sweets

Honeycrisp Apple Fritters

Okay everyone, full disclosure, I made these apple fritters WEEKS ago, and for some reason never got around to writing this down. My bad. Never fear however because it’s always the right time for apple fritters, specifically these ones. I’ll be honest, I’m only recently allowed to fry things in my house, apparently it was thought that I would somehow manage to burn the house down (love you mom!), but I fought for it and here we are, house still standing, fritters warming. This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, and what interested me about these originally is that they’re fried in a cast iron skillet. I’ve shied away from other frying projects mainly when they include a huge dutch oven’s worth of oil, it feels wasteful and a little gross if I’m honest. But these beauties fry in only a half an inch of oil, meaning fewer burns for me and less ruined oil, without compromising the flavor and crunch of the fritters themselves.

I haven’t made many adjustments on the original recipe, however I had such a surplus of Honeycrisp apples and I was so in love with their flavor (I still can’t get over how they ACTUALLY taste like honey), and thought that the flavor would fry up nicely. As a result, I cut back some of the sugar, since the original uses Granny Smith apples which are much more tart. Still delicious though, and definitely something I’ll try next time. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of nutmeg, I find the flavor to be overpowering and I think a little goes a long way, so I cut that amount in half, but if nutmeg is your thing, feel free to use a full ½ tsp.

Okay, logistics out of the way, let’s talk about what is approaching. Next week, I’ll somehow be reaching my 50th Sweet D recipe post and I can hardly believe it. How fitting that it comes the week of Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday! I certainly am thankful for this blog, thankful for anyone who has read since the beginning, for those who have provided me with the inspiration, and for FOOD because without a love of food none of us would be here would we. Anyway, I love everyone and everything and here’s to 50 more Sweet D posts times a hundred.

As is tradition, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
ONE. The Radio City Rockettes.
TWO. Ugly Christmas sweater parties.
THREE. Maple-flavored coffee drinks.
FOUR. Coming home to a package you weren’t expecting.
FIVE. Having exact change.

OKAY it’s fry time!!

Makes: 10-12 fritters
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Fry Time: 30 minutes (total)

Ingredients

2 Honeycrisp Apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp cinnamon, divided
¼ tsp nutmeg + a pinch (for glaze)
1 cup apple cider
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 cups vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Steps

ONE. Place your oven rack to its middle position and preheat your oven to 200ºF. As you finish frying the fritters, you’ll be transferring them to a cooling rack-lined sheet pan in the oven to drain excess oil and keep them warm. Spread your diced apples out in one layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and thoroughly pat them dry.

TWO. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg. In another bowl, mix ¾ cup of the apple cider (the remaining ¼ cup is for glaze), eggs, and melted butter until smooth. At this point, add the apples to the flour and toss until all apples are coated in flour. Pour the apple cider mixture into the flour and apple mixture and mix until all is incorporated.

THREE. Place a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet and line with paper towels. In a cast iron skillet or other pan suitable for frying, add the oil until it’s about ½ inch deep in the pan, and heat on medium until it reaches 325ºF. It’s pretty crucial to use some kind of candy thermometer here, as the oil temperature fluctuates as you fry and you’ll need to keep track to adjust as necessary.

FOUR. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop and drop the batter in rounds into the oil, frying around 4 at a time depending on how large your skillet is. Flatten slightly with your spatula or a spoon and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remember, you can always cook for longer but can never take back cooking time, so start with three minutes on each side and then add more time if needed. Transfer finished fritters to the paper-towel lined sheet in the oven and repeat batches until all the batter is used.

Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

FIVE. In a separate bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, remaining ¼ cup of cider, remaining ½ tsp of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg until smooth. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the glaze over each fritter, and allow to set for 5 minutes (if you can bear it) before eating.

ENJOY!! xoxoxoxox

sweets

Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Challah Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

Wow this is a mouthful. Both phonetically and literally, huh? This week’s recipe is brought to you accidentally by Ina Garten again. I promise this isn’t a Barefoot Contessa-only blog all of a sudden, I’ve just been in such a mood and this bread pudding looked like exactly what I needed and I couldn’t get the thought out of my head once it was in there. Classic D.

