Gluten-Free Goodness: Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake

I made this breakfast “cake” this weekend. With fruit, veggies, and flax seed, it’s quite healthful and ideal for breakfast, brunch, snack, or even dessert. For a gluten-free recipe it’s quite easy and by using palm sugar (also called coconut sugar) the recipe will be easy on the blood sugar. I think you’ll find kids and adults will both enjoy this treat.

APPLE CARROT BREAKFAST CAKE
(from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free)
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2 cups sorghum flour
1/2 cup palm/coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
3 eggs
2 apples, unpeeled, cut in wedges
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots (about 3 medium)
Optional toppings: Whipped Cream, Cream Cheese Frosting, Yogurt, Maple or fruit Syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan.

Mix the 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed with 2 Tablespoons of boiling water to make a slurry. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, palm sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Combine the eggs, vanilla, apples, carrots, and flax seed slurry in a blender or food processor. If using the blender, start on a low speed and quickly increase to high until thoroughly mixed. If using a food processor, pulse many times until combined and then process until smooth. Batter will be thick.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold them in with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan. Top with freshly whipped cream, cream cheese frosting, yogurt, or syrup.

Cooks Note: Sorghum flour and palm sugar can both be found at health food stores, as well as online.

Off the Shelf: Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy is That

We are so delighted to have Sarah Bailey return with a guest post today!
Please join us in welcoming her!
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(Sarah) If you want to make Hors d’oeuvres that would impress some dinner guests without acting like a slave to the stove, you might appreciate How Easy is That? (Barefoot Contessa).
 
Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, which sits at number one on The New York Times bestseller list for hardcover advice, offers a beautiful picture for every recipe and cuts ingredients to the bare essentials. The colorful book with pictures for every recipe helps those who lack the imagination of knowing how to make a sophisticated yet nearly effortless dish.
 
However, the mediocre reviews on Amazon suggest that the Barefoot Contessa has executed better cookbooks in the past. One reviewer, for instance, complains that some of the recipes (think red velvet cupcakes) are pretty easy to find on the Internet.
 
Since my husband prefers less creamy dishes and ingredients he can easily identify, the many of the sections—cocktails, starters, lunch and even desserts—offered little benefit to me. As delicious as they sound, I can’t convince him to take a bite of “savory coeur à la crème,” “rum raisin tiramisù,” or “roasted eggplant companata.”
 
The finest section of the book premieres with the dinner section, where Garten makes divine dishes—provençal lamb, roasted shrimp with feta, and panko-crusted salmon—look like a piece of cake. A cook with an herb garden could especially appreciate the recipes as she blends fresh herbs throughout the dishes.

Sprinkled throughout the book, she includes 68 easy tips to help smooth out the cooking process. However, if you work in a small kitchen space, some of the tips are somewhat impractical. I don’t have room for a second dishwasher, since we don’t even have one dishwasher to begin with. Or, for instance, she suggests you have Le Creuset dutch ovens, All Clad sauté pans, and an extra bowl for a food processor and your Kitchenaid mixer, which might lean on the pricey side or take up too much room for some cooks.
 
She also recommends a Cooks Illustrated subscription, but I prefer to cut down on the paper and get the website subscription (where you get excellent video demonstrations and a rich archive of recipes). On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with her recommendation to own or save up for a large stockpot, thermometers, a box grater, and a cooking scale.
 
The book doesn’t just showcase recipes; it also includes tips for entertaining. In describing how she sets the table, she balances elegance with simplicity. “We’ve all seen some pretty over-the-top settings with a million crystal glasses, ceramic dishes filled with candy, lots of flowers, candles napkin rings, place cards, and chargers. Frankly, I’ve never known that kind of party to be more fun; in fact, it’s usually just the opposite—it’s more intimidating!” Instead, she recommends a one-color theme appropriate for the season.
 
I tested the cookbook, serving the “weeknight bolognese,” “garlic-roasted cauliflower,” and the “easy cranberry & apple cake.”

Weeknight Bolognese
Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?  Ina Garten
serves 4-5
 
2 Tb. good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 Tb. dried oregano
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 ¼ c. dry red wine, divided
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 Tb. tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ c. chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ c. heavy cream
½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
 
Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tbs salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.
 
