Apple Crumb Pie

I’m wrapping up my mini apple week today with a pie that would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table… An Apple Crumb Pie. I make my fair share of desserts for Thanksgiving and this year I decided to make things a little easier on myself and forgo making any pies with a decorative pie crust. My baking list for Thanksgiving usually includes about 6 or 7 different desserts so taking that small thing off of my list is definitely going to help me get everything done in a timely fashion. And since I normally head to the city to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons get inflated the night before Thanksgiving I have limited time on that day to bake so I normally end up baking one last thing on Thanksgiving morning and I am trying to avoid that this year. Coupled with no decorative pie crusts I am also thinking of baking one or two things ahead of time which should definitely free up some time for me.

To begin this pie I started by making the crumb topping. Once I mixed all of the ingredients together I placed it in the freezer so it could firm up. Next, I covered a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and placed it on the bottom rack of my oven and preheated it to 400 F. And finally I made the filling. I added all of the ingredients for the filling to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula gently folded them together.

Now, I’ve never had much success in making pie crust from scratch so I always opt to either use refrigerated pie crust or my real favorite frozen pie crust. I apologize to those of you who are cringing right now. I just find it fool-proof, especially the frozen one, and since I am usually more concerned with how the filling is going to come out and perfecting a decorative crust it’s just easier for me. To be honest, when I do make a decorative pie crust I use a frozen crust for the filling and a refrigerated pie crust to decorate it. It’s so much easier to make cut outs or cut long strips with pie crust that is already the perfect thickness. If you’re thinking of following my trick here’s another one. If you want to decorate your pie with cut-outs make sure you refrigerate them after cutting them out before placing them on your pie. Same thing goes for the strips you would use for braiding or a lattice design. Handling the pie crust softens it quickly and then when you go to place it on your pie it won’t place as well or may start to break (especially if you are making a lattice design), firming it up again makes it easier to work with and it will bake better. Okay, so back to the pie at hand. I used a frozen 9-inch deep dish pie crust. I kept the pie crust in the freezer until I was ready to fill it. I spooned the filling into the pie crust and then gently topped it with the crumb topping, breaking any pieces of crumb that were too large. I carefully removed the hot pan from the oven and placed the pie on it and then returned it to the oven.

Look at those nice pieces of crumb topping… YUM!!!

I baked it at 400 F for about 25 minutes and then reduced the oven temperature to 350 F and baked it for about another 50 minutes. My apples were a tad soft to begin with (I got them a few weeks ago from apple picking) so my pie was ready rather quickly. About 25 minutes after reducing the heat I covered the top of the pie with a piece of aluminum foil so the crumb topping wouldn’t burn. Once I removed it from the oven the crumb topping was a perfect golden color and the filling had bubbled out just a bit.

After letting it cool completely I placed it in the refrigerator covered with aluminum foil for a few days before cutting into it -I baked it on a Thursday night and sliced it on Sunday. Final verdict… It was the best apple pie I’ve ever made. I would say pie in general, but that distinction belongs to Key Lime Pie. Per requests, I am planning on making two of these for Thanksgiving!

 

Apple Crumb Pie

Ingredients:

1 Frozen 9-inch deep dish pie crust*

Crumb Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces at room temperature

Filling:

3 pounds mixed apples, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

*You could also use a homemade pie crust or a refrigerated pie crust. If using either, once you have prepped your pie plate with the crust place the dish in the refrigerator until the crust is firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. If using a frozen pie crust, you can fill the crust right out of the freezer.

 

Directions:

Make the crumb topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter to the mixture and use your hands to mix it until crumbs form. Place in the freezer until ready to use.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it in the bottom rack of your oven and then preheat the oven to 400 F.

Make the filling: Mix the apples, melted butter, both sugars, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Spoon the filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle the filling with the frozen crumbs. Breaking any large crumbs into smaller pieces and making sure to spread them evenly over the pie and patting them down while doing so.

