Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beverly's Famous Apple Pie - For Zack


2       cups all-purpose flour
1       teaspoon salt
2/3    cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
4       to 6 tablespoons (60-90ml) cold water


1/4     cup cornstarch or all-purpose flour
1/2     teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8     teaspoon salt
8        cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)  Granny Smith or Jonathan are perfect.
1/3     cup (75ml) honey
1/2     lemon, freshly squeezed
2        tablespoons margarine


For pastry:

In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or two forks) until particles are size of small peas.  Do not overwork these ingredients or your pastry will not be flaky.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing gently with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).  Divide in half, wrap in plastic and chill while making filling.

For filling:

In large bowl, 1/4 cup (60ml) cornstarch or flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed.  Drizzle honey over apple/spice mixture and give it a good stir.  Taste an apple slice.     Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture. Taste and if not sweet enough (depending upon the apples chosen) add a bit more honey.  Set filling mixture aside.


Heat oven to 425°F/220°C. With floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round into round 2 inches (5cm) larger than upside-down 9-inch (23cm) glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths - It will look a bit like a triangle; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and up the side.

Pile filling mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter or margarine.  It will look rather full but the apples will cook down.

Roll other round of pastry into 10-inch (25cm) round. Fold into fourths as with the first piece of pastry above. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch (2.5cm) from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired - I pinch it together using my thumb and forefinger.   Cut slashes in top of crust as this will allow steam to escape.  Make this part pretty!

Cut 2- to 3-inch (5-7cm) wide strips of foil to prevent excessive browning - you may need this halfway through baking.

Bake @425°F/220°C for 40 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.  Check the pie halfway through and cover edges with foil if it is browning too quickly.

K (P)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I have tried numerous recipes for cinnamon-raisin bread and I am never truly satisfied.  I get frustrated if the bread is too dense or doughy.  Sometimes, the bread would come out lovely, but when sliced, the 'swirls' would tear apart, making it impossible to toast.  I finally came up with an idea.

My Challah recipe comes out perfectly Every Time!  Therefore, I figured I would simply adjust my Challah to make a sweet, rich dough and flavour it with cinnamon, then sprinkle it with sugar and sultanas (raisins) and roll it up - It was worth a try!

It worked!!!!!  I now can say that this is the best cinnamon-raisin bread I have ever tasted.  It is easy, quick and foolproof - even if the kitchen is a bit chilled.  Enjoy.

Place all ingredients, in the order listed below into a mixer equipped with a bread hook or in a large bowl (if you are making by hand)

First, combine the three following ingredients and let sit 5 minutes:
220ml (~8 oz) warm water (44C or 110F)
1 pgk active dry yeast or 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar

When the 5-minutes is up for the yeast/sugar mixture, add the ingredients below and mix or stir together:
In a bowl or cup, check each egg separately and then combine:
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup oil

To the liquid mixture above, add the following ingredients:
1-2 tsp cinnamon
4-1/2 cups bread flour *

Beat together with bread hook or knead by hand for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and satiny.  It will be a soft dough.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour.  When doubled in size, punch down and press out all of the gas bubbles until you have a flattened piece of dough.  Line your counter with baking paper and a bit of oil and press dough into a rectangular shape as shown in photo.

On top of dough rectangle, sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2-3/4 cup sultanas (raisins) and press a bit into the dough.

Begin rolling the dough into a log form.  Don't be as you roll and if the sides become uneven, just smash them back where they should be.  Pinch the end seam and place in a well oiled, large bread pan, seam side down.  Press dough into the pan, once again ensuring that the layers will not split when slicing.  Cover very lightly with oiled cling wrap.  Allow to rise until double in size.  This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour in a warm house.  If your house is cold, then it may take longer.

Preheat oven to 170C or 350F.  Put loaf pan in centre of oven and bake until the loaf is brown, the house smells wonderful and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your finger (will update timing after I bake)

Let sit in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.   Once this loaf is completely cool, you may slice it.  This loaf will stay fresh and delicious for three days.  If you happen to have any left over, it also makes a fantastic base for bread and butter pudding.

K (p)

Enjoy and please feel free to add comments or hints or questions.

Rectangular dough with cinnamon, sugar and sultanas

Keep shoving the sides in - they will be even once you put it in the baking pan

Dough, waiting to rise and be baked