Monthly Archives: October 2011

Lazy Apple Pie

For some time now, my daughter has been asking me to make an apple pie. Honestly, I have never made a pie, not apple or any other kind, at least not what in the U.S. one would call a pie.

Pie dough I made numerous times, but always for some different desert such as a tart, a galette or similar. I guess, I just hang too tight on my European/Bosnian strings and have not yet found inspiration or courage to tackle the Pie Challenge. So, today I went for a, what is in Bosnia known as a Lazy Pie, because it really is almost effortless and the results are more than satisfying. Instead of all white flour, I used some rye flour too, for a richer taste. The real pie will have to wait for that special moment of inspiration…

THIS PIE TRULY MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH!!!

Dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup (215 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (43 g) rye flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 10 1/2 tbsp (150 g) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 lemon (zest)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
Filling:
  • 35 oz (1 kg) apples (peeled and shredded)
  • 6 tbsp (75 g) sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • handful of raisins (soaked in mixture of 1/3 cup rum and 1/3 cup water)
1.  For the dough combine white flour, rye flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Mix well. Add butter, sour cream and egg yolk and mix for few minutes to form a firm dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about 45 minutes.
2. While the dough is resting, soak the raisins in rum/water mixture. Next, peel apples, and coarsely shred them (don’t worry if they are turning brown). Add sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and raisins. Set aside.
3. Grease a 9×11 inch baking pan, sprinkle with flour. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in two. Dust your working surface with flour, roll the dough into an 9×11 in square. Roll it carefully back onto the rolling pin, transfer to the pan and unroll.
4. Spread all the filling onto the dough. Repeat the same with the second piece of the dough and place it on the top of the filling. Poke the top with a fork in about 10 places, so moisture can escape during baking.
5. Bake at 400 F (200 C) about 40 minutes. Cool completely, dust with powder sugar, cut into 1×3 in squares and serve.
Enjoy!

 

Apple Dumplings with a twist

One beautiful, sunny fall weekend in September, we made a trip to the Amish country in Northern Indiana. Driving through the rolling fields of corn, beans and soy, with patches of autumn colored trees was just amazing and so peaceful. We spent the afternoon at the local Apple Festival and enjoyed the sights of the homemade baked goods, Amish made items, apples, mums and Amish children in their simple, pretty attires.

My daughter and I ate some wonderful apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream and since that weekend I wanted to make them myself. Today was a perfect day, since I bought some small Jonathon apples at the Farmer’s Market.

For this recipe, in addition to Amish apple dumplings I was also inspired by stuffed baked apples (a desert from Bosnia). The end result was super delicious! Take a look!

Dough:

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 9 tbsp (130 g) cold butter
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • grated peel of 1/2 lemon (+ juice)
  • 1 egg
Filling:
  • 6-8 small apples
  • 1/4 (50 g) raisins
  • 1/2 (50 g) chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark rum ( or 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
  • Egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp of milk
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon peel and mix well. Add butter and work it into flour until small crumbles form. At the end add the egg, knead it well. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. For filling combine raisins and walnuts, add brown sugar and rum (or cinnamon, or both) and set aside.
3. Wash, pat dry and peel and core apples. Brush with lemon juice and set aside.
4. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface. Using rim of a small bowl, cut out circles for the dumplings. Cut out decorative hearts, flowers, leaves or similar with a cookie cutter.
5. Place an apple in the center of the dough circle, fill the core with the raisin-nut mixture. Enclose the dough. Brush some water over the top and place the decoration.
6. Place the apple dumplings into a buttered (or parchment paper covered) pan. Brush with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes at 375 F or 190C.
Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or apple dumpling sauce.
Note: I didn’t find necessary to make the sauce since the dumplings are already sweet and vanilla ice cream was just perfect addition.

Grandma’s Plum Cake

My favorite kind of plums are Damson plums. They are very common in Bosnia, where I grew up. Their smell and taste remind me of my childhood and my grandparents.

I was so happy to find them on my Saturday’s visit to our local Farmer’s Market. I decided to make this cake by my grandma’s recipe. Her plum cake is delicious, rich and aromatic, and the whole house was enveloped in its heavenly smell.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) Damson plums (washed, pitted and quartered)
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 5 eggs (divided)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 pack of vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 small lemon (zest and juice)
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (75 g) walnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp confectioners sugar (for sprinkling the cake)
Also needed:
  • Parchment paper
  • 9 X 13 inch (23 X 33 cm) rectangular baking pan
1. Wash the plums, dry them, remove pits and quarter them. Mix sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), cinnamon and sprinkle over plums. Mix well and set aside.
2. For the batter beat egg whites with just a pinch of salt, until shiny and firm. Set aside.
3. Mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla sugar at a fast rate and until pale yellow, add melted butter and continue mixing for another minute.
4. Fold in (by hand) lemon juice and zest. Also gently fold in flour and at the end egg whites just until combined (Batter needs to look fluffy).
5. Now add the plums into batter and mix them in well (by hand).
6. Pour the batter into 9 X 13 in rectangular baking pan, lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
7. Bake at 395 F (200 C) about 30 minutes. Cool down completely, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
BON APPETIT!!! :)
Damson Plums – fresh from the Farmer’s Market
Batter
In the pan and sprinkled with walnuts
Voila!

Spongebob Challenge

I would have never thought that I would write about Spongebob on my blog! He is a cartoon character that my kids have been watching for several years now. Even though, they are teenagers now, they still enjoy watching Spongebob from time to time… Personally, I don’t find him very amusing and his laugh annoys the heck out of me! Really!

Spongebob Squarepants and his best friend Patrick Star! :P

The reason, I am writing about our famous Spongebob is that my 7 year old nephew wanted a Spongebob birthday cake! Actually, he said he wanted either a “Spongebob” or “Cars” cake… Since I made him a “Cars” cake last year, I just took on a Spongebob challenge. I am not really a fondant cake type of person! Yes, fondant covered cakes are nice and beautiful, works of art and so on… just not for me!

So, this was really a double challenge – Spongebob and fondant (so not me)! For the love of my cutie-pie nephew I made this cake! It wasn’t easy and it was time consuming.

I enjoyed baking the cake from scratch and making the chocolate ganache frosting. I sliced the cake in half, spread half of the frosting on the first sponge, then put a layer of banana slices, frosting again and then second cake sponge on the top. Spongebob, his house and Patrick I made from rice crispy treats. Everything was covered in fondant (of course)!

Fondant was a whole different story! I didn’t make it myself (learned that lesson last year)! :D I bought the white fondant and then worked food coloring into it to get the colors needed for the Spongebob cake! While I was working on it, I remembered how people on the Cake Boss Show do this every day and all I can say is “Hats off to them!” After I made all the colors needed for the cake, I started working on all the small pieces that would come together at the end. My daughter helped me build Spongebob because she loves him and knows every little detail on him. She went even so far to put red and blue stripes on his socks!!! :S This was hard work, but I am glad we did it, especially because my daughter and I worked as a team and in the process she told me about all the funny Spongebob episodes.

I was happy to finish the cake (at 3 AM) and even more happy that my nephew loved it and that his Birthday party was a success! I’m waiting for another challenge this time next year or before… :)

This is how it turned out:

His royal Spongyness himself! :)

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