Monday, March 14, 2011

Today is a special day….

It is National Pie Day!

Created by the American Pie Council®, National Pie Day is dedicated to the celebration of pie. As part of our American heritage, this day is a perfect opportunity to pass on the love and enjoyment of pie eating and pie making to future generations.
Since today is Pie Day, and “today” is  turning into “this evening”, I realize I am posting this a little late. But I do want to give you a couple of recipes. You can always bake tomorrow!

When my children were little, this was one of their favorite desserts. Red Hot Apple Pie!    I think Cindy and Betsy liked it because it was pink. Chuck liked it because it was a dessert! He is the one who made “deals” with me…a perfect grade card earned him either a Lemon Meringue Pie or Fried Apple Pies!
Photographer unknown
Red Hot Apple Pie
2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Table Salt
6 Tablespoons Butter, Chilled
6 Tablespoons Lard, Chilled …YES! LARD! GET OVER IT!
4 Tablespoons Ice Water, Or More As Needed
6 whole Apples (I Used 3 Pink Ladies And 3 Granny Smiths)
4 ounces, weight Cinnamon Red Hots
½ cups Water
¾ cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Cream
2 teaspoons Sanding Sugar

For the dough (adapted from James Beard Cookbook, 1970):
Sift together the flour and the salt. Cut butter and lard into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter (or two butter knives) until a coarse meal is formed. Sprinkle over 4 tablespoons ice water, mixing and fluffing with a fork. Use more water if the mixture seems dry. Remember, the less you use, the better. Form into a ball, divide in two equal pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, forming into disc. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
For the filling (adapted from BH&G Cookbook, 1953):
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Peel, core, and slice apples. Set aside. In a large saucepan, combine Red Hots, water, and sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring until candy dissolves completely. Add sliced apples to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. You are looking for the apples to begin to go a little soft and take on a nice, rosy hue. Strain apples, reserving juice. When the liquid cools down a little, whisk the flour and lemon juice into 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid. Set aside.
To assemble:
Roll out bottom crust on a floured surface and place into a clear glass pie plate. Fill with strained apples and pour the slurry over the apples. Dot with butter. Roll out the top crust and fit over the apples. Trim the edges. Roll the top crust under the bottom crust and flute or crimp. Cut vents. Brush with cream. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Fifteen minutes into the cooking time, cover the edges with foil or a pie shield. You might need to cover crust completely with foil for the last 15 minutes if your oven is small and browns the top of the pie too quickly. Take out to cool on a rack when the bottom crust is golden-brown.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

This next pie isn’t a dessert….but is perfect for St Patrick’s Day. This is a hearty Irish variation on steak and kidney pie, made with Ireland’s most famous beer.
Beef and Guinness Pie
3 tbsp. tomato paste
3 1⁄2 cups beef stock
4 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
1 1⁄2 lbs. white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 cups Guinness stout
1 1⁄2 cups flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1 lb. frozen puff pastry, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Put tomato paste into a large bowl, add stock, and stir until paste dissolves. Add beef, mushrooms, onions, garlic, thyme, and stout and stir well. Sprinkle flour over beef mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir well. Transfer to a deep 10 1/2" × 12 1/2" baking dish set on a large baking sheet. Cover dish with foil. Bake, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 3 1/2–4 hours.
2. Beat egg and 1 tsp. water together in a small bowl and set aside. Roll puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4" thickness, 2" wider than baking dish. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Drape pastry over dish and brush with egg wash. Return baking dish to oven and bake until pastry is puffed and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes.

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