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Tuesday
Oct212014

Apple Rosette Pie 

 

 

I'ts hard to see the enormous amount of apples in the farmer's markets right now and not think of apple pie. I was going to make a straight up apple pie for you with a cheddar cheese crust but then I decided to make it a little more fun.  Instead of adding the cheese to the crust, I put it in the filling and made pretty rosettes on top from thin apple slices instead of a pie crust.  

 

 

The apple rosettes are actually pretty fun to make but much easier if you have a mandoline.  Please see the notes about using a mandoline in the recipe header.  If you don't have a mandoline, this may be the time to buy one - you will be so glad you have it in your gadget collection.  I use mine all the time to slice beets for salads, apples for chips, potatoes for pizza, etc.  

 

Apple Rosette Pie

for a printable recipe click here

a Mandoline makes this recipe a thousand times easier.  This is the one I have but you can always get a smaller, cheaper version like this one.  It's very difficult to cut the apple slices by hand as thinly, uniformly and quickly as you can on a mandoline. If you've never used a mandoline before, by careful and use the hand guard that comes with it - the cutting blade is extremely sharp.

Ingredients:

for the dough:

  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold butter (1½ sticks) cut into slices
  • ¼ cup ice cold water

for the filling:

  • 3 large red apples (I used Gala. Each apple was about 10 to 10½ ounces in size)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 2½ ounces)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

for the rosettes:

  • 5 large red apples (I used Gala. Each apple was about 10 to 10½ ounces in size)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 

 

Instructions:

Make the dough:
Place flour and sugar in a food processor.  Pulse.  Add about half of the butter. Pulse. Add the rest of the butter. Pulse until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Through the feed tube, slowly add most of the ice water and pulse until the dough gathers up into a ball - you don't want the dough too wet, so don't add all of the ice water at once.  If it doesn't gather up into a ball after you've pulsed it several times, add a few more drops of ice water until it does.  Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and place it on a sheet of floured plastic wrap and wrap it up. Refrigerate for about 30 - 40 minutes.

Lightly spray a deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Remove dough from fridge and roll out between two sheets of floured plastic wrap or wax peper until it is just a little larger than the pie pan.  Remove top layer of plastic wrap, place rolling pin on one edge of the dough and gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, letting the bottom plastic wrap fall off.  Transfer to the pie dish and unroll.  Press the dough into the pan and crimp the edges.  Place back into the refrigerator.

Make the filling:
Peel, core and slice the apples.  For the filling, the slices do not have to be as thin as they do for the rosettes. Toss the rest of the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and thoroughly mix. Add the apple slices and toss until coated.  Place the apple slices in the chilled pie crust.  I layered mine as evenly as I could to create a flat surface for the rosettes.  Press down gently after you have all the slices in the pie crust to make them fairly flat. Refrigerate.

Make the Rosettes:
Preheat your oven to 375° F. One large apple makes about 3 Rosettes.  This will depend, of course, on what size apples you have and how you slice them.  Cut the apples into five chunks by cutting down around the core. Usually the first slice is very large - cut this in half and then continue to cut the apple off the core  (see photos in the post).  You want chunks that are flat so you can slice them on the mandoline.  I did one apple at a time. Adjust the mandoline blade until it is almost at the thinnest setting.  Carefully slice the apples, laying the pieces so that each slice has a little red peel on it. They should be very thin so they are pliable - they will become a little more pliable after they are tossed with the lemon juice.  If they are not thin enough, adjust blade. Gently toss the apple slices in a bowl with about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon of sugar until coated. You will have some variation in the size of the apple slices - that's what you want. Start making a rosette by making a circle with one of the smaller slices.  Hold it with your fingers and wrap a second slice around the outside of the first, making sure the red peel is on top.  Continue in this manner, adding larger slices all the way around.  I found that when the rosette was about half the size I wanted, I held it inside a little prep bowl (a small muffin tin would work also) and then added more apple slices to it there. It was like having a third hand to help me.  The rosette is going to unwind a little bit and leave a gap in the center.  I took small slices and curled them up and placed then on the inside to fill in these gaps.  

Repeat with remaining apples until you think you have enough rosettes to cover the top of the pie.  Remove the pie from the fridge and carefully transfer the rosettes from your little prep cups or muffin tin to the top of the pie.  I let any lemon juice drain from the rosette first before I placed it on the pie.  Cover the top of the pie completely with rosettes (mine took 12 rosettes).  

Combine the melted butter and cinnamon together in a small bowl and brush the tops of the rosettes with this mixture.  Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top of the rosettes. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 minutes.  If the crust or the rosettes get too dark, you can loosely set a piece of foil over the top. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before serving. 

Monday
Oct132014

Fall Pizza Making Class

Pizza Making Class

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

 at my Okemos, Michigan home 

Come join the fun and learn how to make homemade pizza!

You will learn how to make easy homemade pizza dough,
the best flour to use and the secrets to making terrific
Neapolitan style pizza. We will also make six different kinds
of pizzas, which we will enjoy that afternoon. 

You will also make your own homemade dough
and get to take it home.

Space is limited. Please e-mail me for details.

Tuesday
Oct072014

Orecchiette Pasta with Mushrooms and Pancetta 

My favorite short pasta shape is orecchiette, which means "little ears".  They are like little pasta cups that are perfect for holding the sauce - in this case, little bits of crispy pancetta along with cheese and mushrooms. What a perfect combination and great comfort food for the chilly months ahead. 

 

Pancetta is simply Italian bacon that is not smoked. It is cured with various aromatics and sometimes peppercorns and has a wonderful taste.  It is sold either in solid chunks, sliced paper thin or in little cubes.  My favorite way to buy it is in little cubes, so I don't have to dice it all up.  

 


ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half


 

 

 

Orecchiette Pasta with Mushrooms and Pancetta

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 4-6

Ingredients: 

  • 5 ounces pancetta, diced (you can sub bacon if you need to)
  • 8 ounces Orecchiette pasta
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup medium red onion, diced (about ½ medium onion)
  • pinch of red hot chili pepper (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 

 

Instructions:

Put a large pot of water to boil on the stove for the pasta (I do not salt the water in this instance since the pancetta adds saltiness to the dish). Heat a large saute skillet over medium low heat. Spray with a little cooking spray and add the pancetta.  Fry pancetta until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain. Pour off any oil but do not wipe out pan. 

Add pasta to boiling water and stir.  Time the pasta to cook for about 12 minutes (different brands will cook for different times).

While pasta is cooking, add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet in which you fried the pancetta. Add the onions, mushrooms, chili pepper and black pepper.  Add about ¼ cup of water to the pan.  Toss everything together well. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mushrooms should be golden and greatly reduced in volume and most of the liquid should be evaporated.   Lower heat. Add the thyme and cook over low heat for one more minute.  Return pancetta to pan, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir mixture. Test pasta to make sure it is done (it should be al dente - don't overcook it) and remove from pot with a strainer and add to the sauce, letting a little pasta water transfer over with the pasta. Turn off heat and add cheese.  Mix well. If the pasta is too dry, just add a little more hot pasta water.

Taste pasta and if it needs a little salt, add it at this point.  Add the fresh parsley and mix well.  Add more grated cheese, if you like.