Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Our Thanksgiving was spent doing housework at my father-in-law's place. All. Day. It really needed to be done and I'm glad we were able to take care of it for him. However, by the time we got back up to Mammoth none of us felt like cooking a meal, and I was suffering a cold or flu (which has returned, no-thank-you-very-much!). So we went out to The Mogul for Thanksgiving dinner. Greg had the flat iron steak, Chris had the porterhouse (huge!), and I went for a bowl of corn chowder. Veggie options are limited since its a steakhouse, and I was felling pretty terrible anyway so the soup was the perfect thing for me, along with about 4 cups of hot tea. We also shared the sauteed mushrooms, which were amazing, and for dessert had the Cinnamon Charlotte (my appetite returned for this delicious creation!).

So, Friday I was feeling a little better. The boys went out hunting and I decided I'd actually cook up a meal for us: baked chicken, risotto with roasted Delicatta squash and Parmesan, and salad. And to top it off, Greg's favorite: Apple Pie.

I used a pre-made pie crust since I didn't want to deal with making my own pate brisee in an unfamiliar kitchen. I still find the pre-mades too salty, but good in a pinch. I used this recipe from Joy of Baking, with no modifications. Despite macerating the apples and concentrating the syrup my pie was still weepy, but tasty. Next time I'd concentrate the syrup further I think.

Apple Pie

2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch

In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for about two hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have at least 1/2 cup of juice. Spray a 4 cup heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized. (Alternatively, you could place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove... this is the method I used; I'll try the microwave next time.)

Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch. Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine. Pour the apples and their syrup into a chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five 2-inch slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices. Set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

* * * * *

I also completed another knitted blanket, specifically for Greg, and realize I never took progress photos of it. Oh well, here's a couple badly-lit pictures of it:

Its actually a pine-green color, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn, about 10 balls/skeins. I based it on the Big Gray Blanket I made for Chris, but added some cables in alternating directions. My quick pattern:

CO 105 sts. on size 13 circular needle
Work 4 rows in garter stitch
* Set up pattern: 4st garter border, k7, p2, left-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k14, p2, k6, p2, k15, p2, left-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k14, p2, k6, p2, k7, 4st garter border
Work 5 rows even
Next row: 4st garter border, k7, p2, k6, p2, k14, p2, right-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k15, p2, k6, p2, k14, p2, right-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k7, 4st garter border
Work 14 rows even *
Repeat from * to * until you've reach the length you want, then work 4 rows in garter stitch
BO (I used the p2tog method).

I left my tapestry needle at home and had to improvise to weave in the ends with some needle threaders I picked up at the grocery store with big plastic handles and small-gauge wire threaders that I was able to bend to accommodate this chunky yarn. It worked decently enough, and while this was intended to be a Christmas gift for Greg I gave it to him right away, since he can definitely use it now.

Stay warm!

1 comment:

Run Lori Run said...

That apple pie looks awesome, its my favorite kind of pie. And I never make pie crust, to labor intensive for me... Hope you're feeling better...