Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apple Crumble - by Summer

While I was the one that came up with our flexible scheduling for baking recipes (we pick the recipes for the month and then we decide when we want to make them), and I do believe it's a good idea, it wasn't a good thing for me this month.  At the beginning of the month I put off making the Apple Crumble and then it was the middle of Nov - just in time for my hubby's b-day and then Thanksgiving follows immediately.  Talk about bad timing on my part!  Way too many sweets in the house (although my dad probably would think that no such thing is possible!) 

Lisa gave me the brilliant idea of just making half the recipe.  That turned out to be the perfect thing!  Especially because this recipe is hard to share unless you have people over to help eat it.  It's not something that would really travel well to my husband's work like bars, or cookies or cake. 

So cutting it close to the end of the month, yesterday afternoon I made just under half of the recipe.  The original calls for 5 apples and I did just 2.  I had the perfect size dish* and the crumble topping was really easy to cut in half.  It baked for about 40 minutes instead of the 55.

I have to say that I really liked this crumble a lot!  I am not sure how much sugar I really used when combining with the apples, but it wasn't a lot, so they were nice and tart and the topping was crunchy with a touch of cinnamon.  I think this will replace my go-to recipe for apple crisp.  The amount was absolutely perfect for me and my husband!  I feel bad that I put off making this one for so long!  Here's hoping that December's recipes are done sooner!!!

*Anybody recognize that dish that I used?  Maybe someone from Lisa's family?!!! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Streusel Topping - by Lisa

Gobble Gobble! Like Summer, I thought this would make an excellent addition to our Thanksgiving menu this year. I had no idea what to expect from this pie, but it turned out great! The recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes, but knowing how the stores can be around here, I opted to buy fresh sweet potatoes instead of trying to hunt down the canned variety. I also decided to make my own pumpkin pie spice since nearly all pre-made spice includes nutmeg. Sadly, nutmeg and I do not get along so I must omit whenever possible!

I was quite pleased to see a pre-made frozen pie shell was suggested here, because I am horrible at making pie crusts. They are my baking kryptonite. I swear they can smell my fear. Someday I am going to spend the entire day working on crusts until I master the dang things. That's right pie crust, I'm looking at you.

This definitely was an easy pie to make, and I'm glad I decided to make it fresh on Thanksgiving day. It baked for about 5-7 min longer than suggested and set up quite nicely. I served it with some fresh whipped cream. Those of us who still had room left after dinner enjoyed it quite a bit! It was sweeter than I expected (in a good way), and I particularly liked the streusel topping. I would definitely consider making this again for next Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Streusel Topping - by Summer

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am sorry for the lack of posting this month.  I promise to get back with the program here.  I figure there's no better time to get back to baking for Thanksgiving.  I purposely chose this recipe this month, as a replacement for the traditional pumpkin pie.  My husband was not too pleased to hear the news as he loves some pumpkin pie (I promised to make him one for Christmas!)

I actually made this pie yesterday.  I assembled everything as best I could before actually putting it together:
 This pie was really easy to make.  The recipe called for a pre-made pie crust, but I don't do that in my house, so I made one from scratch.  Once everything was set up, I literally made this pie while holding my 8 month old on my hip!  I was a little worried because the streusel topping seemed like it was falling into the pie.
Before Oven

Fresh out of the Oven
As I mentioned before my husband was bummed that we weren't having pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving.  And then I started worrying that this was going to be a really sweet pie.  I made some fresh whipped cream for our pie, cut a couple of pies and hoped for the best.

Both my husband and I were surprised by the taste.  It wasn't too sweet at all.  It was pretty similar to the pumpkin pie, but I think the streusel topping provided the main difference.  We both quickly gobbled up our pieces!  Yum!  I am glad I took a chance on something different for this holiday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple Crumble - by Lisa

My sister Cathy came to visit us this weekend, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to bake one of our picks while she was here! I decided to make the Apple Crumble and save the sweet potato pie for later this month at Thanksgiving. I really am digging our new baking schedule as it allows for lots more baking flexibility!

We have done a really good job this fall of taking advantage of making lots of the apple recipes while they are in season. Once again, I utilized my produce co-op and ordered Granny Smith apples to use specifically for this recipe. This really was an easy one to make! With the exception of the apples, I already had everything I needed on hand to put it together. And of course, any opportunity to use my CPS (heretofore known as the corer/peeler/slicer) makes me one happy girl!

While I worked on the apples, I cheated a little and had Cathy put together the topping. Half the fun of baking is doing it together, right?! Since I just don't have the hang of cutting in butter with a pastry cutter, I opted for my old friend the food processor. This was also a handy lesson for Cathy on utilizing this particular technique.

Once the topping was ready, I sprinkled it all over the apples and got it into the oven.

Fifty minutes later, it was ready to come out of the oven! I let it cool for a little while on a wire rack. While it was cooling, we chatted with friends Rob and Anastasia who came over for a visit. I'm glad we made it this dessert when we did because I love to share these baked goods with friends! I cut a piece for each of them and everyone declared it a delicious hit. I enjoyed it too. I do wish I had some ice cream or whipped cream to go with it tho. It would have also been really yummy with some fresh cranberries thrown in. I have to say, I've really come around to enjoying baked apple dishes thanks to many of the recipes in this book. I never was a big fan of them before, but that has all changed! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plum Galette - by Summer

Somehow this recipe ended up being a lot harder than it needed to be.  For some reason I didn't think it would be any problem to try and find plums this time of year.  I guess I just figured it's fall and plums are in season.  Little did I remember that it's already the end of October (close to the end of fall) and when I went grocery shopping early last week, there were no plums to be found.  I went to a couple of stores and one even told me that they were out for the season.  I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I did some googling and decided that I would make a Pear-Apple Galette instead because both of those are easily found in stores right now.  I sort of combined recipes and when I went to eat it, discovered that it didn't bake nearly long enough (this was after it made a HUGE mess in my oven).  Defeat!

But the same day that I made the galette, I discovered Walmart selling red plums.  Initially I was bummed that I hadn't thought to run there before making the Pear-Apple Galette.  When I discovered the failure of the PA Galette, I decided that I could actually make the plum one after all.  So the next day I went to Walmart to purchase plums and more puff pastry.

By this point I had seen the galette made by Lisa and made one myself, so it actually came together pretty quickly.  And my mistake with the PA one was that I didn't make sure the edges were tight and the cookie sheet that I used to bake it didn't have edges all the way around, so that made a mess in the oven as it leaked juices.  For the plum galette I made sure that the edges where tight and I used a different cookie sheet.
Before baking

After baking
I tried to make this close to when we were eating dinner, so it might still be a little warm when we tasted it.  Unfortunately we ended up doing an impromptu dinner with a friend and ate later than normal, so it wasn't warm.  My edges got a little too brown and tried covering loosely with foil, but one side still got slightly burnt.  Overall it still tasted good.  I think mine was a little tarter than Lisa's and I think it was due to using only red plums.  I think if I made this again, I would try using a mix of different plums.