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Tag Archive: dessert

Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

November 15, 2018 Leave your thoughts Print this page

The holiday season is just around the corner, and you know what that means: time to roll out the fancy desserts!

Last Sunday, my best friend Ali put in a request for apple pie for our weekly get-together. “Apple pie,” I thought. “That’s so boring.” I needed to find a way to keep the dessert close to its classic roots, all while flexing my creativity-loving cooking muscles.

The solution: a fun, funky topping composed of pie crust stars!

You of course don’t have to use stars. You can use hearts, flowers, leaves, whatever floats your boat. I have a Pusheen-shaped cookie cutter myself — maybe I’ll make a cat-shaped pie topper next time. šŸ˜‰

A lot of people get intimidated by pie crust and opt for store-bought. That’s fine, I guess, but it’s not how I roll. Pinky promise that pie crust is very easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

As for the apples, I personally love baking with Granny Smiths, since they’re never too sweet and hold up well in the oven. That being said, I also threw in a Honeycrisp and a Fuji into this pie — simply because all of my Granny Smiths were tiny and I got really, really sick of peeling them. Use whatever apple you’d like, but I’d caution you against using Red Delicious. Those guys are theĀ worst.

This pie is obviously a natural choice for Thanksgiving. Please try and eat it the day you make it, as it didn’t hold up as well as I hoped in the fridge. If you have leftovers, try eating them for breakfast with some yogurt. I mean, pie is basically granola, which is basically a health food…right? (I’m kidding, of course.)

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Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

Looking for a simple, yet show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert? Try this apple pie topped with pie crust stars. A creative twist on a classic favorite.

Adapted from NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 1 pie (about 8-12 servings)

FOR THE CRUST:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Generous pinch of sea salt

2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup ice water (you may need a little more)

FOR THE FILLING:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges (I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a generous pinch of allspice, cloves and nutmeg)

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 egg, beaten

Directions

FOR THE CRUST:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.

Dump the dough and any floury remnants onto a well-floured work space. Gently form into a smooth ball of dough, being careful not to overwork. Cut the dough ball in half and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, roll out one piece of dough on a well-floured work space. You want the dough to be an inch to an inch and a half bigger than your pie tin. For example, I used a 9 inch tin, so I rolled my dough to a little more than 10 inches in diameter. Make sure you continuously flip and flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin or work surface.

Carefully pick up your dough and press it into your pie tin. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to get out all the air bubbles. Trim the overhang, crimp or style as you desire, and put the pie crust in the freezer to chill for at least half an hour.

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and cook until the apples just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and quickly stir to incorporate. Cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can put it in the fridge to speed the process up.)

TO ASSEMBLE:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the apples have cooled, gently spoon them into your pie crust, making sure the top is even. Set aside.

Roll out your other piece of dough on a well-floured workspace until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a floured star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces of dough and gently place them atop the pie. Once you’ve worked your way through the dough, squish it back together and roll out another piece. (Don’t do this too many times, otherwise the pie crust will be tough!)

Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg. Place in the oven on a medium rack and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and cook until bubbling and golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature (at least an hour if you can stand it), then cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best eaten day of!


Here’s to some happy holiday baking. Let me know if you give this pie a try!

Also, just a note about my baking. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve steered away from Paleo/gluten-free desserts. This is because of a lot of reasons: completely restricting certain foods wasn’t good for my mental health, I don’t have gastrointestinal distress when eating wheat or dairy, and environmental sustainability are among them. And normal desserts just taste better. There, I said it.

My philosophy when it comes to sweets is to make them yourself and share with others. Have a reasonable portion, enjoy it, and pass on the rest or save it for later. That’s at least what’s worked for me as a foodie and dessert lover. That being said, if you have a food sensitivity or subscribe to a certain diet, I have oodles of gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan dessert recipes in my archives. And, if you leave me a comment, I’d be happy to suggest a recipe adaptation to accommodate your dietary needs!


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Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

November 15, 2018 Print this page

Looking for a simple, yet show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert? Try this apple pie topped with pie crust stars. A creative twist on a classic favorite.

