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Pie in the Sky

There’s nothing like a basket (or so) of fresh harvested apples! 

Jack’s sister has a great back yard filled with seasonal fruits and flowers.  Among these is a wonderful apple tree and we’ve been blessed with some of its bounty.

All the way home from our visit, the fruit’s aromatics teased my senses.  I envisioned pies, cobblers, cakes, cookies, breads and ciders…..roasts with apples, chops with apples, chicken with apples….stuffings, sauces and relishes – to say the least, I had a lot on my mind!

I wanted to make something to bring to Jack’s family Thanksgiving dinner….using the apples would make it even more special.  I asked him what he thought and Jack voted for apple pie.  It was up to me to decide which type of pie, crust and so on.

Some may wonder what I mean.  “Apple pie is apple pie, right?”

Well, yes and no.  There are different types, different ways to make it, different crusts.   For example, maybe instead of just plain old apple I might want to throw in some raisins and walnuts….or maybe pears.   I

Baked Pie

may want to make it with a crumb topping, or lattice, or plain old slit-top pie crust, or even just go crazy and make the crust with cereal.  I may even make a “Cookie Pie,”  which is a pie with a thin “cookie” top crust.  For that matter, maybe make the whole crust like a cookie…..who knows?

As far as the fruit goes, I don’t peel the apples before pie-ing them.  But if you have digestive problems perhaps you should peel them.

There are a lot of ways to make an apple pie!  Do I make it in a paper bag?  Do I put plain apples in a pie shell, lattice the top and pour sugared, thickened liquid through the lattice before baking?
The sky’s the limit!

I decided to try a few different recipes, after we had plenty of apples!

This first one is a standard double-crust pie.  I’ll be doing another pie crust in a couple of days, so watch for it! The pie crust is the most complicated part.  Common rule of thumb is to keep everything cold, cold butter, cold liquids, heck even cold bowl and rolling pin!

PIE CRUST 1
 
Chill butter and liquids before you begin. 
2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons liquid  (Try using apple juice (or other fruit juice) instead of water)

2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees
Place a cookie sheet in the oven.

Sift flour, salt, cinnamon and cloves into a large bowl. Stir until evenly mixed.   Cut 1/2 of chilled butter into dry ingredients using pastry knife, mezzaluna or two table knives until it reaches a cornmeal state.  Add the remaining butter and continue cutting in until it looks like cornmeal with large bits in it.

Filled Pie ready for oven

Add liquid a little at a time, stirring with a fork, add more liquid until dough, when squeezed in hand, stays together.  Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb all the moisture.

Dust a dry, clean surface with flour.  I use a large sheet-cake pan; plenty of working room and no flour mess on the counter.  Some people roll their dough out in between layers of waxed paper.  If you do, just be sure to dust it with flour first! Otherwise it’ll stick.

Pie filled, extra crust around edge

Working quickly roll dough to 1/4 ”  thick or smaller. While rolling, turn the dough one-quarter turn at a time to keep rolling even.  When you’ve reached the desired thickness, roll the dough over the pin and unroll it over the top of a pie pan.   Make sure to leave a little overhang of dough around the edges, this will be part of what crimps the pie together.

For filled fruit pies, pierce bottom of crust before filling it.

APPLE PIE FILLING

Mixing the apples, sugars and spices

5-6 apples cored and sliced
Juice of one lemon
1 cup sugar (mixed brown and white)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 Tablespoon butter

Crimping the pie edge

Mix apples with lemon juice, corn starch, sugars, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg until apples are evenly coated.
Fill empty pie shell, dot top with butter .  Cover with top crust.
 Fold the excess bottom crust over the top crust edge then crimp using your fingers or a fork.

Venting the top

Pierce the top with a knife to vent the pie. Place pie on pre-heated cookie sheet in the oven.
Cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then lower heat to 350 degrees and cook for 50 minutes longer.
If your oven is slow, rotate the pie once during 350 degree cooking.  Pie will be done when top crust is golden brown.

This is just one recipe.  More to come!
Please feel free to share your pie recipes, thoughts and ideas!
Enjoy!

Cutting into pie

 

Diane’s Turkey Parisian

Recipes are more than instructions on how to assemble a dish, they’re little scraps of memory….bits of days gone by remembered when put into service.

Diane Sciara my friend

Diane Sciara was my best friend from 1977 through 2008 when she finally lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer.
We shared a lot through those years….parties, people, events and recipes.  We used to entertain often, which  meant inviting friends over for a pot luck supper or other gathering which usually resulted in a great meal.

She had a way of throwing ingredients together and coming up with something imaginative and tasty. We were always trading recipes, even after we were no longer roommates.  The food holidays were important to us.  We’d start planning for them weeks and even months in advance – from entrees through snacks, even if we were celebrating the event separately.  We’d even discuss what to do with leftovers.  Now that’s a friend!

One of Diane’s specialties was a dish created using left over turkey, broccoli, cheese, cream of mushroom soup and bread crumbs.  She called it Turkey Parisian.   

While at the store the earlier today, I found a special on boneless/skinless turkey breast cutlets and immediately thought of my friend and her wonderful signature dish.  Two guesses on what we had for dinner tonight!

DIANE’S TURKEY PARISIAN

4 to 6 boneless/skinless turkey breast cutlets seasoned and browned
2 – 2 1/2 cups steamed broccoli
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, etc)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or make your own white sauce w/ mushrooms)
1/2 of soup can worth of broth, sherry or white wine (apple juice is a good substitute for sherry)
1 1/2  to 2 cups breadcrumbs or crushed crackers – I used crushed Cheese It crackers this time.
Poultry Seasoning, salt or low salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F 
Lightly spray or grease the bottom and sides of a square casserole dish. Line bottom of dish with a thin coat of breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.  Then slice the turkey cutlets into manageable pieces and line the dish with them. 

A fine veneer of cheese

Sprinkle a fine veneer of cheese on top of the turkey pieces – don’t use all of the cheese, this is just a tad for flavoring.  While your at it, sprinkle some spices around too…but don’t overdo it!  We’ll be putting some more on top.

Spread the broccoli evenly on top

After the cheese bit comes the broccoli. Spread it out evenly across the top of the cheese and turkey.  Slice any pieces that seem too large.  This will make portioning – and eating- a lot easier! 

Pour sour/sauce over broccoli

Mix the cream of mushroom soup or your home made white sauce with the sherry, wine, broth or juice in a small sauce pan and stir until blended. It should thicken slightly.  Pour  this sauce over the broccoli.  

Cheese then bread or cracker crumbs

Next, sprinkle the remaining cheese over everything.  Make sure you get a nice, even coating over it all.  Then sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs over top.  Finish assembly with a final flourish of spice, then cover it loosely and put it in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes covered.  Remove cover and cook for an additional 15 to 25 minutes until top starts turning golden and sauce and cheese are bubbling.

This is a yummy stand-alone dish that can also be served with other holiday left overs, salad and/or veggies.  Great for pot lucks, too!

So here’s to Diane and her Turkey Parisian! 
As always, please feel free to share your recipes, memories and comments!
Enjoy!

Diane’s Turkey Parisian piping hot and ready to eat!