Tag Archives: Holidays

Classic Apple Pie

6 Jul

July 6th, 2014

Happy 4th of July Weekend! I had a nice, long, much-needed 4-day weekend of hanging out and doing random things around town. We spent a lot of time with our puppy, who turned 8-months today! To celebrate the actual holiday though, we hung out with a couple of friends over barbecue, drinks and of course, dessert. The gathering was a potluck, so I decided to make a pie to bring. The original plan was a peach pie since stone fruits are in season right now. Unfortunately, after a small mishap, plans changed; just as I was pulling the peach pie out of the oven, my sticky fingers dropped the pie dish and the entire thing flipped upside down onto the oven door! This was a first for me and it was quite devastating. Sadly enough, the pie was not salvageable.

So the back up plan was a classic apple pie. I could have scrambled and rushed to the market for more peaches, but I had plenty of apples already in the refrigerator, so I opted to make an apple pie instead. I love making this pie because it’s simple and you can’t go wrong with it. I mean, who doesn’t love an apple pie, right? This was served within two hours after it came out of the oven, and it was still warm. However, if you need to make it ahead of time, you can bake it, let it cool to room temperature, and slightly cover and leave it until the next day to serve.

The best part of apple pies, or any other pies, is having a slice with some vanilla ice cream!

2014-07-04 04.37.03Pie Dough:
12oz flour
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
7T cold water
1T cider vinegar
Y= enough to cover the bottom & top of a 9-inch pie pan

Directions:
1. In a food processor with the dough attachment, combine flour, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly.
2. Add the water and vinegar mixture in thirds, pulsing in between.
3. Finish mixing the dough by hand on a floured surface. Divide dough in two pieces. Wrap, refrigerate and allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
4. At this point, you can also freeze the dough.
5. Roll out one half of the dough on a floured surface. Transfer the rolled out dough to the pie pan by carefully rolling it onto your rolling pin and laying it in the pie pan. Press the dough into the pan. Refrigerate pie pan to set the dough.

Apple Pie Filling:
10 apples (Gala); washed, dried, peeled, sliced
Juice of ½ a lemon
1C white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
optional: ½ tsp vanilla powder
3T cornstarch

Directions:
1. Toss sliced apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla together.
2. Add cornstarch. Mix to coat evenly.
3. Pour mixture into pie pan.
4. Carefully roll out the second half of the dough. Place on top of apples and seal edges.
5. Make a few slits in the center of the pie.
6. Egg wash the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Halfway through baking, I place a piece of foil over the top since I didn’t want the tops to get too dark.

2014-07-04 04.33.52 2014-07-04 04.42.57 2014-07-04 21.54.132014-07-04 22.02.26  Paired with leftover homemade vanilla ice cream!

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Puff Pastry for Palmiers

25 Nov

November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m extremely happy that the holidays are here because I’ll be baking in full force. The past couple of days I have been making a few items in preparation for Thanksgiving, so be prepared to see a few updates. This post is a little long because I’m posting step-by-step pictures on how to make puff pastry for Palmiers, so sit back and enjoy!

I was extremely excited to make puff pastry at home because it’s quite versatile in the products you can make with the dough. It is a time-intensive dough because it requires rolling, folding and resting of the dough in order to create the light and flaky layers.

The biggest challenge of making puff pastry is trying to keep the butter from melting. Since you are handling the dough so much, the temperature from your hands will soften the butter quite quickly. The key is to work fast and to work on a cool surface. I have a granite countertop, which helps keep the dough cool. Also, if the dough is too soft to work with, just pop it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before handling it again.

My end goal was to make Palmiers with the puff pastry dough, which are sometimes called palm leaves or elephant ears. The dough is basically rolled in either sugar or cinnamon sugar and baked until crispy and golden brown. Some other products you can use puff pastry for is chicken pot pie, fruit galettes, and turnovers. Puff pastry is used a lot for savory items, which is why it’s so versatile.

Ingredients:

125g cake flour

125g bread flour

1 tsp salt

125g-200g cold water

35g softened butter

250g cold butter

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: mix all the dries together in a mixer bowl. Mix with paddle. Add the 35g of softened butter.
  2. Add water a little at a time until dough comes together. The dough should look shaggy at this point.

Continue reading below for picture instructions. Note: At any time the dough is sticking, generously flour the surface area.