While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
(How Easy is That?)
Serves 6

1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
4 1/2 Tb. olive oil, divided
kosher salt, ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 Tb. pine nuts
2 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, pee, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
 
On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
 
Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, the parsley pine nuts, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another ½ teaspoon of salt, toss well, and serve hot or warm.

Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake
(How Easy is That?)
Serves 6-8

12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 Tb. grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
11⁄8 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ c. sour cream
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

International Cuisine: Polish Dishes

We thoroughly enjoy trying different cuisines. I have yet to find one that I don’t like! It keeps food interesting, creates new ideas for flavor combinations, and expands the palates of my three sons. Last week, we spent time studying the country of Poland and whenever we focus on a country, we try to make at least one dish native to that area. This time we made two and both were delicious!

POTATOES BAKED with EGGS & CREAM (adapted slightly from this site)
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2 Tb. butter, melted
3 c. potatoes, diced & cooked
salt & pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sour cream (I subbed some yogurt)
2 Tb. chives or spring onions, chopped (I was out of both so I used a little dried parsley)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour butter into the bottom of an oven proof casserole. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix together the eggs and sour cream and pour over potatoes. Top with chives or onions, cover and bake for 1 hour.

SAVOURY SAUSAGE & SAUERKRAUT (adapted slightly from this site)
Print This Recipe

2 Tb. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ c. green peppers, chopped
1 lg. apple, peeled, cored, & chopped
2 Tb. brown sugar
½ tsp. caraway or fennel seeds
3 red potatoes, cleaned & diced
1 ½ c. sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, & packed
1-2 lb. smoke sausage (kielbasa), cut in 3-inch pieces

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and green pepper. Cook until tender. Add apple, brown sugar, caraway seeds, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Mix well. Place sausage on top of sauerkraut mixture. Cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.

Off the Shelf: November Magazines

It’s that time again – the holiday magazines are arriving packed with recipes and ideas! I’ve browsed my issues several times – folded the corners down, made shopping lists, and decided which recipes to try. My favorite of all the magazines – by far – Bon Appetit. I have many recipes that I want to try and it was tough narrowing it down. You will definitely be seeing more recipes from this issue here on TCND before Thanksgiving. Of note – Midwest Living, Saveur, Everyday Food, & Cook’s Illustrated were also lovely issues this month!

Bon Appetit (Alaina) – Like last year, this issue provides several variations of things like potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, turkey and more. They provide menu ideas for various types of Thanksgivings and even include a vegetarian menu. I especially like (it is perhaps my favorite feature) the helpful tips on what can be prepared ahead and how to time your meal. Ths issue boasts 115 recipes and techniques. You are sure to find dishes to suit your menu and palate.

With recipes like Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Sauce, Vanilla-Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart, Roast Turkey Breast w/Potatoes, Green Beans & Mustard Pan Sauce (Thanksgiving all in on dish!), Maple-Braised Butternut Squash w/Fresh Thyme, and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges w/Smoked Chile Cream, it was a tough choice. I decided on Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans. I picked it partly because I have a mostly negative relationship with brussels sprouts – something about the texture and so I was eager to try them shredded. They were quite good and I would actually make them again. The smoky flavor of the ham was a wonderful addition and the texture was entirely different. Next week I’m going to share another recipe from this issue that I loved even more!

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans
Print This Recipe

2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.

Food Network Magazine (Alaina) – This issue is also quite festive and is packed with lots of recipes. The pull-out section is 50 different stuffing variations which include traditional stuffing, cornbread stuffing, and rice stuffing. They look so good and I plan to pick one to try for our Thanksgiving (did I mention that I will be hosting my very first full Thanksgiving meal?). Food Network does a great job of including side dish ideas and quick dinners in every issue and this one is no exception. The pooled talents of so many great chefs makes for an interesting and diverse magazine.

There were many recipes that sounded wonderful – some holiday and some every day – Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart, Endive & Blue Cheese Salad, Parker House Rolls, Butternut, Arugula, & Pine Nut Salad, Spicy Cumin Fries, and Thai Chicken Soup are just a few. Bobby Flay shares a Macaroni & Cheese that I’m pretty sure is amazing. 🙂

I made the Stuffed Baby Bellas. These are great appetizers – the recipe says it will serve 4 but I’m pretty sure 2/person would be an appropriate starter size so you can count on it feeding at least 8. The recipe made too much filling so you can either halve it, make meatballs with the leftover (that’s what I did), or buy more mushroom caps. The lemon zest and fennel made for a bright and flavorful filling. Overall, we really liked these.