This is the simplest of bread pudding recipes, altered slightly from Ina’s brioche to use challah from a local bakery, and because I like to give myself more work whenever possible, a side of Creme Anglaise to go with it. That sounds much fancier than it actually is, to be honest it’s really just vanilla custard, but for some reason it takes this dish to the absolute next level. I really don’t think you can ever have too much vanilla, and it makes me sad when people say it’s a boring flavor. Vanilla is my favorite, there, I said it!! Vanilla ice cream? I’ll take that any day. Vanilla tootsie rolls were clearly the best ones, vanilla cake is classic for a REASON people! Anyway, now that we’re all hungry, let’s get down to business. This recipe is really easy, although waiting an hour and a half to eat it will be the most difficult thing you do all day. While you’re waiting, might I suggest doing a face mask or some other form of self-care, watch an episode of your favorite show, and then make some Creme Anglaise (but not too early, otherwise you’ll want to drink all of it before the pudding is done).

Another fun thing to do while you wait is think of some things to be happy about, and speaking of which, here are your first five. I apologize in advance, I am my fullest form in the Christmas season and it begins NOW:
ONE. The first Christmas song of the season.
TWO. Drinking iced coffee long after it gets too cold to be acceptable.
THREE. Peppermint hot chocolate.
FOURStaying in for a movie night.
FIVE. Half-priced Halloween candy on November 1st

Serves: 8 to 10 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Bread Pudding Ingredients
adapted from Cooking Like A Pro

1 Challah loaf plus another half loaf
3 whole eggs
8 egg yolks
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
1¼ cups white sugar
2 tsp bourbon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Confectioners’ sugar; for serving
Crème Anglaise; for serving (recipe below)

Steps

ONE. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut the half loaf of challah into roughly five slices ¾” thick and lay them on a sheet pan. Trim the crust off the full loaf and dice into roughly 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a second sheet pan and toast both pans in the oven for 5 minutes.

TWO. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste/ seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.

THREE. Line a 10 x 12 inch baking dish with the toasted slices of challah, trimming as necessary so that they fit neatly and cover the bottom of the dish entirely. Evenly distribute the cubed bread pieces on top. Pour the custard over the whole thing and gently press down so that the mixture is absorbed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

FOUR. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan large enough that the dish fits flat, and add an inch of boiling water to the roasting pan (avoid getting water in the pudding). Cover the whole thing with tin foil, poking a few holes here and there to allow steam to escape. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes, until the custard is set.

FIVE. Serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and a generous drizzle of Crème Anglaise.


Crème Anglaise Ingredients

1 cup milk
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste/ seeds from 1 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar

Crème Anglaise Steps

ONE. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and vanilla bean to a saucepan and heat on medium until small bubbles appear around the edges and steam begins to rise. Separately, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and combined.

TWO. While whisking continuously, slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the eggs, a little at a time so as not to scramble the eggs, until all is incorporated. Then, transfer this mixture back to the saucepan.

FOUR. Cook this mixture on low heat. whisking constantly, until it becomes slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the thickened mixture through a sieve and then allow to cool before serving.

YAY!! xoxoxoxo

sweets

Pear Clafoutis

In honor of Queen Ina Garten’s new cookbook Cook Like A Pro, this weekend I pulled out a recipe from another classic, Barefoot In Paris, as it also makes a second appearance in this new cookbook. I’ve made a clafoutis before here, but fall temperatures call for cozy fall flavors, and a custardy, cinnamon-y, pear dessert seemed like the right move. For those who weren’t around last time, a clafoutis is a baked french dish that’s a bit like a cross between a dutch baby and a custard, traditionally made with dark cherries but so delicious with other sturdy fruits as well. It’s incredibly easy to make, requires one bowl and 15 minutes of prep, and can be done within the hour, so really there’s no excuse NOT to make it.

