Saturday, May 4, 2013

And so our adventure begins...

As I sat on our couch thumbing through my ancient cookbooks and bookmarking each recipe that I was looking forward to trying out, I thought to myself how am I ever going to make the difficult decision of what to make first... and second... and third.  So here's my very scientific and foolproof method:
I shall draw from a hat!  Not just any hat but my T3's (trusty taste tester) favorite camo UNLV hat! 
And what did I choose?


This recipe is from Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking from 1955. 

Every morning in culinary school we would have to stand in the hall as our Chef Instructors inspected our uniforms and checked our health cards and we called this Brigade and as we were finished being examined like soldiers our Chef would yell:

"Are you guys ready to bake?!"

And all of us eager students would yell:
"Yes, Chef!!"

So I ask...


Okay here we go...

Pastry dough:

2 cups All-Purpose or AP Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Butter, Ice Cold
1/3 + 2 tsp Water, Ice Cold

Sift flour and salt together in a bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes with as little handling as possible.
Now either you can use a food processor, a dough cutter or your hands to mix the butter into the flour.  This is called the Cut-In Method.  You want the butter to be the size of peas.  if using you hands be sure to only use your finger tips, as your palms conduct too much heat.
Then add in the ice cold water and combine just until everything is somewhat mixed.
Then dump the dough out onto a floured surface, either your clean counter top or on a silpat.
Gently knead the dough just until it comes together then immediately wrap and place in the refrigerator.
This dough works best if made a day in advance but can be made as closely as half an hour before you need it.. the idea is just to always keep the fat cold in the pastry.

Apple Filling:

2 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup Brown Sugar*
2 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp Corn Starch

*I replace white granulated sugar with brown because I feel it gives it more of a caramel sauce flavor but use whatever you like!
**Also could add some lemon or orange zest!

Peel and dice the apples.
Place in a pan with the remaining ingredients but the corn starch and cook until apples are tender but not cooked down too much!
We don't want applesauce!!
Once you are about to pull the apples, add the corn starch and allow to cook for one minute while stirring, the sauce should thicken and won't leak out of the pies nearly as much.
Pour onto a sheet pan to allow to cool.


Take your pie crust and roll it out to 1/8 of an inch thick.
Use whatever size cutter you would like for the pies and cut out circles.
You can either make the pies round like I did or you can fold each circle in half and make empanadas! 
Take a spoon and scoop some filling with all the delicious caramelly sauce into each circle and press the edges together as much as possible.
I like to use a fork to crimp the edges but not necessary.  In school they told us never to use a fork to crimp sides because it looks amateurish but hey, this is my kitchen not a french patisserie bistro!

Once all the pies are assembled, heat 4 cups of vegetable or canola oil, whichever you prefer.. I used vegetable, to 360 degrees. Fry two or three pies for around 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow the pies to drain on a cooling rack on a sheet pan.

Now these pies are ready to be enjoyed!

Try a caramel dipping sauce or even roll them in cinnamon sugar!

Until next time!


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