Adapted from NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 1 pie (about 8-12 servings)

FOR THE CRUST:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Generous pinch of sea salt

2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup ice water (you may need a little more)

FOR THE FILLING:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges (I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a generous pinch of allspice, cloves and nutmeg)

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 egg, beaten

Directions

FOR THE CRUST:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.

Dump the dough and any floury remnants onto a well-floured work space. Gently form into a smooth ball of dough, being careful not to overwork. Cut the dough ball in half and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, roll out one piece of dough on a well-floured work space. You want the dough to be an inch to an inch and a half bigger than your pie tin. For example, I used a 9 inch tin, so I rolled my dough to a little more than 10 inches in diameter. Make sure you continuously flip and flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin or work surface.

Carefully pick up your dough and press it into your pie tin. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to get out all the air bubbles. Trim the overhang, crimp or style as you desire, and put the pie crust in the freezer to chill for at least half an hour.

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and cook until the apples just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and quickly stir to incorporate. Cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can put it in the fridge to speed the process up.)

TO ASSEMBLE:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the apples have cooled, gently spoon them into your pie crust, making sure the top is even. Set aside.

Roll out your other piece of dough on a well-floured workspace until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a floured star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces of dough and gently place them atop the pie. Once you’ve worked your way through the dough, squish it back together and roll out another piece. (Don’t do this too many times, otherwise the pie crust will be tough!)

Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg. Place in the oven on a medium rack and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and cook until bubbling and golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature (at least an hour if you can stand it), then cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best eaten day of!


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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

October 6, 2018 Print this page

The fall antidote to your standard banana bread. Sweet, nutty and moist, this loaf is sure to become your favorite October breakfast.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

Prep Time
Cooking Time
Total Time 1 hr 20 min
Yield 1 loaf, about 8-12 servings

1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup coffee (orĀ 1/3 cup water + 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, allspice and cloves)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (also great with white chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it with vegetable or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk to incorporate. Add in coffee and vanilla.

Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Keep going until all traces of flour are just gone. Then, fold in the chocolate chunks.

Using a spatula to help, pour the batter into the preprepared loaf pan, spreading out so the top is even. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about an hour and ten minutes. Start checking the bread at the hour mark; it may also need an additional ten minutes or so if your oven runs cold.

Let cool in the loaf pan for half an hour, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve immediately or wrap tightly with cling wrap or foil. Best within a few days, but good for up to a week.


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Chocolate Mousse Tiramisu

January 4, 2018 Print this page

What to do when one of your containers of mascarpone goes missing on your way back from Trader Joe’s? Replace it with leftover chocolate mousse. My best improvisation of 2017.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time
Total Time 6 hr
Yield 12 servings

FOR THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

6 ounces of dark chocolate, finely chopped

3 egg whites

1/3 cup of sugar

2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

FOR THE TIRAMISU:

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup of sugar

2/3 cup of whole milk

1 cup of heavy cream

2 8 oz containers of mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup of strong coffee, cooled

2 tablespoons of rum

6 ounces of mixed ladyfingers (vanilla and chocolate)

Directions

FOR THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, stirring to prevent burning. Set aside and let cool to room temperature without solidifying.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat, or else you’ll wind up with butter.

Fold the egg whites into the saucepan with the cooled chocolate. Then, fold the egg white/chocolate mixture into the whipped cream.Ā Go slowly. Once no streaks of white remain, fold in the vanilla and salt. Set aside.

TIP: Save the yolks from the eggs you separated. You’ll use them in the tiramisu!

FOR THE TIRAMISU:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let boil for a minute, then immediately remove from the heat. Pour into a heatproof dish, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool in the fridge for an hour.

Once the hour has elapsed, fold in the mascarpone. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, combine the coffee and rum. Place the ladyfingers in a large shallow baking dish. Slowly pour the coffee/rum mixture over them andĀ gently toss to combine. Totally okay if things get a bit mushy or a few ladyfingers break. Let sit for a few minutes before proceeding.

