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Over the years, I’ve tried various pie crust recipes–butter only, shortening only, butter and shortening combination–and have finally found the perfect one. The use of both butter and shortening gives this recipe the kind of flaky, buttery crust that apple pie dreams are made of. The filling is layers of apples and delicious goo (as my family refers to it) with just the right amount of sweetness. Perfection.
This recipe is actually a mashup of two recipes I’ve made in the past. I used the filling from one and crust from another, with a little tweaking to make it just right. The crust is foolproof, easy to work with, and versatile–I’ve used it to make lattice crusts as well as cut outs, so have fun with it.
During Thanksgiving dinner, this pie was declared “the perfect apple pie” by everyone at the table, so my apple pie recipe search is officially over. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut in the butter.
Remove the lid and fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl. Scatter the shortening pieces over the flour and pulse the machine 6 or 7 times. Remove the lid and fluff the mixture again.
Drizzle half of the water over the flour mixture and pulse the machine 5 or 6 times. Remove the lid, fluff the pastry, and sprinkle on the rest of the water. Pulse the machine 5 or 6 times more, until the pastry starts to form clumps. Overall, it will look like coarse crumbs. Dump the contents of the processor bowl into a large mixing bowl.
Test the pastry by squeezing some of it between your fingertips. If it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the pastry and work it in with your fingertips. Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls, as you would pack a snowball. Make one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust. Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten the balls into ¾-inch-thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. About 10 minutes before rolling, transfer the pastry to the freezer to make it even firmer.
Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan and chill for 15 minutes before baking.
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5-6 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Filling and Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pre-bake the bottom crust for 15 minutes, using pie weights on top of a piece of parchment paper.
Peel, core, and slice apples. Add cinnamon and mix. Set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan then stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
Place pie plate on cookie sheet (to catch drips while baking). Fill bottom crust with one layer of apples, pour 1/3 of the filling liquid over the apples, then repeat with a second layer. Cover with a lattice top crust (or cut outs) and gently pour the remaining filling liquid over the crust. Sprinkle crust with turbinado sugar.
Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Continue baking for 25 to 45 minutes, or until apples are soft.
Crust recipe adapted from Apple Pie by Ken Haedrich. Filling recipe adapted from All Recipes.
Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you’re like me, you can’t decide what to make. So to help, here are some of my tried and true fall favorites, perfect for Thanksgiving!
Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies (lowfat)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve re-pinned a bunch of cool things to do on Pinterest and hope for the best when you finally give them a try. Sometimes they work (Ikea lamp hack and the baking sheet cleaner) and sometimes they don’t (wine cork art, also known as the hot glue gun incident of 2013).
Fortunately, I have another Pinterest success story!
This one is simple–when making stuffed peppers, place them in a jumbo muffin tin so they don’t tip over while baking.
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Cake decorating has never been my strong suit. In fact, I really suck at it. Following my trip to the Wilton Food Blogger Workshop a couple of years ago, I became more confident with the piping bag, but trust me when I say that you don’t want me decorating a birthday cake for you anytime soon. And yes, this is why the only kinds of cakes you usually see on this blog are cupcakes or bundt cakes; they’re so much easier to decorate!
However, I’ve been seeing this Kit Kat cake online for years and immediately thought this was something I could do. So for those of you lacking in the cake decorating skills department like me, this is the cake for you! Added bonus: Everyone thinks it looks so cool and colorful, and with National Cake Day coming up later this month (November 26), you now have an excuse to make it!
Because I wasn’t sure how this would turn out, I initially made it using *gasp* cake mix and canned frosting, but you can use your favorite cake and frosting recipes instead. I recommend using chocolate frosting as it will be less noticeable in the gaps between the Kit Kats.
Two 8″ or 9″ cakes, any flavor
12.60 ounce bag of M&Ms (or any candy you want to top it with)
11-12 full size (not snack size) packages Kit Kats)
Using a cake leveler or serrated knife, level cakes so the tops are no longer domed. (If you are using a serrated knife, it helps to freeze the cake first.)
Separate each Kit Kat so you have sections of two Kit Kats. (I put them in the fridge first so they wouldn’t melt while I was handling them.)
Frost the top of one cake, then place the second cake on top of it. Frost the top of the second cake and the sides of the stacked cakes.
Place the Kit Kats around the frosted cake, as close together as possible.
You can also tie a ribbon around the cake to keep the Kit Kats from moving. Pour the M&Ms on the top of the cake. Slice and serve!
I know, you’re probably thinking, another sweet and salty recipe? It’s fine, you can call me obsessed, I’ll own it. The combination just works!
These are great cookies–easy to make, easy to cut, and just the right chewy texture on the inside. While the original recipe calls for cutting the dough into 1″x2″ strips, I couldn’t resist using one of my cookie cutters that hasn’t seen the light of day lately. Plus, they’re fun!
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 & 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces dark chocolate, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon water, if necessary
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, such as fleur de sel
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour and salt, mixing just until combined. Stir in chocolate.
Dough will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched. If dough is not holding together, mix in 1 tablespoon water.
Form dough into 2 balls and flatten into discs. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into 1″x 2″ strips. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake 18-22 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans for 10 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Repeat rolling and baking process with other disc of dough.
Recipe from Bake or Break.