STUFFED BABY BELLAS
Print This Recipe

16 baby portabella mushrooms (creminis)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple handfuls
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into the caps.

Arrange the caps on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Every Day with Rachael Ray (Stephanie) – This issue was, in my very humble opinion, quite a disappointment. There were a few recipes that sounded promising, like Potato Cake with Bacon, Sour Cream and Apples or Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach. And I even tried a couple recipes, Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes (not worth making!) and Chipotle-Barbecue Chicken. But, if you’re looking for good Thanksgiving ideas, look somewhere else. Other than four different ways to cook a turkey and small section of unusual side dishes, this issue evokes little Thanksgiving cheer.


CHIPOTLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN
Print This Recipe

Serves 4

6 Tbsp butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ c. ketchup
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a deep skillet, heat 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles in a adobo sauce to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Cooking Light (Stephanie) — This issue was packed with lots of yummy looking recipes Broccoli Slaw with Oranges and Crunch Noodles, Apple and Cranberry Turkey Roulade (which I hope to try!), Egg Nog, Pecan Spice Cake with ample Frosting. There is also a 50-page holiday cooking section divided up by appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts, etc. 

Although there were many recipes I considered making, I decided on Apple Kuchen. I thought it was a bit of work for the result, but my husband declared them delicious. I altered the recipe to make it gluten free, as well as cut back the sugar by about a 1/3 of a cup.

APPLE KUCHEN
Print This Recipe

3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 c.) all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten free + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened and divided
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. nonfat buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. apricot preserves
2 tsp apple juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples and lemon juice, toss. Add 1/4 c. sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss to combine.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring well (if making gf, add xanthan gum here). Place remaining 3/4 c. sugar, 6 Tbsp butter, and cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in walnuts.

Scrape batter into a greased 13×9-inch metal baking pan. Arrange apples over the batter. Melt remaining butter; brush over apples. Bake for 45 minutes until set.

Combine apricot preserves and apple juice; microwave on high for 30 seconds or until meltd, stirring once. Brush over apples; cool. Cut into 15 squares.

Gluten-free Goodness: Dutch Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of my very favorite comfort foods. I could eat it day in and day out. And, I would much rather have a pie than a cake for just about any occasion. So, when contemplating gluten-free, it’s the pie crust that sticks in my mind as the hardest thing to say good-bye too. That was until I found this recipe. After trying out this pie crust, and realizing how good it was, I would not be afraid to go gluten-free.

GLUTEN FREE DUTCH APPLE PIE
(crust: adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook)
Print this recipe

6-8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup rice flour (white or brown)
1/2 cup nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts)
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. honey (or one good glug from the honey jar)

Crust:

1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1 cup rice flour
dash of sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
rounded teaspoon of xanthan gum
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup ice water
rice flour for rolling

Blend together the flours, xathan gum, salt and sugar. (Flours for gluten-free baking must be well-blended.)

Cut in butter.  Beat egg , add vinegar and ice-water.  Stir into flour mixture forming a ball.  Add a little more water if too dry. (Note: I find the dough almost wet, but it still works.)  You may knead the dough a bit since rice flour crust can stand handling. Knead until you have a smooth soft ball.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or more to chill.

Roll out between wax paper dusted with sweet rice flour. I scotch tape the wax paper to the counter to keep from sliding. Peel off top layer of wax paper , flip over onto pie plate and then carefully peel off the other layer of wax paper and fit pastry into pie shell fluting edges.

Filling: Mix together apple slices, lemon juice and cinnamon. If you like a sweet pie, add 1/2 cup sugar. Place the apples inside of the lined pie plate.

In a food processor, mix together the rice flour, nuts, butter and honey. It will be a wet consistency. Drop the nut mixture in globs on top of the apples.

Bake at 375′ until the apples are tender and the topping browned (Note: because of the honey, the topping will probably brown faster than the apples cook.)

Crust makes enough for 2 single crust pies so you can either freeze the extra dough, or double the filling recipe and make 2 pies at once.

