns out beautifully so it has become a holiday tradition for me.  It turns out moist and packed full of flavor.  It's always a big hit!  It's very easy to make although when you are putting the cloves in the liquid put them in a cheesecloth (I use a tea ball when I don't have great!) because it is pretty time consuming and difficult to pick them all out!   This would be a delicious addition to your Holiday dinner! 

Cranberry-Pecan Bread

adapted from Food, Emeril Lagasse

  • 1/2 cup orange flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (or defrosted if frozen)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


In a saucepan, combine the orange liqueur, sugar, water, cloves, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cranberries. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the berries burst, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the berries cool in the liquid. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and discard.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

In a mixer bowl, using the mixer on high speed (or using a hand mixer), cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and orange juice. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter, beating after the addition of each. Fold in the reserved cranberry mixture, pecans, orange zest and vanilla. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made ahead. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature 1 day or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Gingernaps

I love a good gingersnap cookie...although since I like a crispy snappy gingersnap I wasn't sure how I would like these softer cookies.  I must say....They are good!  The flavors all come together perfectly and make an outstanding cookie.  You bite into a crispy crunchy outside and your teeth sink into a soft spicy cookie.  Beautifully orchestrated!  Lucy Lou
(my malamute) liked these too!  I slipped her one.  I know, but I can't help it. The house smells all spicy!  Love it!


Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

 Adapted from Two Peas in a Pod


½ cup of butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
½ cup of pure pumpkin
¼ cup of molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.
3. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Pure comfort food!  The temps are dropping and I just wanted to relax with a good comfort food meal tonight so I made this beautiful double crusted chicken pot pie.  The crust was very flaky and the filling was creamy and satisfying. I used the recipe below but instead of making them individuals I just made one big pie and added a bottom crust ( I just doubled the crust recipe). 
 I also added some diced potatoes....just because!
This hit the spot!!!


Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

adapted from Simply Recipes

Chicken and stock ingredients:
  • 1 (3 1/2 pound) frying chicken
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Pie crust ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (best to chill cubes in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water
Filling ingredients:
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Egg wash:
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Special equipment needed:
  • 6 10-ounce ramekins


1 Cook the chicken and make the chicken stock. Combine the chicken, carrot, celery, onion and salt into a large stock pot. Add cold water until just covered and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool for 15 minutes. While the chicken is cooling, continue to boil the remaining water and vegetables in the pot. When the chicken has cooled enough to touch, strip away as much of the meat as you can. Place the meat on a dish, set aside. Return the chicken bones to the stockpot and continue to boil, on high heat, until the stock has reduced to a quart or quart and a half. Set aside 2 1/2 cups of the stock for this recipe. The remaining stock you can refrigerate and store for another purpose.

2 Prepare the pie crust dough. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse 5 times to combine. And the shortening and pulse a few more times, until the dough resembles a coarse cornmeal, with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Slowly stream in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough sticks together when you press some between your fingers. Empty the food processor, placing the dough on a clean surface. Use your hands to mold into a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk. Sprinkle with a little flour, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
3 Prepare the filling. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, one minute more. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Whisk in the milk. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken meat, thyme, sherry, peas, parsley, salt and pepper and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide the warm filling among six 10-ounce ramekins.

4 Prepare the crust. Roll out dough on a lightly flour surface to a little less than a quarter-inch thick. Cut into 6 rounds, slightly larger than the circumference of the ramekins. Lay a dough round on each pot pie filling. Fold the excess dough under itself and use the tines of a fork to press the dough against the edge of the ramekins. Cut a 1-inch vent into each individual pie. Use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to each pie. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the pies on the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: Serves 6.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake

With a pound of butter in this recipe you would think it was from Paula Deen...but it's not!  This is from the Cooking Channel made by one of my favorites cooks Kelsey Nixon.  This, to me, is more for breakfast than anything else.  But I think with ice cream it would be a very nice dessert.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Fresh whipped cream or ice cream, for serving 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9-inch springform pan. 

For the batter: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until combined (the batter will be thick) and set aside. 

For the filling: In a second large mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin puree and eggs and set aside. 

For the topping: In a third mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until the mixture is crumbly. 

Evenly spread the thick cake batter on the bottom of the prepared pan. Next, pour the pumpkin filling over the top of the cake batter and sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the filling. Bake until the filling is set and the topping is golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cool before slicing. Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.