Now let’s talk a little bit about cookbooks. Anyone who knows me knows that I have the most excessive collection of cookbooks. If I see one I like, I can’t stop myself, and suddenly I’m at the checkout counter handing over my card and leaving with another book under my arm. The thing is though, I would probably be nothing without them. I look over my collection of books from some of the people I look up to most and realize how much they’ve taught me, and how much they’ve inspired me to do better, be brave, and trust my instincts. It was countless episodes of Barefoot Contessa that I watched in high school that made me start to see cooking as something other than a chore. It was Ina Garten, who, back when all I was baking were Toll House chocolate chip cookies and some apple pie, taught me about flavors and to never settle for less than the best. Good vanilla is a lifestyle people!!! I love my cookbook collection and here’s to many more years of adding to the pile. But, for now, here are some of my favorites:

  1. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen
  2. Molly on the Range, by Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh
  3. The Fearless Baker, by Erin McDowell
  4. Foolproof, by Ina Garten
  5. Cooking For Jeffrey, by Ina Garten
  6. Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore of Food52
  7. Florentine, by Emiko Davies

 

See? I wasn’t kidding. Now if only I could get to the books at the bottom…

 

Go forth and start cooking, but before you do, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
ONE. Halloween themed TV episodes.

TWO. 
Dinners that you start preparing in the morning and that cook all day, surrounding you and your house with comforting smells.

THREE. 
Crisp walks through the changing leaves.

FOUR. Kraft mac and cheese.

FIVE. Walking through a greenhouse when it’s cold out and feeling warm and refreshed.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Ingredients
adapted from 
Barefoot In Paris

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp white sugar, separated
½ tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, room temperature
6 tbsp all purpose flour
1½ cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 to 3 ripe but fragrant Bartlett pears
Confectioners’ sugar

Steps

ONE. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, mix together the 1 tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon. Using the tablespoon of softened butter, grease a 10 inch round baking dish entirely, and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar so that it coats the bottom and sides completely, tapping out the excess.

TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs and remaining granulated sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour, heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix until combined, then turn the mixer off and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the pears.

THREE. Peel, halve, core, and slice your pears into thin slices, then fan them out in the bottom of your prepared dish as desired. Pour the batter on top of the pears and place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and make it easier to transfer into the oven.

FOUR. Bake the clafoutis for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden. This dish can be served warm or room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Happy Tuesday!!! xoxoxoxD

sweets

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Yes hello and welcome, I know I bring you another pumpkin recipe this week, but this one is a real showstopper so you won’t be mad for long. I’ll start with a question: what’s better that a creme brûlée? The answer? A PUMPKIN creme brûlée!! There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking your spoon and cracking that top shell before digging in to one of these, but the combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, and caramel waiting for you inside is a close second. I have adapted today’s recipe from this one here, changing around some proportions and things to make eight bigger pots, because who wouldn’t want more?


Creme Brûlée may sound daunting, but it’s actually one of the easiest things to make, the hardest part honestly being separating 12 eggs for the custard. I know, it feels like such a waste of egg whites, but save them for macarons like these or these how about?? You’ll be glad you did. But anyway, I promise you’ll be surprised how well these turn out, and how easily you’ll be able to trick people into thinking you’re a master of french desserts or something.

Before we get started as always, here are 5 things for you to be happy about at this very moment:

ONE. The fact that otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t float away from each other.
TWO. A hearty stew on a cold night, complete with buttered noodles.
THREE. Finally thinking of a really great Halloween costume.
FOUR. Buying Halloween candy but ending up eating it yourself.
FIVE. Pumpkin beer with the cinnamon sugar on the rim.

Let’s go!!

Makes: 8 (9oz.) creme brûlées (4 oz. pots will yield about double)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

12 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
9 tablespoons brown sugar (a little over ½ cup)
½ tsp kosher salt
3 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1½ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground allspice
1 cup pumpkin puree
White sugar, for brûléeing

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Since my ramekins are large, I used a 9×13″ baking dish plus another 8×8″ baking dish to fit all 8 pots, but whatever you can fit is fine, as long as the dish is deep enough that the top of the ramekin is about flush with the top of the baking dish. Line your dishes with a folded dish towel and place the ramekins inside. They can be touching, but just make sure they all fit straight, otherwise some custards will bake up lopsided.

