Friday, January 21, 2011

Just Half A Teaspoon of Cinnamon Left

I started making an apple pie.

I made the dough.
Use 1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of shortening (or butter)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or if you'd like 1 T vodka.

Some of my sons like to cook and one of those is into the chemistry of cooking. He saw on America's test kitchen that a tablespoon of vodka in a recipe of pie dough makes it flakier.  The science behind this is that when you mix and handle the dough it has to be wet, but if you use too much water, then the baked crust is heavy and soggy.  The alcohol is wet when mixing and rolling, but cooks out or evaporates when the pie is baked. Vodka is evidently tasteless, so... they said to use that.  I went to the store and bought a small bottle. The clerk, eyebrows raised, looking knowing and amused said, "Is this for cooking, ma'am?"

Cut the shortening or butter into the flour/salt mixture with two knives or a pastry cutter. The dough should look crumbly. 
Add ice to the water mixture and when it is cold dribble it in, mixing the dough gently until it comes together. Don't overmix! You cannot play with pie dough, handling it toughens it! If you want to play, make bread.

Midway through my task, Joey and Jack arrived at my house and of course they wanted to help me.

Joey has a great deal to say and starts right in. 

Jack liked helping with the apple peeler/corer/slicer. This device makes pie making easier. They are widely available.  I got mine from that cooking store that has parties at people's home (can't think of the name), but they are also available at Bowen's Farm Supply and King Arthur Flour and of course, for the "exclusive" model at Williams Sonoma

Jack could not believe the results.
Joey stopped talking long enough to try one of the apples.

And sometimes he talked and ate and gestured for emphasis at the same time! So talented!

Jack wanted to try the sliced apples.

Jack is a great and cheerful helper.

So, it turned out that I didn't have quite enough apples for the pies.  Hmm.  Turns out, I also had only a scant teaspoon of cinnamon left.  

We decided to add fresh cranberries and raspberries to the pie.

Sprinkle the fruit with sugar and let it stand for a couple of hours.  This brings out some of the liquid. 

While this is happening, play with cars or whatever else you have to do that is equally interesting. Today, Joey sat contentedly letting Jack race every one of his cars first.  Joey said, "I just want Jack to have as much time as he needs to race his cars."

 It felt like some sort of a miracle had happened and then I remembered what sort of miracle it was.  Joey is nearly five and five year old kids are terrific and giving and cheerful. It's as if all the careful training and abundant love their parents have been giving them suddenly come together and make sense. I told Joey how pleased I was that he was being so kind to his brother. Jack seemed pleased, too. 

When a small pool of liquid gathers at the bottom of the fruit bowl, it is time to make the pies.
Roll out the pie dough and place it in the pie pans.
Using a slotted spoon, place the fruit on the bottom crust.
Take the liquid that is in the bowl and add 2-3 T of cornstarch. Mix this well to eliminate all lumps. Pour the mixture over the fruit. 
I made a crumb topping from butter, brown sugar, sugar and flour.  
Mix together 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar. Cut 6 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil into small pieces and cut into the mixture.  (If you want larger crumbs, a tablespoon at a time, some liquid -- rice milk,  milk or cream to make larger crumbs but be careful not to add too much).
Heap the crumbs on the fruit and bake at 375 for about 30 to 40 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the crumbs are toasted.

I'm just worried that Jack might have tossed in more salt when I wasn't looking!  But even so, it was the sweetest of days!

1 comment:

  1. I like your comparison of making a pie to raising a child....there are lots of days when parents feel like they don't have enough cinnamon! ;)