Market Fresh: Fall Salad

The delicious toppings for salad during the fall season make some of the best salads. Recently I tried a new dressing on a bed of mixed greens, sliced apples, chopped walnuts, craisins, and goat cheese. It was wonderful! And really, the whole salad was brought together with the creamy, tangy, richness of the goat cheese (don’t skip it!). Everyone enjoyed the combination of flavors and the large salad bowl was empty at the end of the meal.

HONEY DIJON VINAIGRETTE (I doubled this for a great big salad)
Print This Recipe

1 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 minced garlic clove
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Gradually whisk in  the oil.

Baker’s Delight: Cinnamon-Apple Cake

I seriously just want to bake when the weather gets cold! This cake was a perfect fall dessert for a gathering. You could also serve it for brunch. It was delicious served warm or at room temperature.

Look for our November magazine reviews next Wednesday! I love the Thanksgiving issues – I’ve been browsing them for a couple of weeks as they have trickled in – can’t wait to try the recipes!

CINNAMON-APPLE CAKE
Print This Recipe

3/4  c.  sugar, divided
1 – 8 oz. block-style cream cheese, softened
1/2  c.  butter or stick margarine, softened
1  tsp. vanilla extract
2  large eggs
1 1/2  c.  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  tsp.  baking powder
1/4  tsp.  salt
2  tsp.  ground cinnamon
3  c.  chopped peeled apples

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat 1/2 c. sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, and beat at low speed until blended. Combine 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 Tb. of the cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl; stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (you could use a regular cake pan also) coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes-1 hour or until cake pulls away from the sides of pan. Cool cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.

Favorite Fall Recipes

In my opinion, fall is one of the best seasons for cooking and eating. Harvest provides the bounty to cook with and hungry appetites, whetted by the cold weather, are eager to devour the fruits of the kitchen. Here are our favorites:

Rustic Apple Tart: I love to make these tarts because they are easier than a pie, and you can get two of them from one recipe of pie crust. Apple pie is a perennial favorite and a must for the autumn.

Spicy Butternut Curry: this was a random selection from a squash cookbook that turned out to be a winner. I served it to company as well as just to our family.

Spiced Cider Punch: We enjoyed this at a friend’s wedding and then used it for parties here at home. It is easy, seasonal, and very delicious.

Roman Apple Cake: This was most likely the first apple recipe I ever made growing up and it has stuck around as my go-to for a comfort cake.

Treacle Scones: these scones are filled with the scents of autumn and perfect for tea time on a windy wet day.

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SAUSAGE LENTIL SOUP: We love this soup – It’s filling and absolutely delicious!

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BEET, GOAT CHEESE, & AVOCADO SALAD: This was such an unexpected and fabulous combination of flavors.

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PUMPKIN DESSERTS: Pretty much anything pumpkin tends to be my favorite! The pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin cheesecake are all wonderful.

cranberry pie
CRANBERRY CHESS PIE: I stumbled on this recipe a few years ago and it’s become a family favorite.

PUMPKIN PANCAKES & MAPLE BACON: While I didn’t love how the photo turned out, we have continued to return to this pancake recipe.  Very fallish!

Baker’s Delight: Pie

Today we are going to share with you several different pie recipes and two pie crust recipes as well. Any of these would be perfect for your holiday celebrations!

We have collaborated on this post so our names appear next to the recipes we have contributed. We hope you enjoy!

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RUSTIC APPLE TART – Heather

3 1/2 – 4 lbs granny smith apples (about 10-12 apples)
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. flour

1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
cream or milk for glazing

1 recipe of pie dough (enough for a 2 crust pie)

Peel, core and slice the apples into a large bowl. Add sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon and flour.

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Roll out half of the pie dough into a large circle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or well-greased.

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Place half of the apples into the center of the dough. (If half of your apples seems to much, use a bit less.)

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Place a few pats of butter on top of the apples. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples.

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Brush the top of the tart with cream or milk and bake at 350F for 70-80 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly and tender. Makes 2 tarts. (This recipe is easily halved.)

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PIE CRUST – Heather
(original recipe from Martha Stewart)

2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. butter (8 oz.) — use either salted or unsalted, whatever your preference
ice cold water

Combine the flour and butter in the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Tip crumbs into a bowl and add just enough ice water to make a good dough. Knead briefly and divide into two rounds. Wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill.