TWO. Add all your egg yolks to a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the heavy cream, brown sugar, and salt until just simmering. Remove from the heat and add in your spices and vanilla, then allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.

THREE. Whisking constantly, add a little of the warm cream to your egg yolks to temper them (this will prevent the heat of the cream from cooking the eggs). After this is done, continue to add the cream in a slow drizzle until it has all been added to the yolks and everything is combined.

FOUR. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth, then pour the whole mixture into a large measuring cup or something with a spout to easily pour. Evenly pour the custard into each pot, making sure to leave some room on the top.

FIVE. Place the dishes side by side in the oven and, while they’re on the racks, create a bain-marie by pouring boiling water into the large baking dishes so that they’re filled 2/3 of the way up the side of the ramekins, avoiding spilling any water into the custards themselves. This makes sure the custards steam and cook properly, and putting them in the oven before you do this means you don’t have to carry a heavy dish filled with hot water across your kitchen!

SIX. Bake the custards for 40-45 minutes, until set but still slightly jiggly. Cool the ramekins in the fridge for at least 2 hours before brûléeing.

SEVEN. To brûlée, sprinkle about a teaspoon of white sugar onto the top of each custard and gently shake so that the entire top is evenly covered. Using a kitchen torch, heat the sugar so that it caramelizes and spreads, until the top is one unified sheet of solid, caramel colored sugar. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler in your oven, but watch very carefully because it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

ENJOY!! xoxoxoxD

sweets

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My MY we’ve had some fall weather recently! At least, I have in New York, if you haven’t I am terribly sorry, I really am. In honor of this cozy weather however, here is quite possibly the only fall baking recipe that matters. CINNAMON ROLLS. Cinnamon rolls are the poster child for cozy fall food, but to me, they used to be so daunting. If you’ve been around since the beginning of Sweet D, you’ll know that I’ve said time and time again that making bread scares me. Something always goes wrong and I just could never tell why. That is, until I came across this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, and my life was changed forever. When I used to make cinnamon rolls, it would mean waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday (my least favorite thing to do), and still not getting to eat until noon because, you know, bread takes time to rise. NOT ANYMORE. I give to you, Over. Night. Cinnamon Rolls! The heavy lifting is done the night before, so that the next morning you can pull them out of the fridge and they bake in 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES!! Sorry for all the caps, I’m just so excited about this.

The best way that I’ve found to do this is to make the dough in the evening after dinner, since it still has to rise once before you fill it. Also, don’t forget to take out a stick of butter for the filling NOW, so that by the time the dough is finished rising, it’s perfectly soft. While its rising, watch a movie, catch up on some TV, do a face mask, idk. Then, roll it out and fill it, slice it, and put it in the pan, wrap it in tin foil, and go the heck to bed!!! Wake up the next morning feelin fresh, take it out of the fridge to thaw while you brush your teeth and make some coffee, then bake for twenty minutes and before you know it, your house will smell like HEAVEN!!

If this were a live photo, you’d STILL be able to see the filling bubbling omg

I haven’t changed much from the original recipe that I was following since it’s just so solid, but one thing I have done is tweak the frosting since I can’t ever leave things alone. Besides cinnamon, what would you say is the most classically fall flavor? If you said maple, then we are very much alike. So, what’s one way to make cream cheese frosting even more cozy? You got it, add maple syrup! This frosting recipe will make quite a lot, because we all know it’s better to have too much frosting than not enough. Plus, you have to factor in the amount you’ll be eating with a spoon before the rolls are even out of the oven, it’s THAT good.

Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today, and then we’ll get to it!

ONE. Finishing a book you’ve been reading for ages and feeling so accomplished.
TWO. Fall scented candles like apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice.
THREE. Seeing a really good dog on the street.
FOUR. Being the only group in a movie theater, so you can react as loudly as you want.
FIVE. Waking up early enough to see the sun rise for once.

