Tag Archives: baking

April Vacation So Far

This week is school vacation for all of us! We are definitely enjoying it to the fullest. Anna will turn one on Friday and her family party is Saturday so I’m focused on getting the house in shape and getting ready for the party with decor and some treats. I made this pretty letter A as part of the party decorations! We’ll move it to her room afterwards. We also planted blueberries and raspberries, went fishing, took some nice walks, made pretzels for the first time, and made chocolate covered marshmallows and pretzel rods. And the big news- Anna took her first steps!!!

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Filed under Home, Nature, Outside, parenting, Photo Essay

Lemon Cream Pie

I have always loved the lemon part of the lemon meringue pie. My brother and I used to share our pies- he could have to white and I got all the yellow. There’s something about the meringue that I don’t like, even though I do think it’s beautiful to see meringue piled high on top of the bright yellow of the lemon layer. So for this Easter I decided to try making lemon cream pie. I tried a couple recipes with pudding mix but couldn’t get exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to use my mother in law’s key lime pie recipe since I love it so much. This is her recipe, just substituting in lemon juice and zest instead of the key limes. And it came out perfectly!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • Pre-baked pie crust or graham cracker crust, cooled
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Whipped cream or cool whip for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
  3. Pour filling into the prepared pie crust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool for about an hour on the counter and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Top with whipped cream or cool whip and serve cold.
  6. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for a couple days, if they last that long!

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Filed under Recipes

Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie

After taking a few years off from entering any of my pies in the local fair, I decided it was time to get back to it. I entered the State Two Crusted Apple Pie Contest, because I figured go big or go home! The rules stated that you could have other flavors added in as long as it was predominantly apple, so I decided to mix it up a bit so that my pie would stand out to the judges. I chose to develop a recipe using maple syrup and maple sugar because it’s a little bit different but still a traditional apple pie. I did a few trials, with feedback from my parents, brothers and sister in law (who are all apple connoisseurs) and my mother in law (who used to win all the baking contests and then became a judge at the fair). I also had my husband and picky kids as enthusiastic testers! I loved all the constructive criticism they gave me, because that made the pie so much better. My goals were to have a flaky, buttery crust that was golden brown and cooked well on the bottom, and tender, juicy (but not too juicy) flavorful apples. I pulled out all my tricks and got a delicious pie!

Crust

  • 3 cups flour
  • 12 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup cold shortening
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 Tbsp ice water

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.

2. With the food processor running, pour in the water one tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball.

3. Separate the dough in half, form into disks, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • 6 large apples, Cortland and McIntosh, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (granulated)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour

Other ingredients for putting it all together

  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened and divided
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water added
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar (granulated)

Make the pie!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

2. Grease a 10″ pie pan with 1 Tbsp of the softened butter. This is one of my tricks to get a nicely browned bottom crust.

3. Combine all the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

4. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pan. Pile in the filling, leaving behind some of the juices that accumulate in the bowl so it’s not too runny. Pile it high! I like a lot of apples.

5. Dot the top of the apples with the remaining 2 Tbsp of softened butter.

6. Roll out the top crust and place it on top. Crimp the edges and cut a hole in the middle for a vent. In my family’s farm market, we carve designs into the tops of the pies so we can tell them apart. The apple design is three sheaves of wheat, and I find it’s impossible for me to make an apple pie without that design on top! That’s how I know it’s apple!

7. Brush on the egg wash and sprinkle on the maple sugar. Place on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment to catch the drips, and place it in the middle of the oven.

8. Bake for an hour, then move the pie to the bottom rack for 10 minutes to finish cooking the bottom crust. Finally, move it to the top rack to nicely brown the top for about 10 minutes. It’s done when the filling bubbles out and the crust is golden brown.

9. Let the pie cool for at least an hour before slicing so it’s not too runny. Or go ahead and eat it if you can’t wait! Serve with a couple slices or sharp cheddar cheese, or vanilla ice cream on top.

So after all that work, I got second place at my local fair. I was busy (I do have a job and three kids) and only baked one instead of doing a back up pie, and I got a huge crack in the crust! I lost points on the appearance, and ended up losing by one point! My pie scored highest for crust, flavor and texture though! Lesson learned, bake two and enter the prettier one. And eat the other! Next year I’m going to try again. The winner at the local fair goes on to compete at the state level.

I also entered my old favorite, Butternut Squash Pie, and won a blue ribbon for it. That pie is always a winner!

We brought the Yankee Maple Sugar Apple Pie to Thanksgiving this year and my family loved it. If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes

Enjoying the Apple Harvest

As apple season nears its end in our area, I spent some time going back through my recipes to make sure I’ve gotten a chance to enjoy them all with fresh apples.  Since I grew up with an apple orchard right next to my house, apples have always been a big part of my life.  Snipping blossoms and arranging them in a big vase in spring time, watching the little apples grow throughout the summer, picking that first Macoun in early fall and polishing it on my jeans before taking a crispy bite, sampling all the different varieties, helping press the apples into cider, and of course baking apples into a pie.  Now that I no longer live on the farm, I’ve planted my own little mini-orchard of six apple trees, but it will be a few years before I get any apples. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to eat apples.  As you prepare any of these recipes, I highly recommend eating the skin that you peel off of the apples.  The skin smells and tastes wonderful, so don’t waste it!

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Apple Tart

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Apple Walnut Bread

Apple Raspberry Crisp

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Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie or traditional Apple Pie

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Cinnamon Cider Jelly (Reduced-sugar version, too!)

Applesauce and Caramel Apple Butter 

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Cran-Applesauce

What’s your favorite way to eat apples?

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes, Sustainable Living

Apple Pie

Can you believe I don’t have a recipe for apple pie posted already, after 2.5 years of blogging? I grew up on an apple orchard, for goodness sake! This one has a flakey crust and nice, soft apples. (My two pie pet peeves are a raw bottom crust and crunchy, uncooked apples!)

  • dough for 2-crusted pie
  • 5-6 large apples (I like a mixture. This time it was Ida Red and Macoun.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Roll out the bottom crust and line the pie pan. Peel and slice the apples thinly and place them in a large bowl, then add the sugar, flour and spices.  Stir to combine and pile the apples high in the crust.  Dot with butter, then roll out the remaining crust and place it on top of the apples.  Crimp the edges and cut some vents.  Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 minutes.  Serve warm with slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

I had planned to take a picture, but we ate it too quickly. Next time, I promise!

Please link up in the comments with your best apple pie recipe!

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Peach Crumb Galette

  • dough for 1-crusted pie
  • 3-4 large, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

Roll out dough and place on parchment-lined baking sheet (with edges, it’ll bubble over).  Arrange peaches in the center of the dough, then fold up the edges.  Combine remaining ingredients with your fingers and sprinkle over the peaches.  Bake 375°F for 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

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Peach Season!

The peaches are ripening! Here’s a roundup of my favorite peach recipes…

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Peach Shortcake

Peach Raspberry Crumb Pie (one of my favorites!)

Peach Crumble

Johnnycake Peach Cobbler

I love to see peach recipes in my blue and white dishes, it’s such a pretty contrast! Peaches are Ed’s favorite fruit, and this year I’m planning to learn to make peach ice cream. What’s your favorite peach recipe?

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes