May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

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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