December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Saturday, October 26, 2013

National Apple Day

Hola everyone!

I am behind my time posting.  Monday, October 21st, was National Apple Day in the USA.  I had off that day and picked up fixings for an easy-make apple pie (I posted the recipe here).  Here is a sort of mini-pictorial of my pie-making process.

Note: Use a store bought pie crust for the bottom layer of the pie, and it is not pre-baked.


This was the start of the bottom layer, using 2 apples.  I use Grandma Newton's method of starting placement of the apples around the outside of the pie plate, working inward, and filling in gaps here and there with the odd piece of apple (waste not, want not). 


This is what the pie looked like after the second layer of apples was placed (apples 3 and 4).


This was the pie after apple 5 was placed.  I probably should have stopped at 4, LOL, and just rearranged the slices a bit!  The pie turned out beautifully and was perfectly cooked, but because of the extra bulk I added I had to bake it for an extra 15 minutes.  It was torture waiting for that time to pass, I wanted to pull the pie out of the oven and start the cooling process so I could have a piece, it smelled soooo good!


This is after the cinnamon and sugar mixture is sprinkled liberally over the apples.

The next pictures are making the crumbly topping which consists of flour, sugar, 1/3rd cup butter and I add about half a teaspoon of cornstarch to stablize the apple mixture once it starts baking, so it doesn't get too "wet:"



Not the best photo, but this is about the right consistency.  As you can see, the butter, which is worked in very cold (I get a work-out by using a regular old fork to do it), is in rather large lumps.  That's how it should look.  I took the photo below on a different setting to see if I could get more contrast:


Here's the pie after the topping is sprinkled over it and "worked" into the cracks, oven-ready!  I know, it looks like it is overflowing and there is too much topping.  The topping sinks in as it bakes and the butter melts.  Sometimes the pie does overflow and drip a little, so I line the bottom of my oven with aluminum foil to catch any drips/spill-overs: 


And here is what this scrumptious pie looked like when I took it out of the oven after baking time plus 15 minutes:


As you can see, the mound of apples in the center has shrunk down in the baking process to a "cuttable" level.  There is practically an entire "crust" across the top of the pie, not just crumbs sprinkled here and there. It looks great without using a possibly "heavy" store bought crust for topping or making and rolling out my own.  It tastes really good, too.


Adding the cornstarch to the recipe (it was not in the original recipe that I received years ago), definitely aids in the pie holding together after it cools, even when using apples like Red Delicious (bake juicy).  I have made this pie with a mixture of Red Delicious and Granny Smith, and Granny  Smith and whatever other apples happen to be on sale.  This pie was made with Cortlands (on sale).  Depending upon the size of the apples, 4 may be more than enough to fill a 9" pie plate. 

Adding that 5th apple, the pie overall could have used a touch more cinnamon.  Otherwise, it was perfect! 

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