Classic Apple Pie

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I don't know who Genevieve Riordan was, but apparently she was a good enough cook to be featured in a Craig Claiborne New York Times cookbook back in the 1960s, and from what I've been able to find on the internet, it seems she was just a woman who owned a pie stand somewhere between New York City and wherever Claiborne's beach house was located. Honestly, it's a simple recipe with a classic apple pie flavour, but the classics are classics for a reason, right?*

Because this recipe is pretty simple (I mean, as simple as any apple pie recipe can be- you still have to peel and slice a load of apples, but there's no parcooking, no prebaking the crust, and no watery filling to contend with at the end), I opted to go fancy with my crust, making a plaited decoration that took me ages to finish but was really fun to do.

If you're looking for a more traditional alternative for your pi(e) day celebration this week than the sugary wonder I presented to you last week, this is your pie. Make it and enjoy by itself, warm with ice cream, or, as Eleanor's family always did, with a slice of cheddar cheese. Happy pi day!

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*On an episode of The Great British Bake Off focused on American bakes, a food historian was interviewed who posited that when British soldiers in World War II were asked why they fought, they claimed 'King and country' as their motivation, but when American soldiers were asked the same question, their response was 'mom and apple pie.' I feel like maybe Americans need to broaden our mindsets a little?

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The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Slice those apples as thin as you can and your finished pie will be dense with apple flavour and toasty cinnamon.

one year ago: Mocha Cake with Caramel Frosting
two years ago: Honey Chocolate Cake
three years ago: Dressed-Up Tomato Soup

the recipe:

Classic Apple Pie

the directions:

Make your pastry according to directions, then divide in half.
Roll out one half of dough and line a 9-inch pie plate.
Refrigerate the remaining dough until needed.
Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with very cold water and set aside.
Peel and core the apples, then chop them into quarters and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible.
As you work, put sliced apples into cold water to keep them from browning.
Once all apples are sliced, drain the water, add ½ c sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir well, then set aside.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Blend the flour with remaining sugar, then sprinkle over the bottom crust of the pie, rotating pie pan to coat dough evenly.
Pour apples into prepared pan, then dot with butter and sprinkle lemon over.
Roll out the second half of the crust, wet the rim of the bottom crust and lay top crust over the whole thing.
Press any air bubbles out, then seal the edges to avoid leaks.
Use a sharp knife to slice vents into the top crust, then bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

Blintzes with Blueberry Sauce

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I got married to a pretty awesome guy six years ago yesterday, and despite what the wedding industry will try to tell you, our story did not end there. Our wedding day was a great day, but there have been a zillion more great days for us since then, and we've accomplished way more as a team outside of that day than we accomplished on it.*

But this week also marks NINE years since Judson and I met and started dating, which we're both pretty proud of. We've officially been together for over ¼ of my life and nearly ¼ of Judson's AND for half of that time, we've lived in Scotland. From here on out, more of our relationship will have taken place in Edinburgh than in the US, and I'm pretty thrilled to have hit that milestone. To celebrate six years of wedded bliss (and sometimes less than bliss but still pretty great times), I made us blintzes. These have been on my radar for ages, but since they involve three separate recipes (wrappers, filling, topping), I figured I'd wait until we had a special occasion. And then I waited through like three special occasions because there are a lot of ingredients to make these and, well, I was busy.

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But when you're married to a man who is indifferent to dessert and hates frosting AND you've already made the two fanciest meals you can think of for anniversaries number 4 and 5, it's time to get creative. I made these for dessert, but if you're really into difficult-but-luxurious breakfasts, they would also make an amazing weekend celebration breakfast for your next birthday, mother's/father's day or anniversary. Either way, swallow the hesitation I know is coming when you see how much dairy this recipe requires and make these soon, because they are delightful.

If you've never had a blintz, think fluffier crepes, bursting with a sweet danish-like filling and topped with a barely sweetened fruit compote. If you can get your hands on peaches, try making a peach topping in lieu of blueberries, or to make the whole recipe a little easier, swap the fruit compote for whatever your favourite flavour of pie filling is (cherry would be phenomenal here). We've made (slightly more controversial) blintzes in the Recipe Box Kitchen before, but these are the ones to which I'll return because, come on, who needs a diet blintz?

*Also like 90% of the time the weather is better than it was that day so that's also nice.

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Worth the effort, and I think you'll agree.

One year ago: Mocha Cake with Caramel Frosting
two years ago: Walnut Butter Cookies
three years ago: 3-ingredient easy bread

the recipe:

Blintzes with Blueberry Sauce

the directions:
blintzes:

At least one hour before cooking, make the blintz batter: combine egg, milk, flour, sugar and salt, beating until very smooth.
Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and topping.

