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Fall Favorites

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I see the bigger bloggers doing this, rounding up their recipes into a category, such as fall, to guide their readers back to the oldies but goodies.  I thought this would be cool for me to do, not because I’m big (ha!) but because I started this blog less than a year ago and transferred all my old Myspace recipe posts to it, which means that I have over a year’s worth of recipes that my readers have never seen.

Click on the titles below the pictures for the recipes.

Fully Loaded Buffalo Chili and Sweet Corn Muffins

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Orange Biggie Buns

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie

Honey Bun Cake

Tamale Pie

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Slow-Cooked Enchilada Casserole

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake (I won 3rd place for this cake at the 2010 state fair)

Honey Oatmeal Bread (my favorite bread recipe to date!)

Salmon Corn Chowder

Honey Whole Wheat Cornbread

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes
Squash, Sage & Ricotta Manicotti

Praline Sweet Potato Bread

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Sausage (my friend Kim just took 2nd place in a Taste of Home Healthy Cooking contest with a lighter version of this!)

Easy Apple Cider Doughnuts

Cinnabon Caramel Corn

Buttery Beer Bread (if I could only convince you to make one of these recipes, this would be the one)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Vanilla-Rum Custard Sauce

Kielbasa and Northern White Bean Soup


Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie

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A couple ordered an apple pie from me last month b/c they were searching for someone who could make their son’s groom’s cake, which he chose to be apple pie.  They liked it so much they ordered 15 for the wedding and at first I regretted agreeing since it takes me about 3 hours to make a pie from scratch and I don’t have the heart to charge more than $10 a pie, which pretty much barely covers the cost of the ingredients (3 sticks of butter per pie, 8 apples, sugars, etc.) and supplies (pie tin & holder).  But now that I’ve made all but 3 of the apple pies, I feel under less pressure and I have no regrets.  I love to bake, so if someone is willing to pay for the ingredients, it gives me a good excuse to do it and I don’t even have to eat it which make my waistline happy!  I guess this is just my weird way of looking on the positive side of slaving away in a hot kitchen on a warm spring day, my heart pounding with anxiety as I glance at the clock, thinking how little time I have left, and burn my fingers on the oven rack for the thirteenth time.

Anyway, all this to introduce my favorite recipe for apple pie.  I know I caught your attention with the three sticks of butter comment, but I think the crazy amount of it just might be the secret to the deliciousness!!  That, and the unconventional recipe for the filling.  It’ll rock your friggin’ socks off.

Rich All-Purpose Pastry
This is my favorite basic pie crust.  It is buttery, flaky, tender, extremely versatile and always reliable.  The combination of butter and shortening is a good one–the butter adds flavor, the shortening, flakiness.
*Makes enough for two pies or one double-crust pie

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, cold and cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup shortening, chilled in freezer
6-10 tbsp. ice cold water (I use a scant 1/3 cup every time)

Mix flour and salt.  Cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry blender or food processor until pieces are the size of small peas.  Add ice water and mix until it starts to form a ball.  Divide dough in half, gather in your hands and gently shape each into a ball, flatten them into discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  If it gets too hard I leave it on the counter until it’s pliable enough to roll out.

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie
No, I don’t have a Grandma named Ople. I got the recipe off so if you want the original version you can look it up there.  This is mine, and I have a good reason for every change I made but I won’t bore you with all that!

1 recipe Rich All-Purpose Pastry
8 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, mixed together in a small bowl
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one disc of pie dough on a lightly floured surface and arrange in a pie plate, trimming off the edges.  Place plate in refrigerator until ready to use it.

Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the apple slices and mix well.  Arrange apples in your prepared pie plate and set back in the fridge.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Whisk in flour until no lumps remain.  Add white sugar, brown sugar and water and whisk until combined, then bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, leave it boiling over medium heat for five minutes.

Meanwhile, roll out your top pie crust.

Once caramel sauce has boiled for five minutes, pour slowly over the apples so that it can seep down into the cracks and not over the sides.  Be careful–it’s really hot!  (I’ve burned myself a lot on this stuff, trying to push a bit of overflow back into the crust with my bare fingers–owie!) Arrange the top crust over the apples, trim the edges, fold the edges under the edge of the bottom crust and flute with your fingers.  For my tutorial on working with pie dough, including how I flute a crust, you can click here.

Brush the entire surface with the beaten egg, using a pastry brush.  I suggest using a silicone brush–it doesn’t mar the surface of the crust and that’s important with this particular pie since the hot caramel softens the dough and makes it susceptible to damage.

Pop it into the oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly & crust is browned.  Oh, and be sure to use an oven liner or place a baking sheet below the pie b/c it almost always leaks!

Allow to cool overnight on a cooling rack.

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