Tag Archives: ginger gold apples

The Pumpkin Pies are Done

There are just two of us, so two pies seem unnecessary. We’ll just have to deal with it, I guess.

I make a variety of pie crusts, some with lard, some with solid shortening, some with butter, and some with combinations of all these. Today I made Martha Stewart’s “Pâte Brisée” (The Martha Stewart Cookbook, New York: Clarkson Potter, 19995. p. 4), an all butter crust. It does have a tendency to brown on the edges more than I would like, even when covered with foil strips, but the flavor is good. The dough rolls and shapes easily, and that saves a lot of frustration. Her “Country Pie Pastry” (p. 5) is a good alternative that uses both butter and solid shortening.

I pretty much always fall back on the pumpkin pie filling from my Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook (p. 351) that I have mentioned here before, with the exception that I use half and half instead of the milk called for.

Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 2 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Preheat oven to 425°

Pâte Brisée

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white sugar

2 sticks (1/2 lb) cold butter, cut into small cubes

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water—I needed about two more tablespoons of water to bring it together

  1. Put dry ingredients in food processor with dough blade.
  2. Add butter cubes and run on dough speed for 10-15 seconds until butter is cut in to a rough texture (this could all be done by hand).
  3. Add ice water slowly through the feed tube until the dough starts to form a ball. As I noted above, I had to use a little more water, but that always depends on things like humidity and fairy magic. Just don’t pulse it to death or the dough will be tough.
  4. Turn out onto your floured pastry rolling mat or board and knead into a ball, then cut in half for two crusts. Most recipes suggest that you chill the dough at this point, but I can’t be bothered with that in the winter.
  5. Roll out to about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie dish top. Fit into dish, trim, leaving about a half inch hanging over the side. I like to roll under the edges and then crimp, so that there is a substantial crust edge—we like the crust. Use your favorite crimping method. I use my two thumbs, but I can’t take a picture of it without a third hand.

Pie Filling and Baking

1 29 oz can of pure pumpkin

3 1/2 cups half and half

6 eggs

1 1/3 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Beat all ingredients and pour into pie crusts. Bake 45 minutes. Start checking at about 40 minutes for doneness by inserting a sharp silver knife 1″ from the edge of the pie. When it comes out clean, the pie is done and should be removed to cooling racks. The centers will not appear to be done—they will jiggle like liquid—but they will continue to cook during cooling. Do not wait until the centers are done or your pie will weep water after being cut. That’s the biggest mistake people make with custard pies, overcooking.

Apple Crisp

I saw a few leaves trying to change color the other day, so it seemed like a good time to turn those ginger gold apples into a crisp to match the feeling of fall in the air. This recipe is adapted from another favorite cookbook, Fields of Greens, “Apple-Rhubarb Crisp,” but without the rhubarb.

Somerville, Annie. “Apple-Rhubarb Crisp.” Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant. New York: Bantam, 1993. 372.

Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°; butter an 8″ or 9″ square baking dish

Prepare crisp topping/streusel:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour—whole wheat flour would make for an interesting taste
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar—use all brown sugar for a richer flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Rough crumble
Rough crumble

Into the dry ingredients, cut the butter with a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers. I used my fingers, smashing the cubes of butter between thumbs and forefingers until the whole mixture was roughly blended. You’re not looking to create a fine meal, but to have some larger pieces of butter that begin to melt immediately in the oven.

Add the walnuts and stir in. Set aside or refrigerate for another time.

Prepare the apples and assemble the crisp:

6-7 cups peeled, sliced apples of your choice—any apple that would be good in a pie works. I had 7 ginger gold apples on hand, an early-season variety of apple, and one Fuji apple.

1/8-1/4 cup white sugar

Peel and core your apples. I do have a good apple corer and a good peeler, but I usually use the cheap flexible knife in the photo to quarter the apples, core, and peel—it works very quickly. The thin, flexible blade makes it easy to cut out just the core and not waste any flesh (of the apple; you’re on your own with your fingers).

Add the apples to the baking dish. I used an 8″ square dish and it was completely filled, although the crisp will settle as it cools. Sprinkle the second amount of sugar over the apples (skip this if trying to cut down on sugar). As I note at the beginning, I buttered the baking dish, which is not in the original recipe. Additionally, you could dot the apples with butter, as you do before putting a second crust on a pie.

Cover the top with the streusel, but don’t pat it down. You’re not making a crust. I put the whole amount in the center and push it out to the sides with my fingers. It seems like a lot of topping, but that’s fine.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp

Bake for about 40 minutes at 375° or until brown. If using a glass dish, you will be able to see the filling bubble; it may bubble up to the top of the crisp at the sides or not. Serve warm. Whipped cream or ice cream is optional, or maybe essential in your house.