RECIPE: RUSTIC APPLE PIE WITH EASY TO MAKE PIE CRUST

This may be my favorite recipe. You can’t believe how fast and easy you can make a pie! My mom made a pie every single day- most were fruit pies and I always marveled at how fast she could make one. I have used just about everything inside of this pie crust but just make sure the dough is well chilled and the filling is not too juicy or it won’t hold together. The egg wash will act as a glue to keep it sealed. The glaze, if you decide to use one, will make it look like it came from a bakery but it is flakier without it.

To the left is an apple pie I made in minutes. On the right is the same crust, with local Chilton County peaches and blackberries and blueberries from my yard. Note: If you use frozen fruit for the filling, be sure to up the flour a bit so the filling is not too juicy to hold.

You can use this homemade pie crust to make almost any kind of pie, tart, pot pie, or crostata. Leave out the sugar for a savory pie The dough can hold up to a week in the refrigerator before you roll it out. You can make ahead and freeze it, also.

RUSTIC APPLE PIE

Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour chill time for the dough

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons to roll out the dough

2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar plus ½ tablespoon to sprinkle on crust

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced

3 tablespoons ice water plus 1 to 1½ more depending on how dough comes together

Filling

11/2 pounds apples (3-4 large semi-tart apples work best)

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

Egg Wash (optional)

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon cold water

Glaze (optional)

½ cup Orange Marmalade, Apricot Preserves, or Apple Jelly

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stretch a 12 x 12 piece of plastic wrap out on the counter and dust with a little of the flour, about 1-2 tablespoons.

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, a little at a time, pulsing between additions until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube-stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto the well-floured plastic wrap. Handle as little as possible. Fold over the plastic and form into a round. Don’t over handle or over mix because your dough will be tough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to make the crostata, flour a rolling pin and put a little flour around the plastic and on both sides of the dough; roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on the plastic wrap. Wrap it over the rolling pin and transfer it to a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples. I like the look of slices- I usually slice a small apple into 8 slices. You can leave the peel on if you like. Put the apple into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Next, add the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the cold butter. Mix all of the ingredients together until the apples are well coated. Turn the apples out onto the crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all the way around.  Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle. Finish with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar before baking.

Bake the crostata for 20-22 minutes, until the crust is browned and the apples are tender. (Note: If you are not using the glaze, bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown)

For the glaze: Microwave the preserves in a heatproof container for 10 seconds. Remove the crostata from the oven. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the crust and the filling with the melted preserves. Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

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RECIPE: PUFF PASTRY NAPOLEONS ARE PERFECT FOR A PARTY!

Napoleons are one of those desserts that look so fancy and elegant but are as simple as they can possibly be. Perfect for any party or special occasion, you use puff pastry from the store to create these little masterpieces. You can cut them to the size you want; small for  bite size or larger for a full dessert portion at the end of a dinner party.

Make beautiful pastry shoppe quality Napoleons with store bought puff pastry from the freezer section!

Make beautiful pastry shoppe quality Napoleons with store bought puff pastry from the freezer section!

STRAWBERRY NAPOLEONS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

1 T. granulated sugar

2 T. Grand Marnier (optional)

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup marscapone cheese

1 T. vanilla

3 T + more Confectioners sugar (you will need some for garnish)

1 orange for a bit of juice and the zest (optional)

1 box of frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

flour

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Clean, core and slice strawberries. Put in a bowl with the sugar and Grand Marnier. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, vanilla and 2-3 tablespoons of the Confectioners sugar plus 2 tablespoons orange juice (or use Grand Marnier) and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in the Marscapone cheese. Spoon into a piping bag. Refrigerate.

Dust the work surface with flour. Open one package of the puff pastry. Cut along the fold lines to make 3 pieces and cut each of those into 4 pieces. Repeat with the second package. Put on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Split each of the puff pastry squares in half. Put the bottom halves on a serving plate. Pipe with whipping cream mixture.

Drain the strawberries. Add a layer on top of the whipped cream. Pipe some additional whipping cream and put on the top. Dust with powdered sugar.