If making by hand, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice cold water as above.

Makes 2 pie crusts, usually with a bit left over.

This is the first year I’ve made this cranberry-blueberry pie and it is amazing. Blueberry pie is one of my very favorite kinds of pies, and the addition of cranberries, along with orange, makes for a very festive dessert. I will be making this recipe over and over again.

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CRANBERRY-BLUEBERRY PIE – Heather
(from The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan)

1/2 small orange, including peel, seeded and quartered
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over
4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. sugar
5 Tbsp. cornstarch

Coarsely grind the orange in  a food processor or blender. In a large saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened and the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.

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Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll half of the pie crust out and line your pie pan. Spoon the cooled filling into the pie shell, mounding it in the center. Roll the second half of the pie crust and drape over the pie. Trim the excess dough and crimp the edges. Cut slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush the pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the pie in the oven and place a rimmed baking sheet below it (to catch drips). Bake until the crust is golden brown and the center is bubbling, 50+ minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 1 pie.

I first started making this pie for one of my brother-in-laws. It is his favorite and I had never attempted it. I must say, it is now one of the favorites among much of the family. The silky texture and decadent richness are so wonderful!

This pie can easily be made gluten free by omitting the crust and making it as a mousse in ramekins or using a gluten free cookie crust.

FRENCH SILK PIE – Alaina

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar (superfine sugar would be an excellent choice)
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs*
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked

In the top of a double boiler, heat chocolate, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale yellow and very fluffy**. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, taking 5 minutes for each egg*. Pour filling into baked pie shell. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving.

I top with shaved chocolate (white & dark) and/or fresh whipped cream!

*I use farm fresh eggs since they are not cooked in this recipe. The FDA recommends that children and pregnant women not consume raw eggs.

**Beating the butter and sugar until very fluffy and adding the other ingredients and beating for the times mentioned is absolutely important. Do not skip those steps or you will have a grainy pie.

This pie is scrumptious! A little tart, a little custard, and a nice crisp top. It was so good. I made it once a few years ago and hadn’t made it again until recently and it received great reviews. It will definitely be appearing at our Thanksgiving gathering this year!

cranberry pie
CRANBERRY CHESS PIE – Alaina
(Williams-Sonoma’s Pie & Tart Book)

1 rolled-out basic pie dough (recipe below)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. orange zest, finely grated
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsly chopped (use a food processor or food chopper)

Roll pie dough out and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp edges and refrigerate or freeze until firm. About 3o minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Partially bake the pie shell in the lower third of the oven. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in the flour, then the buttermilk, vinegar, and orange zest, mixing well. Stir in the cranberries. Scrape the mixture into the partially baked pie shell.

Bake the pie in the 375 degree oven for 50-60 minute or until the top is lightly golden brown and domed and the filling is firm. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 pie.

PIE CRUST – Alaina
(Williams-Sonoma)
1 1/4 c. flour
1 Tb. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter (I’ve used salted before)
3 Tb. ice cold water (may need a bit more if not coming together)

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with butter no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

Pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin then roll out. Re-flour as needed and turn dough to keep from sticking.

Makes 1 crust.

What would Thanksgiving be without a pumpkin pie? I like pumpkin meringue pies, frozen pumpkin pies, pumpkin custard pies, and pretty much any other variation on the pumpkin pie. And yet, there is nothing quite like a piece of traditional pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream on top. Not too sweet and just the right amount of creaminess.

pumpkin

PUMPKIN PIE – Alaina
(adapted from Better Homes & Garden)

2-1/4  cups canned pumpkin (about 1-1/3 15-ounce cans)
3/4  cup sugar
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon ground ginger
1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg
3  eggs, slightly beaten
3/4  cup whole milk, half-and-half or light cream

For filling, in a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add eggs. Beat lightly with a fork just until combined. Gradually add half-and-half; stir until combined. Pour filling into prepared pastry shell.

To prevent over-browning, loosely cover edge of the pastry shell with foil or a pie guard. Carefully transfer pie to oven rack. Bake in the 375 degrees F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours. Serve with fresh whipped cream!

* Variation: Add 1/2 c. apple butter and 1 Tb. flour and decrease pumpkin by 1/4 c. Delicious!