Place the pie on the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the crumbs lightly brown, about 25-30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and continue baking until the apples are completely soft when pierced with a knife, about an additional 60 to 80 minutes. If you find the crumb topping is getting too dark cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

I’ve mentioned it quite a few times before that one of my favorite things about going apple picking is getting freshly made apple cider doughnuts. I posted about a baked version last year. And while those were good, there is something about a fried doughnut that just can’t be topped. If you are not sure about frying doughnuts (I tried once and it was a fail) check out my post for Apple Cider Fritters. They’re bite size and so good you may end up guilty of eating one too many. So, when I came across a recipe for a twist on my favorite doughnuts in a cake form (including a cinnamon sugar topping) I knew I had to try it. Well, at first I was going to pass on it. I try to stick with recipes that require ingredients that I have on hand or that I know I will use again. So, when I saw that this recipe included wheat flour as one of the ingredients I was a tad bit skeptical. I know, wheat flour isn’t something that is all that odd, but, there aren’t many recipes I come across that require it so I was a bit concerned that it would end up just sitting in my cabinet or refrigerator indefinitely. I also wondered why both? Which of course required a Google search. And what I learned is that using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour produces a cake that is lighter in texture and rises better. And by mixing the two you also get the added benefits of more fiber and nutrients thanks to the whole wheat.

So, a slightly funny story while making this cake. One of the ingredients is unsweetened applesauce. I had a jar of it in my refrigerator from another recipe but I never actually checked it until it was time to add it to the batter. So, I had all of my wet ingredients in a bowl and was about to add in the applesauce when I saw there was mold on top of it. Okay, not so funny. I didn’t bother to check it since it wasn’t set to expire until next year. But, this will definitely be a lesson to me to check those odd ball ingredients just in case. This is a good example of what I was saying before, buying ingredients that will sit without being used for a while. I ended up covering the ingredients with a piece of plastic wrap and ran out to the store to buy a new jar of applesauce. Hopefully the same thing won’t happen to this one. I guess I better come up with recipes for whole wheat flour and applesauce ASAP.

Letting the ingredients sit for a bit of time didn’t have any affect on the final cake. It did somehow separate while baking, but, I doubt it was because of the time my ingredients were left sitting. If you are having trouble seeing it in the picture below it’s on the right-hand side.

After adding a cinnamon sugar coating to the cake and letting it cool completely it was time to slice in to the cake and enjoy a piece. It didn’t taste exactly like my favorite apple cider doughnuts, but, it was just as good.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup apple cider

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray or coat with butter and flour.

In a large bowl whisk together both flours along with the baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, apple cider, olive oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs. Once well blended add to the flour mixture and whisk both mixtures together until well combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack set over a large bowl or rimmed baking sheet to cool for 15 minutes. While the cake is cooling mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon and melt the butter.

Invert the cake onto the wire rack. Brush sections of the cake with melted butter and the sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Continue doing this until the entire cake is coated with the butter and cinnamon sugar. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Individual Mini Apple Crisps

While pumpkin recipes have been the focus of most of my recent blog posts, there is another fruit that deserves some love this time of the year… Apples. I went apple picking in early October and while I didn’t get to pick my favorite apple, Honeycrisp, I did end up with a good amount of delicious apples that I have been enjoying. As my bag of apples begins to dwindle down some of them aren’t as crisp for eating so I have finally started baking with them. So this week I will be bringing you three recipes apples related. Today’s Individual Mini Apple Crisps, an Apple Cider Doughnut Cake (which didn’t require apples, but, fresh apple cider which I picked up while apple picking) and finally an Apple Crumb Pie. This pie is perfect if you love apple pie but are a little intimidated with making and/or decorating pie crusts.

While these apple crisps are perfect to serve as a dessert if you are having people over for dinner or part of your Thanksgiving desserts (the recipe can easily be doubled or halved as I did) they are a great make ahead dessert as well. I prepped them, covered them with aluminum foil and then refrigerated them until I was ready to bake it. I didn’t change much from the recipe, well, I did make my own apple pie spice since I had the spices on hand and it was cheaper than buying it.