Makes: 9 Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours + Overnight rise
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

¾ cup warm milk (around 110ºF)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast (a single standard package)
¼ cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temp
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, melted (for the dough)
3 cups bread flour
¾ tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened (for the filling)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

8oz. cream cheese (2 blocks), at room temperature
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Roll Steps

ONE. Add warm milk to the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to get foamy. If this doesn’t happen, the milk was either too hot or too cold, or the yeast is no good, so start over here. Once it’s foamy, add in your sugar, egg, egg yolk, and melted butter, then mix to combine. Stir in the flour and salt, then knead the dough with a dough hook attachment of your stand mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. My stand mixer is old and grumpy now, and I’m pretty sure that if I tried to have it knead for 10 minutes straight it would give up on me completely, so I did this by hand. You’ll know it’s ready when you push down in the center of the dough and the indent bounces back into a smooth surface. Put this dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1½-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

TWO. Transfer your risen dough to a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle that is at least 9″ x 14″. I like to roll out on my Silpat since the measurements are printed on both sides for me anyway! Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the rolled out rectangle, leaving a small border around all sides that isn’t buttered.

THREE. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture generously over the top of your cinnamon rolls, then gently pat down so that the sugar mostly stays put while you roll up the dough. At this point, tightly roll up your dough longways, making sure no filling is spilling out the sides as you go. Using a ruler, measure out 9 even cinnamon rolls not including the very ends of your roll- they never turn out even and always have less filling than the middle ones! I like to trim mine off into little baby cinnamon rolls to bake later. Anyway, once you measure and mark out 9 evenly sized rolls, cut with a serrated bread knife and carefully transfer each roll to a parchment paper-lined 9″ x 9″ square baking dish. At this point, wrap your cinnamon rolls in tin foil and store in the fridge overnight. *If you can’t wait a whole night, allow them to rise again for 30 minutes at room temperature, then bake from there.*

Even these babies got some beauty rest!

FOUR. The next morning, when you wake up refreshed and hungry, remove the rolls from the fridge and allow them to warm up for about 20 minutes. Make your coffee, preheat your oven to 350ºF, or get a head start on the frosting (see below) while you wait! Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the tops are just starting to turn golden- you want these to be a little under-baked so that they’re still soft and squashy! Allow the rolls to cool for 5 minutes (if you can stand it) before frosting. Then, promptly eat all 9 by yourself, who needs to share??


Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Steps

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the softened cream cheese and butter. Once incorporated, add (carefully!) the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat this frosting on medium speed until smooth. If you find that yours is too thin, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick, add a little more maple syrup or whole milk to think it out.

TWO. To serve, spread the frosting generously over all the rolls in the pan, plus maybe some more when you serve yourself a cinnamon roll. The more frosting the better!!

Are you weeping yet because I am

Now get cozy and enjoy your cinnamon roll while wrapped in a blanket, while wearing your PJs, and with a cup of tea. YAY! xoxoxoxD

 

 

 

sweets

Classic Apple Pie

Welcome to another week! Today’s recipe holds a very special place in my heart, it’s my family’s apple pie! As you can probably gather from many of my previous posts (see here, here, HERE, and here lmao), I LOVE pie, but no pie will ever compare to this one. I have such strong memories of eating this pie at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and words can’t even describe how comforting it is to have a house smelling like apples and cinnamon while this is baking.

Some notes about this recipe: it comes from my Great Aunt Anna, who I don’t remember meeting (I was a wee baby), but I trust her with my life because I will never use another apple pie recipe. This pie uses equal parts Macintosh and Granny Smith apples, a perfect combination of sweet and tart. Also, I don’t know where you all stand on the soft apple vs. hard apple debate, but these apples will bake soft which, in my opinion, is the best way. Hard apples in pie make me feel like the pie isn’t finished baking, right?

When it comes to apple pie, I think the simpler the better, which is why the filling of this pie has 5 ingredients, including the apples. Because apples are high in pectin, a natural thickener, you only need a tablespoon of flour to keep the filling together, this pie practically makes itself!

Before we start, I haven’t forgotten our 5 things to be happy about today, so let’s see:

ONE. Learning how to knit.
TWO. Houses that go above and beyond with their Halloween decorations.
THREE. Adding pumpkin into everything: like coffee, cakes, and pasta.
FOUR. Finally getting to break out your fall sweaters
FIVE. Fuzzy socks.