  1. Remove dough from mixer bowl and finishing mixing by hand. Flatten dough into a square; wrap and refrigerate. Meanwhile, prepare the butter (not pictured): loosely wrap the 250g of butter in plastic and slightly pound with rolling pin to soften. Shape into a square, wrap and refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes.
  2. Roll out four flaps of the dough so that there is a center spot for the butter.
  3. Place chilled butter in the center of the dough. (Make sure flaps are large enough to cover the butter. If they are not big enough, roll flaps out a little more).
  4. Fold each flap up and over towards the center of the butter.
  5. The dough now encases the butter. Together, this is known as the paton.
  6. Roll out: turn paton so that the seam side is down. Flour surface area and carefully roll out the paton to a rectangle, about 1/8-in thick.
  7. Make one fold with one end of the rolled out paton.
  8. Make a second fold with the other end of the paton. At this point, the paton may be a little warm from all the handling. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. After the paton has chilled, repeat steps 5-8 again to make a second set of folds. After making the second set of fold, you can wrap and refrigerate or freeze the paton until the next day.
  9. Roll out the paton to a large square/rectangle so that it is fairly thin. (Another option is to cut the paton in half before rolling it out so that it is easier to handle). Once rolled out, cut the square in half. Place one half of the dough in the freezer or refrigerator so that you are working with one piece at a time.
  10. Lightly sprinkle/spray some water on the dough. Generously sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the surface. Carefully flip the dough over to cover the other side with cinnamon sugar.
  11. Fold the edges over to create a flap that is about 1-in wide.
  12. Fold the flap over again. This should leave a small gap in the center.
  13. Fold one flap over to the other flap so that the center gap is now sealed. It should now resemble a log. Give the log a good press to seal and tighten. At this point, wrap the log and place in freezer for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut later!
  14. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into thin slices. If the log is still too soft, let it sit longer in the freezer. As you are cutting the slices, make sure the folds do not open up.
  15. Place slices on parchment-lined sheet pan, about an inch apart, as they will puff and expand in the oven.  Bake at 370F for 9 minutes, then flip each Palmier over and bake another 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Whew! It’s a long process, isn’t it?! But it’s worth it because the Palmiers are delicious! Also note that for unused portion of the dough, you can freeze for a few days and make other products with it. I used all my dough for Palmiers and it actually yielded quite a bit!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mint Macarons for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

18 Mar

March 18th, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend! I was debating on what to make for this occasion, and finally decided to go with green macarons filled with mint chocolate ganache. Previously, I have made macarons using the Italian meringue method, which required heating up sugar and water to a ‘soft-ball’ stage and adding it to whipping egg whites and whisking until a stiff meringue was obtained. This method takes a bit longer time and requires more precision, but often yields good results. This time around, I whipped egg whites and powdered sugar until it was dry and stiff, which was then folded into the dry ingredients. The macarons still turned out with the little ‘feet’ around the edges, but I think I’m a fan of using the Italian meringue method.

I love the vibrant green color, and to add an extra touch I used green shimmer before putting the macarons in the oven. Aren’t these fitting for St. Patrick’s Day?

Fresh Fruit Tart for the Holidays

26 Dec

December 26th, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! The past few days have been busy with last minute shopping and visiting family and friends that I barely had time to make anything. But for a gift exchange party held today I managed to make a fresh fruit tart. Fruit tarts are a great alternative to decadent chocolatey desserts, as they are more refreshing and light, not overly sweet and they don’t sit too heavy in the stomach.

The main components of a fruit tart consist of the tart shell filled with pastry cream and topped with fruits. The fruits used can be varied, depending on what you can find at the grocery store or farmer’s market. It’s easy to use berries since they require little to no cutting, but kiwis, oranges, mangoes and pineapples are also great fruits to use and they add color.

Enjoy the rest of 2011 and I hope to squeeze in a few more baking sessions before the year ends!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

11 Dec

December 11th, 2011

Happy Holidays! I still can’t believe it’s December already, which means holiday baking in full-affect! I have been experimenting with a few tarts, but that will be a future post. This weekend, however, I experimented with a new cake flavor.

Recently, I’ve been seeing cakes decorated with cream filled wafers, so I was inspired to make something similar. I decided to make a mini (6-inch) carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake was light and fluffy because I lightened the batter with meringue. The center was also filled with cream cheese, with a thin layer of shredded coconut. The fun part was surrounding the cake with vanilla cream wafers. Not only did the wafers give a nice dimension, but they are also a pretty presentation.

Carrot Cake

Frosted and filled with cream cheese frosting

Surrounded with vanilla wafers.

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