I began by combining the ingredients for the crust and topping (the crisp part) in one bowl. And in another bowl I combined the ingredients for the apple filling. I began assembling the crisps by pressing two tablespoons of crisp mixture into the bottom of ramekins I sprayed with cooking spray. I then evenly divided the apple filling into each of the ramekins. And finally, I sprinkled the remaining crisp mixture over the apple filling. At this point you could bake the crisps in the oven on a baking sheet or, do what I did.

I covered each of the ramekins with aluminum foil and placed them in the refrigerator until I was ready to enjoy them.

When I was, I placed the ramekin on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for 30 minutes. As a note, I prepped these on a Sunday and enjoyed my last one on a Wednesday so these will definitely keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

I then topped it with a few scoops of ice cream before digging in. If you omit the ice cream, these are pretty healthy. The crisp is made with old-fashioned oats, raw almonds and honey. While the apple filling just requires a few tablespoons of sugar. This is definitely something I will be making again. Probably next time though I won’t halve the recipe. Since I know for sure that the crisps will keep in the refrigerator for a few days I wouldn’t mind having a few more on hand for a dessert fix.

Mini Apple Crisps

Ingredients:

Crust & Topping:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice*

1 cup crush raw almonds**

1 cup old-fashioned oats

Apple Filling:

3 unpeeled medium apples, chopping into 1/2 inch pieces

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoons apple pie spice

Vanilla ice cream, optional

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together the butter, honey, vanilla extract and apple pie spice. Add in the almonds and oats and toss together until well coated. Press two tablespoons onto the bottoms of each of the prepared ramekins.

In a medium bowl combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice and apple pie spice. Toss the ingredients together well and then divide it evenly among the ramekins. Sprinkle the top of the filling with the remaining oats and almond mixture.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft and topping is golden brown. ***

Serve warm, topped with ice cream.

*To make your own Apple Pie Spice combine 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon allspice.

**I used raw sliced almonds. I put them in a resealable bag and then rolled them with a roll pin to crush them.

***Alternatively you can cover each of the ramekins with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to heat at a later time.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Skillet Tamale Pie

You may recall on Sunday I shared a recipe for a Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken, well, today I am sharing the recipe that I used the chicken for… A Skillet Tamale Pie. I came across this recipe when I clicked on an article about using Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix for recipes other than corn muffins. I think that Jiffy Corn Muffins is one of the first things that I baked when I was younger. It had been years since I purchased a box before I purchased the one I used in this recipe. I’ve tried making cornbread and corn muffins from scratch using cornmeal and to be honest I don’t know why. It never has the sweetness that I want and the texture is always a little off. I should just stuck with this tried and true box mix.

To make the skillet tamale I began by generously greasing a 9-inch cast iron skillet with softened butter and preheated my oven to 400 F. In a large bowl I combined 1 box of Jiffy mix with buttermilk, an egg, cream-style corn and a can of diced green beans. I stirred these ingredients together until they were just combined and then poured them into the prepared skillet and baked it for about 25 minutes, until it was set.

I removed the skillet from the oven and poked the cornbread with a fork several times. I then topped the cornbread with the cooked shredded chicken. Next I poured red chile enchilada sauce over the chicken and topped the sauce with shredded Monterey-Jack cheese. I returned the skillet to the oven and baked it for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melted.

This was so delicious and filling and something I will definitely be making again. Maybe next time though with ground beef.

 

Skillet Tamale Pie

Ingredients:

1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix

1/3 cup buttermilk*

1 egg

1 14.75 oz. can of cream-style corn

1 4.5 oz. can of diced green chiles

1 8 oz. can of red chile enchilada sauce

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey-Jack cheese

 

For serving:

Crema (Sour Cream)

Cilantro

Salsa

Lime Wedges

 

*I made my own buttermilk by stirring together 1/3 cup whole milk with 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of white vinegar in a measuring cup. After letting the mixture sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature it began to curdle on the top which let me know it was ready to use.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet generously with softened butter and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the Jiffy mix, buttermilk, egg, cream-style corn and green chiles and stir together until just combined. Pour into the prepared skillet and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set.

