Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Apple Pie

Any chance I get to bake for BP I'm all over it, and you can say the same thing about BP's Dad.  He doesn't ask me to make him a lot of things, so when he throws out a request I make sure that it gets made.  His birthday is two days before mine, and since I will be in Florida for work at training over his birthday and mine, BP's dad was going to get his birthday pie early.  Sunday rolled around and it was time to make the pie.  I had an afternoon chock full of baking and I couldn't be happier.  Jello Cake for BP and myself, Apple Pie for BP's dad.

I'm all about making pies - it's not something I get a chance to do a lot and am still trying to master it.  Warning - this does take time.  I made the dough from scratch, and if that's not your thing, then go for the premade dough.  But I love things that take a long time.  It gives me a chance to really put all my love and effort into it.  I wanted this pie to be awesome.  BP's dad is an amazing man, I love hanging out with him, and even when we have what I like to call "hot date night with BP and BP's dad".  I look forward to those nights for they are filled with great conversations and tons of laughter. 

This pie was a great labor of love for me.  The smell of it baking in the oven was amazing.  BP and his dad were eager to try it. 

This pie came out awesome!! When it was time to have dessert after Sunday night dinner, I got to serve BP's dad a piece of his pie while BP and I had Jello Cake.  Not even a minute after BP's dad had tried the pie, he came over to me and thanked me for the pie and said it was amazing.  The smile on my face was priceless.  I was so happy he liked it. 

Last night during my text conversation with BP, he said that his dad LOVED the pie.  And BP had a piece himself and said it was amazing.  I told him that he can tell his dad I will make this pie for him whenever he wants it.  I was so happy and excited that he liked it.  I wanted this pie to be perfect for him and it was - couldn't ask for anything more :)

Apple Pie
makes one 9" pie
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough Pie Crust
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
3 pounds assorted apples (such as Macoun, Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonagold, and Empire)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Pie Crust
1 cup (about 2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pie plate
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, and refrigerate until needed. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine and let chill for 30 minutes.
2. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture; the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of small peas, remaining visible.
3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over the flour-butter mixture, and blend. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons water. At this point, you may have to add more water: When a handful of dough squeezed together just holds its shape, you've added enough; if the dough crumbles, continue incorporating water, 1 tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after each additional tablespoon.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two equal pieces, and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
5. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough in the center of the work surface, and dust the dough as well as the rolling pin with flour. Position the rolling pin on the center of the disk, and begin rolling the dough away from you. Give the disk a quarter turn, and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until you have an even 1/8-inch thickness. Turning the dough as you roll will prevent it from sticking to the work surface. A dry pastry brush is handy to remove any excess flour during and after the rolling process.
6. Lightly butter the pie plate. To minimize stretching when moving the dough, roll it around the pin, lift up, and unroll over the buttered pie plate. Using your fingers, gently pat the dough into place. Trim any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang; then fold dough under to reinforce the edge.

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of pie crust to a 1/8-inch-thick circle, about 13 inches in diameter. Drape dough over a 9-inch pie pan. Transfer pan to refrigerator, and chill 30 minutes.

2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; place in chilled bottom crust. Dot with butter.

4. Roll out the remaining disk of pie crust as in step one. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with the egg wash. Place second piece of dough on top, and trim so 1 inch overhangs. Tuck the dough under, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Transfer pie to the refrigerator, and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove pie from the refrigerator, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Cut four vents in the top, allowing the steam to escape.

6. Bake until crust begins to turn light brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jello Cake

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted - I apologize for that.  Things have been busy to say the least.  Finally things calmed down and BP put in a request.   Shocking I know, I never say no when he asks me to make him something.  But this one was a special request - something his mom used to make for him all the time.  The pressure was on.  I wanted this cake to live up to his memory of when his mom used to make it.  I had never heard of this, but looked it up online and it seemed really easy. 

I checked and double checked with BP about which recipe to make.  I had to make sure it was the right one.  I wanted to make BP proud with this cake, and to honor his mom through it as well.  She raised such an amazing and loving man.  I wish I could tell her that, and thank her for him.

 This is the easiest thing to make - and it may sound strange, but trust me, it's tasty.  While I was making this cake (and letting it cool and set up), I also got to make BP's dad an Apple Pie - his request.  How could I say no to that?! But we will get into the pie in another post.  Back to the cake. 

Simple - make the cake, let it cool a little, poke some holes and pour jello over the top of it, let it cool in the fridge for a while and then top off with a layer of pudding (I had to have BP make this for me since me and instant pudding don't mix), let it set some more and then finish off with cool whip.  It is a little labor intensive, well not really just a lot of steps, but totally worth it.  And it's a light dessert - not heavy at all.  Perfect summer dessert. 

I'm sure at this point you're wondering what this hot mess of a cake looks like.  All the pictures I saw of it before hand had me so worried that it wouldn't turn out the same way.  Sometimes my perfectionist way gets the best of me.  I wanted this thing to be perfect.

Jackpot! Looked just like all the pictures I saw.  I was so relieved.  Ok - I did have a minor panic when I cut the first piece and tried to get it out of the pan.......

what a hot mess!
.....I took this piece for myself, I couldn't bear handing this over to BP.  Time for him to try it out was upon me.  He was waiting anxiously for it - and soon I saw that smile I love so much come across his face.  He turned and looked at me and I asked if it was just as he remembered it - he said yes and gave me a kiss.  Relief flooded over me and I happily tried out my hot mess of a piece.  Even if it wasn't in one piece, it was amazingly delicious. 

Jello Cake
makes one 13x9 cake
1 18oz box white cake mix
ingredients called for on cake mix box
1 3oz box strawberry Jell-O gelatin (or any flavor - we used black cherry)
1 3/4 cups boiling water
(1) 3 1/2 oz box instant vanilla pudding
1 tub Cool Whip
  1. Bake cake according to box directions.  Let cool awhile. 
  2. Dissolve jello in boiling water.  Poke holes all over cake with fork.  Pour jello evenly over cake.  Refrigerate at least a couple hours.
  3. Prepare pudding as directed on package and let chill for awhile. 
  4. Spread pudding evenly over cake and chill. 
  5. Spread Cool Whip over top of cake and serve.  Garnish with fresh fruit if desired.