Okay let’s go!!

Makes: 1 9-inch pie (serves 8-10)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour

Pie Crust Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
½ cup ice water

Filling Ingredients

8 apples, 4 Macintosh + 4 Granny Smith, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbs flour
2 tbs butter, cut into pieces, to top the filling before the top crust

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. To make the pie crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Add in the butter and shortening in uniform cubes so that they get dispersed throughout the dough. Pulse the food processor 10 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.

TWO. With the processor on low, continuously drizzle in the ice cold water, and run until a single ball of dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. *You can also do this without a food processor and just work the butter and shortening into the flour by hand, but this way is faster and I find it yields a crisper crust.*

THREE. To roll out your crusts, divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out the first half (your bottom crust) so that it is at least 2 inches larger that your pie plate. Fold the dough in half carefully, then in half again (this makes it much easier to transfer to the pie plate without ripping or tearing), then unfold into the plate. Roll out your top crust now as well, so that it’s ready when the filling is. If need be, put the rolled out crusts back in the fridge while you chop apples to keep everything cold.

FOUR. In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until evenly mixed. Transfer this filling immediately to your pie plate with the bottom crust in it, if it sits too long with the sugar, the fruit will get too juicy and could produce a soggy pie!

FIVE. Dot the filling with butter and then place the top crust over everything. Crimp the edges and cut 4 vents in the center of the pie to release steam, and then put the whole pie on a rimmed baking sheet, in case there are any drips.

SIX. Bake the pie on the lower rack of your oven at 400ºF for the first 20 minutes. This will give you a nice golden top. Then, lower your oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye out on the color of your top crust, it shouldn’t get too much darker in the 40 minutes, but if your crimped edges seem to be getting too dark, you can always cover them with tin foil or pie crust protectors to finish the bake.

SEVEN. As tempting as it might be to dig right in (your house will smell heavenly by now), allow the pie to cool completely to allow the filling to set. To serve, reheat for 10 to 15 minutes at 300ºF, and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!!! XoxoxoxoxoD

 

sweets

Raspberry Opera Cake

HELLO! This may be one of the most ambitious projects I have ever attempted, but the results were well worth it I promise you! I mean, just LOOK at it. I have never felt more like a contestant on the Great British Bakeoff and it was so fun. The other day I was scrolling through Instagram as one does, and came across this masterpiece by Zoë François of the blog Zoë Bakes and I immediately began plotting. The recipe below was adapted from that very recipe, with a few minor flavor changes including raspberry jam instead of blackberry, and dark chocolate for the ganache. Be warned, this is not a quick recipe, and there are a lot of different pieces and parts, so prepare to have a whole day set aside for this. Put on your comfiest clothes, put on a movie (I watched Solo while I baked this and simply had a blast) or your favorite cooking music, and have lots of iced coffee at the ready, you GOT this.

This weekend was completely free of obligations and plans, which are my favorite kinds of weekends. I get to tackle so many baking and cooking projects in two days it feels like I might as well move into the kitchen. Saturday’s projects were this cake and some shrimp scampi for dinner, and Sunday brought this fall’s first of many apple pies (recipe for that coming soon, it’s my pride and joy)! Now if only the weather outside matched my fall mood. All in good time I guess!

Before we start, here are your 5 things to be happy about today!

ONE. Hot apple cider with mulling spices.
TWO. Marathoning a movie series on a rainy day.
THREE. Switching out your summer wardrobe for your thickest sweaters.
FOUR. Running through a corn maze as an adult and having just as much (if not more) fun.
FIVE. Homemade breakfast sandwiches with the crispiest bacon.

Serves: 6 to 8 people
Prep/Assembly Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Inactive Time: ~2 to 3 hours

Almond Joconde

3 eggs, room temperature
90 grams sugar
3 egg whites
30 grams sugar
115 grams almond meal
28 grams flour

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

½ cup egg whites (from 3 to 4 eggs)
1 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt (a pinch!)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
¾ cup raspberry jam

Dark Chocolate Ganache

12oz. dark bakers chocolate
12oz. heavy cream

Meringue Topping

½ cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

*Fresh Raspberries for topping

 

Almond Joconde Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line an 11″ x 16″ baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush with butter to prevent the cake from sticking. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal and flour, then set aside.

TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the whole room temperature eggs and the 90 grams of sugar until the mixture has tripled in size and, when drizzled, forms ribbons that hold their shape momentarily before disappearing back into the rest of the egg. It should take about 7 to 8 minutes. Gently fold this mixture into the almond meal mixture.

THREE. In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, whip the three egg whites and the 30 grams of sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold this mixture into the rest of the cake batter. Pour into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely.


Raspberry Buttercream Steps

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the ½ cup egg whites and the 1 cup of sugar until thick and combined. It will be very grainy. Set this bowl over a pot of boiling water (a double boiler situation!), and heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

TWO. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form and the egg whites are back down to room temperature.

THREE. Once the egg whites are the right texture and temperature, add the butter in, two tablespoons at a time, until completely incorporated. Some notes about this: if the egg is still too hot and the butter starts to melt, put the whole thing in the fridge for a while to cool it down. If, while you’re adding the butter, the mixture begins to look like it’s curdling, don’t panic!! This happens, but if you keep mixing, it will fix itself.

FOUR. Once all the butter is added, continue to mix for another minute, until the frosting is thick and glossy again. Add in the vanilla, salt, and raspberry jam and mix with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated.

FIVE. Dollop the frosting over the completely cooled cake and spread with an offset spatula. It’s important that the frosting is as even and flat on top of the cake as possible, as it will make stacking much easier later. Chill the cake until the frosting is set.


Chocolate Ganache Steps

ONE. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the heavy cream until simmering, then remove from heat. Add in the chopped chocolate and swirl to ensure that all the chocolate is covered by the hot cream. Allow to sit for 3 minutes.

TWO. After 3 minutes, whisk the mixture together, as the heat from the cream will have melted the chocolate by now. Let the ganache cool before spreading on the cake so as not to melt the frosting.

THREE. When the ganache is cool and the cake is set, spread the ganache evenly over the buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula. Chill until the chocolate is solid.


Cake Assembly Steps

ONE. Once the cake is chilled and completely set, run a hot knife around the edges to loosen the cake and the chocolate from the tray. Wrap the top of the cake with plastic cling wrap, and place another (same size) baking sheet on top of this, with the bottom of the baking sheet touching the plastic wrapped top of the cake. Flip the whole thing upside down so that the ganache side of the cake is now on the bottom. Remove the original baking sheet and peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake.

TWO. Flip the cake back to right side up by placing the bottom of the original baking sheet on top of the cake and turn upside down again, then peel the plastic wrap off the ganache side of the cake. At this point, you should have your cake sitting on an inverted baking sheet (to make it easier to slice) with the ganache on top and the cake on the bottom.

THREE. Using a heated knife (keep a large glass of boiled water nearby to dip your knife in as you slice), trim off any uneven edges of your sheet cake so that all the sides are perfectly straight.

Shot from my snapstory, gotta get those angles you know??

FOUR. Using a ruler to keep measurements exact, turn your tray so that the long side is vertical. Cut the cake into thirds on the long side (the 16″ side), so that you have three long strips of cake. Then, turn the tray so that the long side is horizontal, and slice in half so that you have 6 even rectangles of cake. *If at any point the ganache starts to get soft, place  the cake back in the fridge until everything is set again.

FIVE. To assemble, take a long spatula and place one cut rectangle onto your desired serving tray. Repeat with each rectangle, making sure that the sides all match up and the cake doesn’t end up lopsided. Top the finished cake with even rows of raspberries.


Meringue Topping Steps

ONE. This step is optional, but it looks so pretty so 10/10 would recommend. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the egg whites and sugar until stiff and glossy. Mix in the vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste. Dollop or pipe the stiffened meringue over the raspberries, making spikes and swirls with the back of a spoon. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until golden.

You DID IT!!! I’m so proud of you, it’s been quite a journey!! xoxoxoxoxoxD