Remove the skillet from the oven and poke the cornbread with a fork several times. Top with either cooked shredded chicken or ground beef and top the meat with the enchilada sauce and then the shredded cheese.

Return the skillet to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Recipe from All Hail Jiffy Cornbread Mix

Slow Cooker Sunday: Shredded Mexican Chicken

I would like to say Slow Cooker Sunday is back, but, considering I don’t have many slow cooker recipes lined up to try I will say that it will slowing be appearing on Sunday’s. I have been focused on getting recipes together for the holidays, finishing up some craft projects, holiday crafts and a few other things. While I have been trying out new baking recipes when it comes to cooking I have been taking the easy route and making stuff that I am familiar with, can make quickly and require minimal ingredients. Today’s recipe is actually a two-parter. While you can use the chicken for this recipe to make some delicious tacos or burritos, I used it to make a Skillet Tamale Pie. That recipe will come later in the week.

To begin I placed 4 boneless chicken thighs in the insert of my slow cooker. I sprinkled about half of a 1 oz. package on taco seasoning over the chicken and then tossed the two together to coat the chicken. I then poured a 24 oz. jar of salsa over the chicken and gave everything a good stir. I covered the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 4.5 hours.

After 4.5 hours I removed the chicken from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. I placed the cover back on my slow cooker so the sauce in there could remain warm. Without the cover on, slow cookers begin to lose their heat quickly.

Once shredded, I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and added in the remaining taco seasoning. I gave everything a good stir and then covered it and let it continue to cook on the low setting for an additional 30 minutes.

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

Ingredients:

28 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 pieces)

1 package taco seasoning mix*

24 oz. mild salsa*

 

*I used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix

** I used Chi-Chi’s Mild Thick & Chunky Salsa

 

Directions:

Add the chicken to a 4 to 5 qt. slow cooker and toss with half of the taco seasoning mix.

Pour the salsa over the chicken and stir to combine. Cover, and cook on low setting for 4 to 4.5 hours, or until chicken is very tender.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board to shred. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker along with the remaining taco seasoning mix and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook on the low setting for an additional 30 minutes.

Recipe from Pillsbury

Pumpkin Biscotti

I’m not really sure why I haven’t tried making biscotti before. I have read some other bloggers failed attempts at baking them. Leaving them with a love/hate relationship for the crispy cookie. My love/hate relationship is the fact that while they are delicious they are sometimes too crunchy. And yes, I know biscotti is meant to be enjoyed by dipping it into a nice hot beverage to combat that issue, but, I am just not a fan of a possible mushy cookie. I was planning making biscotti for the first time as part of this year’s Cookie Palooza after coming across a recipe for a pistachio cranberry one during my magazine cleanout I mentioned a few posts back – and I very well may still do so – but, I am thinking Almond Biscotti now. So, how did I deviate from my original biscotti plan? I came across a pumpkin version on Instagram and around the same time I was looking for pumpkin treats to bake for a friend’s birthday. She loves pumpkin and biscotti so it was a win win situation all around to try out the recipe.

To make the dough, I began by beating softened butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder together. Per the recipe the mixture was supposed to get creamy. It didn’t happen though. Not sure if it was because I was using my hand mixer vs. my stand mixer, but, the ingredients did combine just never into a creamy consistency. Next I added in an egg and pumpkin puree. At this point my mixture did become creamy. And finally I added in flour at low speed. The resulting dough was very sticky.

I transferred the dough to a baking sheet I lined with parchment paper. And yes, I had used that parchment paper before. I was baking chocolate chip cookies prior to making the biscotti. I simply flipped the parchment paper over and used the other side for the biscotti. And in case you are wondering or weren’t aware, it’s perfectly safe to use parchment paper more than once. Just make sure if you are gifting the cookies to anyone they don’t have any allergies that could be affected by a different batch of cookies you made. Since the dough was sticky I did my best to form it into two rectangles. The recipe said 10 x 2 1/2, I ended up with 9 x 2 1/2. I did my best to get it to 10 inches, but, it wasn’t happening.

