December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

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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