Place a layer of ladyfingers (about half of them) on the bottom of a deep baking dish or other large serving vessel. Top with half of the mascarpone, then half the chocolate mousse, then half the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, mascarpone, mousse and cream. Dust the top with cocoa powder.

Let chill in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight, then serve!


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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 23, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Hello again, friends! I’ve been cooking up a storm, so I’m back again for another post. I hope you’re ready for some fat, decadent cookies.

In other news, it’s October, but still feels like summer. What gives, New York? (Or more like, what gives, climate change?) I’ve got a pile of sweaters in my closet just waiting to be worn, but the weather refuses to budge away from tank top temperatures. UGH.

While this complaint is justifiable — itĀ shouldn’t be 75 degrees in the second half of October — part of the problem is that I’m an incredibly impatient person. I always have been: patience is an Achilles heel of mine. As I child, I couldn’t last for more than 45 minutes in a museum or aquarium. I’d work myself up into a tizzy if I didn’t know what I was doing each day. Lines and long car rides were the death of me (and my poor parents).

Patience is something I’ve been coming back to again and again recently. Because lately, I’ve been especially antsy about getting things to happen.

Everything I do is fast. I walk fast. I talk fast. I jump into friendships fast. I make decisions fast. I get tests done fast. I practice yoga fast. My brain is constantly going at lightning speed, quickly bouncing from one thing to the next. It doesn’t help that I live in New York City, one of the most fast-paced environments in the world. Simply stepping out my door makes me want to move and thinkĀ even faster.

Slowing down is honestly so challenging for me. I wish I was some chill, laid-back girl-next-door who could just be spontaneous with life. But alas, I’m not she, nor will I ever be she.

And you know what? That’s okay. Being an energetic planner means that I’m great at initiating, whether that be in conversations or lunch dates. It means I give a shit about getting shit done. Authenticity is my jam, and I will never stray from who I am just because I’m not “chill” enough.

That being said, we all have things we could and should work on, and one of mine is definitely patience. I need to be more patient with people: friendships take time, and everyone has flaws and approaches things differently. I need to be more patient with life: love will find me when the time is right, when the person is right. And I need to be more patient with myself: lessons cannot be learned overnight, and something like anxiety takes aĀ lifetime to conquer.

But one place where I can definitely exercise patience? The kitchen!

I personally see cooking as a laboratory for things I need to work out in my life. (Perhaps this is why I always hide in the kitchen when I get stressed out?) So this week, I worked out some impatience by baking some cookies that needed to chill in the fridge for a few hours before baking. (See the theme?)

No matter how you prepare them, cookies are delicious. But allowing some doughs to chill in the fridge before baking can do wonders for texture. Have you ever bitten into a thick, sensuous, chewy cookie? Part of that is likely flour content, but part of it too is that fridge time. When doughs are cooled in this fashion, the fat (butter) melts more slowly in the oven, thus preventing the cookies from becoming flat and crunchy.

And who would want a flat, crunchy cookie when you could have a sumptuous mouthful of peanut butter and chocolate?

These are pretty straightforward. My only recommendations? Use salted peanut butter. Crunchy, creamy, whatever, doesn’t matter. But please use salted. AndĀ DO NOT flatten the cookies before baking them in the oven. Drop ’em on the baking sheet and let them be. You want to maintain that magical thickness.

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Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield ~30 cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), softened

1 1/4 cups of brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup of salted peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, up to you)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt (if you aren’t into salt, use unsalted peanut butter and keep salt at this amount)

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups of dark chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl with an electric beater), cream the butter and sugar. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and give a quick beat just to incorporate.

Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. During the final addition, add the salt and baking soda. The cookie dough should be quite thick: if you’re using a stand mixer, the dough should stick and hold its shape around the hook attachment. If still feeling a bit too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour.

If you’re good to go, fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with plastic wrap.

With an ice cream scoop or two large spoon, shape the cookies.Ā Do not flatten them in any manner. Space them evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the middle springs back with a gentle touch, about 12-14 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm, or keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Here’s to zen, my friends. Maybe one day I too can be a chilled-out cookie.


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