Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Baking Bible: Mud Turtle Pie

This is one of the recipes I tested as a Beta Baker, and back then I called this pie "a pecan pie with chocolate frosting." This version of the Mud Turtle Pie lives up to its name: it is caramelly, nutty, and richly chocolaty.

I don't actually know if this, the final recipe, is any different than the recipe I tested. I'm too tired to go out into the garage and look. However I can say for sure that the filling is a bit looser than my test pie which really evokes the caramelly center of a turtle candy, Rose's inspiration for this pie. Using Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup and light muscovado instead of brown sugar really really help move the filling toward caramel, and will forever and always be my first choices for a pecan pie of any sort.

The pie itself is a thin layer of nuts and goo, with a rich ganache topper. Rose blends dark and white chocolate to create a ganache she calls her "milk chocolate ganache," but this is anything but milk chocolate. Adding good quality white chocolate mellows out the dark chocolate bitterness without throwing in too much sugar, so the ganache does taste a bit like milk chocolate. It works.

There's instructions to make a cute little ganache turtle to decorate the top of the pie, but I didn't want to take any more time on the making of this pie. I try to involve the 19 month old as much as possible but until he can stand on a stool without me worrying that he'll fall off backwards there isn't that much he can do. So I don't like to spend too much time on baking projects that take away my time with him. I did let him turn on the food processor when making the dough and he LOVED it. Now the food processor base and bowl sit on his play table and he runs over to it and says, "processor!" Then he touches a button and says, "on" and sometimes he'll follow that up with "process!" Then he might make a whirring noise and then the play starts over again. It's really very cute.

He hasn't had any of the pie, but I let him eat my crust which he loves. Mark and I are enjoying this pie very much. I'll admit I ate two slices yesterday. It's just that good.

goo close up.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Baking Bible: Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

Moist, flavorful, easy, delicious. The whiskey and orange juice are a wonderful combination. When all the liquids are combined, the orange-whiskey-coffee-vanilla aromas made us dream of delicious cocktails. Mixing the cake took seconds.

The top crust stuck a bit in the bundt, but since the recipe is supposed to bake in a tube pan, I was happy with the results. My dear college friend, Raiuchka, was in town so we got to share the cake with her.

I'm sorry I don't have more to say; it's been a long week and weekend! We love this cake!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Baking Bible: Luscious Apple Pie

This apple pie is pretty terrific. I'm not even totally satisfied with my efforts on the pie crust and I still think this is one of the best apple pies I've ever had. 

We're using the tender and flaky cream cheese pie crust again and this time it was flaky and buttery but maybe not all that tender. The top crust shatters slightly when cutting into it which I like, but I'm not noticing a tenderness to the dough so much. Maybe I floured it too much when rolling out. 

The filling is about 2 pounds of apples. We are just seeing apples show up in some quantity at the farmer's market this weekend so I asked Mark to grab them while I chased after the child. He can't remember what he picked up, golden something he thinks, but they were something like a cross between a Granny Smith and a Honeycrisp in flavor but a bit drier than both. Eliot ended up eating a bunch of the apples I sliced so I threw in a few Pink Ladies as well as half of a Honeycrisp to get the weight needed.

The apple slices then macerate in brown and white sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg for up to 3 hours, but I think it was closer to 4 hours when I finally got back to them. The juices are strained out and concentrated down with butter until they are thick and kinda caramelized and syrupy.

And the big deal about this pie? Fresh apple cider is concentrated down with cornstarch to add a big punch of apple flavor, which really is genius. This is a big deal.

i like how it looks like the pie slice is sticking its tongue out
 All these concentrated juices get mixed back in with the apples and poured into the pie plate (obviously already lined with the bottom crust). Then the top crust is placed on and all manner of decorating can then occur. I did a liberal sprinkling of sanding sugar and crimped the edge, which then fell down during the bake. Oh well.

I left the pie, unbaked and covered in plastic, in the refrigerator overnight because I ran out of time. This was an all day project, with fits and starts, which is great for life with a busy toddler. But at the same time, I was like, when does pie become and all day project? I don't remember my grandma taking all day to bake an apple pie.

But then once the pie is baked, and the heavenly aroma of apples and cinnamon fill the house, the all-day pie project seems totally worth it. And that is before we got to taste it! Rose suggests waiting 4 hours before cutting into the pie, probably for the juices to thicken further as well as to let everything, you know, cool down.
apple pie and vanilla ice cream were made for each other
We are in love with this pie. Mark, the pie dude, loves this pie. Apple pie was my gateway pie, and this is by far the best I've ever had. So worth the time and effort to make!