Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fried Apple Pies

I mentioned these before, when I made fried peach pies. I tried today to replicate my Aunt Alma's fried apple pies. Mine, of course, were different because I bought Sunmaid dried apples. Aunt Alma would pick apples from my Uncle Ed's trees. These were not pretty apples. They really were not fit to eat raw. They were knotty and spotted and hard. They were usually eaten by the farm animals...horses, cows, and goats.

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But, Aunt Alma would peel them, slice them thin, and place them on newspaper in the back of the car during the hottest part of summer to dry. Their car always smelled wonderful!

She would put the dried apples into the freezer and pull them out whenever the occasion called for dessert. She would make a biscuit dough and fill it with the apples, re-hydrated and cooked in sugar. They were pan fried, not deep fried, and always delicious...perhaps because they were made with love.


2 bags dried apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs salted butter

Place the apples in a sauce pan and barely cover with water. Add sugar and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer until apples are plump and soft, not chewy, stirring occasionally. This can take as long as an hour. Add butter and take off heat. Cool completely.

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2 to 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
6 tbs shortening
3/4 to 1 cup ice water

Add shortening to 2 cups flour and work with hands until combined. Add water and mix well. Place on floured board and add flour if needed. Roll approx 1/8" thick and cut into a circle. (I used a saucer as a template.) Place filling in center, being careful to not over-fill. Apply water with fingers to edge of dough and fold over. Seal by pressing with a fork. Place in fridge for 10 to 30 minutes.

Place 4 tbs shortening and 2 tbs butter in iron frying pan and melt. Turn heat to medium high and place pies in hot oil. (I was able to fit 2 at a time in the pan.) Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place on paper towel lined plate.

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As you can tell, they will char if not careful. Not burned, but there is a char on them. It looks worse in the photo than it really is.

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But they are very, very yummy. Aunt Alma would be proud.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese

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I often wonder if there is any recipe that the good folks of America's Test Kitchen, Cooks Country, and Cook's Illustrated cannot make more complicated. However, I will give them props, they truly simplified a cheese souffle and made it foolproof. I've had better souffles, but I've never made one that was this easy.

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Chris Kimball of ATK

Cheese Souffle- ATK
Serves 4-6
1 oz. Parm cheese, grated (1 ½ C)
¼ C. (1 ¼ oz) all- purpose flour
¼ t. paprika
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. Cayenne
1/8 t. white pepper
4 T. unsalted butter
1 1/3 C. Whole milk
6 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded ( 1 ½ C)
6 Large eggs, separated
2 t. minced fresh Parsley
¼ t. Cream of Tartar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position & heat oven to 350*. Spray 8” round (2 qt) soufflĂ© dish with Veg oil spray, then sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan Cheese.
2. Combine flour Paprika, salt, cayenne, white pepper in bowl. Melt butter in small saucepan over MED heat. Stir in flour mixture and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in Gruyere and 5 T. Parmesan until melted and smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in egg yolks and 1 ½ t. parsley (SLICED Scallions instead).
3. Using Stand Mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on MED-LO speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to MED-HI and whip until STIFF peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Add cheese mixture and continue to whip until FULLY combined, @ 15 seconds.
4. Pour mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 T. Parm. Bake until risen above rim, top is deep golden brown, and interior registers 170*, 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ t. Parsley and serve immediately.

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I must confess that I used slightly less cayenne and I omitted the parsley. I bought my parmesan cheese at the Piggly Wiggly and it was not aged very long. It was moist and did not do very well in coating the dish, so I (and I'm blushing here) used the stuff in the canister.

It was beautiful! Delicate and fluffy and light as air.

The thing about a souffle is is delicate and beautiful and light as air and you really want to show it off. But it cannot be made ahead. It has to be eaten immediately because it will deflate before the meal is done. And, how can you spend all of that time in the kitchen away from your guests? Should you? So, when served with a salad, it becomes a light family dinner.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Soft, Sweet, Salty Pretzels

I love the big, soft warm pretzels at the mall. I avoid them, because I really don't need them, but I do love them. Salty with mustard or cheese, or cinnamony sweet with a cream cheese icing for dipping. So today I decided to try making them for myself.

I researched several recipes and this one really called to me...perhaps because of the word "buttery" in the title. Now, having made these, I cannot believe how easy they are to make. Only a few ingredients, and I had everything in the pantry. I found it on and it is by Christa Rose.

Buttery Soft Pretzels

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping*

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pretzel dough photo IMG_20150905_130712_606_zpssq8eddb7.jpg It's a hot day, so I put it out into the garage for an hour and look at what a beautiful dough it made!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets.
In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.*

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Rollin' rollin', rollin.

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Twisted and ready to go in the oven.

Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes.

At this point, I dipped them in butter and them rolled half in cinnamon sugar.

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*I sprinkled the rest of the butter dipped pretzels with Gray sea salt.

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And, here you go, just like at the mall, with honey mustard and a Diet Dr. Pepper.

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They are delicious, easy, and will be great fo snacking while watching the football game tonight...Roll Tide!