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French Apple Pie
See Recipe Below
One of my favorite pies of all time has been a French apple pie. This was not a pie my family had at any holidays. Rather it was one my dad would order from a local bakery for a concession stand he ran for our bingo night at the church. Even though I helped my dad cut and set out the pie it was only once in a while that my dad would buy me a slice for us to split. This was also one of my dad’s most favorite pies as well.
What is it about this pie that we loved so much? Why, the layer of royal icing topping off the pie, of course.
One would think that this extra bit of sugar might make the pie a bit on the sweet side but it never was. It was always just the right combination. In so many ways it was like having the best part of a cake with the best pie on the planet.
Sadly the bakery that made the French apple pie went out of business decades ago. My dad never found another bakery in our area that made pies quite like that one. Even though our family made homemade apple pie for some reason we never made French apple pie. My dad and I would talk about how much we missed that pie. Over the years my mom would buy other kinds of apple pies to see if we liked them as much. Truthfully my family loves most types of pies but I would always compare them to that French apple pie.
This Thanksgiving, instead of making a regular apple pie or purchasing a pre-made pie, I decided to make a French apple pie. Rent-a-Dad, never having ever tried a French apple pie but loving my dad’s royal icing recipe, was totally on board to try this “new” pie recipe.
Using my own spiced apple pie filling recipe, a store bought pie crust (gluten free) and my dad’s recipe for royal icing, I set out to recreate a childhood memory. So how did it turn out? Well within the first 48 hours only a ¼ of the pie remained. While the filling was a little spicier than the one from my memory it was still everything I ever loved about this particular pie. The pie crust recipe included is not the one I used, as I am trying to stay true to the FODMAPS diet as much as I can, but is a family recipe that I never want to loose.
If you love to try new types of pie and have never had French apple pie before I hope you give this recipe a try!
Grammie K’s Pie Crust Recipe
The recipe is for a standard 8” or 9” pie plate.
Ingredients: for 1 pie shell or open pie
- 1½ cups SIFTED all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening (like Crisco solid) or butter
- 4 to 5 tablespoons of COLD water
Ingredients: for 2 pie shells or a covered pie
- 2 cups SIFTED all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening (like Crisco solid) or butter
- 5 to 7 tablespoons of COLD water
- If using butter freeze until stiff but not hard. About 15 minutes.
- Sift flour and salt together
- When using butter use a grater to make the butter pieces small enough to cut into the flour with minimal manipulate. If using shortening cut in with pastry a blender until pieces are the size peas. (For extra tender pastry, cut in half the shortening till like cornmeal, then cut in the remaining shortening till like small peas).
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture.
- Gently toss with fork
- Push this to side of bowl.
- Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 until all is moistened.
- Form into a ball (for double crust or 2 rolls divide dough in half forming 2 balls)
- Flatten on lightly floured surface by pressing with edge of hand 3 times across in both directions.
- Roll dough from center out to edge until 1/8 inch thick.
**DO NOT OVERWORK DOUGH AS IT WILL NOT BE USEABLE IF YOU DO**
To Bake Shell Plain Shell (no filling):
Used for pudding pies and lemon meringue pie, pumpkin and sweet potato pies.
- Set oven to 450 degrees
- Fit rolled pastry into pie plate
- Trim ½ to 1 inch beyond the edge of pie plate.
- Fold under and flute (pinch) edges – you need both hands for this- using index finger of the right hand push the pie edge into wedge made by index finger and thumb of the left hand. Do this all the way around the pie.
- Prick bottom and sides well with fork.
- Bake at 450 degrees fro 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
To Bake Double Crust Pie:
Used for fruit pies such as apple, cherry, blueberry, etc. Use one shell for the top and one shell for the bottom.
**DO NOT PRICK THE BOTTOM OR SIDES OF THE BOTTOM PIE SHELL WHEN BAKING A FILLED PIE AS JUICES WILL RUN OUT AND SCORCH.**
- Fit rolled pastry into pie plate.
- Trim the pie shell even with rim of pie plate.
- Fill the shell with enough fruit filling to either be level with edges (pre-cooked or canned filling) or slightly domed if fruit filling is fresh/raw.
- Cut slits into the top crust (for venting)
- Lift the top crust by rolling it gently over a rolling pin.
- Then unroll it loosely over the well-filled pie.
- Trim top crust to ½ to ¾ inch beyond the edge.
- Tuck top crust under edge of lower crust.
- Flute the edge as for a single crust.
- If you use a canned filling use baking directions they suggest.
- For from scratch pies follow the directions below.
**TO HELP KEEP EDGE OF PIE FROM BURNING: FOLD STRIP OF ALUMINUM FOIL AROUND RIM OF CRUST, COVERING THE FLUTED EDGE.**
French Apple Pie
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 1 bag of granny smith apples
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar*
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons powdered cinnamon*
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg*
- 1 teaspoon ginger*
- ½ teaspoon powdered clove*
- ½ teaspoon coriander*
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (if needed)
- 3 tablespoons of butter (2 to 3 more tablespoons if needed)
- ¼ cup of raisins
- ¼ cup of dried cranberries
*My family loves the full spice profile that the brown sugar and this amount of spice adds to the pie. If your family likes a more traditional apple pie flavor then use 2 to 3 tablespoons of white sugar and half the amount of spice in the ingredient list.
Pie Filling Directions:
- Peel and dice apples.
- Place the diced apples in a mixing bowl.
- Add the brown sugar, sugar and all of the spices to the apples and toss. The apples should provide enough natural juices to let the sugar and spices coat the apple pieces. If the apples won’t easily coat with the sugar and spice mixture then add lemon juice.
- In a large skillet melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium hear. Add the apple mixture, dried cranberries and raisins.
- Continue to stir the mixture around in the skillet letting the sugar melt and the apples begin to break down (sweat). Check the crispness of the apples every few minutes. You want the apples to be slightly tender and the dried fruit to be plump/slightly re-hydrated.
- If the syrup forming from the sugar begins to burn add more butter to the pan, one tablespoon at a time.
- Once the apples are to your desired tenderness turn off the burner and remove the frying pan from the heat.
- Add the mixture to the pie shell until slightly over filled. Cover with second pie crust.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.
- Store any of the remaining pie filling in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- 1 cup of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- 2 tablespoons of milk
When the pie is fully cooled, mix milk and powdered sugar. Pour over the crust starting in the center of the pie and working outwards.