Next, I smoothed both rectangles with a small offset spatula that I dipped in water. I then sprinkled the top with cinnamon sugar and lightly pressed the cinnamon sugar into the dough.

Then it was time for the first bake. I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for 25 minutes. I then removed the pan from the oven, lowered the temperature of the oven to 325 F and waited 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes I transferred one of the logs to a cutting board and using a large serrated knife sliced it into 1/2 inch sliced. I measured the first one and eyeballed the remaining ones.

I repeated this with the second long and then placed all of the cut biscotti on edge back on the baking sheet and returned it to the oven for about 40 minutes. At the end of the bake time I checked on the biscotti and they were beginning to brown around the edges and were just a tad soft in the center, as per the recipe they should be. So, I turned the oven off and opened the oven door a few inches so they could cool inside the oven.

And once cool I had a delicious batch of Pumpkin Biscotti. And I must mention that my house smelled delicious while baking these. That’s enough of a reason to bake up a batch.

 

Pumpkin Biscotti

  • Servings: approximately 30 pieces
  • Print

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon sugar for topping (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat the softened butter, sugar, spices, baking powder and salt on medium speed until the mixture is combined. Add in the egg and pumpkin puree and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. On low speed add in the flour and continue mixing until smooth. The dough will be sticky.

Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet and divide in half. Shape it into two 10” x 2 1/2” rectangles. Using a wet offset spatula smooth the top and sides of the rectangles.

Sprinkle the top of both with cinnamon sugar and lightly press it into the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Wait 5 minutes then transfer one of the logs to a cutting board and using a large serrated knife slice the log crosswise into 1/2” slices. Be sure to cut the biscotti straight up and down so that they are cut evenly. If you cut unevenly the biscotti may topple over during the second bake. Do the same with the second log.

Place the biscotti on edge back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven for an additional 40 to 45 minutes. Until the biscotti begins to brown around the edges and still a bit soft in the middle. Turn the oven off, open the door a few inches and let the biscotti cool completely in the oven.

Once cool, remove and store in an airtight container.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Mummy Cupcakes

Halloween is just around the corner. Although, if you go to some stores it may look as though Halloween & Thanksgiving have already passed as they are stocking their shelves with Christmas items already. It’s only a matter of time before “Jingle Bells” and other familiar Christmas tunes begin to fill our ears during our shopping trips. But for today, let’s just stick with Halloween. You may recall that when I posted about the NY Knicks cake I made I mentioned making some cupcakes along with the cake to decorate with a Halloween theme. Well, that theme was Mummy Cupcakes. I got the idea for these cupcakes from the Mummy Cake I made last year for Halloween. Now, I mentioned last year that making the cake was super easy, so, you can only imagine how much easier it is to make the cupcake version. I

These cupcakes are very versatile. Meaning you can use any flavor for the base. I opted with yellow cake since I was going to have extra batter from the cake I was making. And, if baking from scratch is not your thing you can totally use a box cake mix (as I did) and store bought frosting to make them. The two specialty items you may need is an Ateco #45 decorating tip and piping bags. Although, you could skip the decorating tip and cut a small hole at the end of a piping bag on an angle. I haven’t tried this so I am not 100% sure how it will work out though.

So, once my cupcakes were cool I fitted a 12-inch piping bag with the Ateco tip and then filled it with vanilla frosting. And then I simply piped flat stripes of frosting across the top of each of the cupcakes. Once the tops were covered with those stripes I added a few extra one’s going on an angle.

Next I tinted a small amount of frosting black and red to make the eyes of the mummy. First, I piped two red dots on each of the cupcakes and then I piped two black dots in the center of those red ones.

 

And just like that I had Mummy cupcakes.