 

 

Filling:

Whisk together cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and cottage cheese until smooth, then set aside.

 


Topping:

Combine sugar and cornflour in a small saucepan and break up any lumps of cornflour before heating.
Heat over low until mixture is clear and thickened slightly.
Add water or orange juice and continue stirring.
Fold in blueberries over low heat, stirring gently.
Add lemon juice and stir once more to combine.

Assembly:

When ready to make blintzes, use the butter to lightly grease a small pan and heat over medium-low heat.
Pour about 2 tbsp of batter into pan and quickly rotate pan so batter spreads evenly over the bottom.
Brown lightly on underside, then turn out WITHOUT cooking the top of blintz.
When all of batter is used, spoon about 1 ½ tbsp of batter into the centre of the COOKED side of the blintz.
Fold left and right edges of blintz over filling and roll up starting from the bottom.
Melt remaining butter in pan and brown filled blintzes, a few at a time, turning as needed to ensure even browning.
Serve warm with sour cream and blueberry sauce.

the ingredients:
the blintzes:

1 egg
½ c (120ml) milk
3/8 c (45g) flour
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp (42g) butter

the filling:

3 oz (80g) cream cheese
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp lemon zest
1/4 c (60g) cottage cheese, blended until smooth

the topping:

6 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
¼ c (60ml) water or orange juice
5 oz (140g) fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ c (60ml) sour cream

Cherry Danish

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This coffee cake came with an advisory that it should be made for George Washington's Birthday, which is today.* According to legend, a young George Washington once cut down his father's cherry tree with an axe. When asked if he was the one who had done it, he responded 'I cannot tell a lie,' and confessed. This story is so engrained in the foundation of America that I can remember learning it before I started primary school, and apparently the legend is well-known enough that back in the 1950s and 60s, cherry pie was the standard dessert on Washington's birthday, which was a national holiday that closed all businesses until the late 1980s. But here are my problems with the legend: what was a six-year-old doing with an axe? The legend says that he loved cherries so much that he cut down the tree, but that logic is flawed to say the least. Why did he think he'd get away with it? Were there rogue cherry-tree-choppers running around that he thought he could pin the blame on? And finally, why do we revere this story so much? He was an asshole 6-year-old, I feel like we should be able to find a story about him where he wasn't being such an annoying little kid?

Oh well, I may never know the answers to the above, but I do know this: this danish is awesome. It's supposed to have had a lattice top but since the dough was far too sticky to roll out, I went with sprinkled almonds and a cheeky sugar glaze and I regret nothing. Serve this next time you're tasked with providing breakfast for your team at work and everyone will be impressed.

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*These days, Washington's birthday is more widely known as Presidents' Day, but since we're only celebrating 44 of the 45 presidents in the Recipe Box Kitchen this year, this breakfast treat is dedicated to Washington.

The verdict:

4 spoons out of five. I wish this only made one coffee cake because I have a hard time finding a use for two, but it's so good I'm sure I'll figure it out.

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One year ago: Crazy Chocolate Cake
two years ago: Battle of the Biscuits

the recipe:

Cherry Danish

the directions:

Sprinkle yeast and warm water into your mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat sour cream over very low heat until just lukewarm and thin.
Add sour cream, soft butter, sugar, salt, egg and 1 c (120g) flour to mixing bowl.
Beat well until smooth.
Stir in remaining flour gradually on low speed until dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl.
Knead on low speed in mixer for 3 minutes or by hand on a floured board for 10 minutes.
Grease the mixing bowl, place dough in it, then turn dough so greased side is up.
Cover tightly and let rise in a warm place until doubled; at least one hour.
Punch down dough and preheat oven to 190C/375F.
Grease two 8-inch round removable bottom tins (if yours don't have removable bottoms, you can serve the danish straight from the tin as it will be more difficult to remove).
Press half of dough into bottom and up the sides of each tin.
Dough may be quite thin but be sure there are no holes or you'll have leaks later.
Pour one can cherry pie filling into centre of each tin and sprinkle with half of the almonds.
Bake 25 minutes until crust is golden and fruit jiggles slightly when nudged.
Allow to cool completely, then remove from tins and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze if using.

the ingredients:

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
¼ c (60ml) warm water
1 c (235ml) sour cream
2 tbsp (28g) butter, room temperature
3 tbsp (38g) sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 c (360g) flour
2 cans (410g each) cherry pie filling
½ c (45g) flaked almonds
Optional: 3 tbsp (25g) powdered sugar + 1 tsp milk or buttermilk, whisked together until a stiff glaze forms.