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Monday, April 2, 2012

Spiced Apple and Pear Pie!




Yes...You read right...A spiced Apple and Pear Pie!!!! No ,I did not make this up...There is an actual recipe for this...and I am told that this pie is quite good..  It has been months now since I saw -"The Help" and I am over my pie phobia.  You would have had to of seen this movie to know what I'm talking about.. If you didn't see it...don't worry about...Anyway..here is the recipe for slices of heaven.


This pie is everything you could love about apple pies, and more. The pears add extra depth, juice, and flavor, and plus it's gorgeous on top of that. What more can you ask for? Huh?

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced

1 large egg

3 to 4 tablespoons very cold water

Filling:

1/2 lemon

3 pounds baking apples, such as Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu (about 6 apples)

1 1/2 pounds baking pears, such as Bosc or firm Bartletts (about 3 pears)

2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten


Dough:

DIRECTIONS:


Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Rub 1/4 cup of the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until completely absorbed. Then rub in the remaining butter until it resembles cornmeal mixed with pea-size bits of butter. (If it gets warm and sticky, refrigerate it to chill.)

Beat the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water; then drizzle it evenly over the dough. Lightly stir the dough together with a fork. (The dough should just hold together when you squeeze it together, with some dry crumbly bits.) If the dough is really dry, sprinkle it with the final tablespoon of water. (To make the dough in food processor, see below.)

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and shape into disks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen for 2 months. Defrost dough in the fridge overnight.)

Filling:

DIRECTIONS:


Finely grate the lemon zest and set aside. Peel, core and then slice both the apple and pear into 1/2-inch slices. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit, then toss fruit with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fruit and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves and juices simmer, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the fruit softens and the juices evaporate some, about 10 minutes. Evenly mix the flour into the fruit; then cook about a minute more to thicken the juices slightly. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest; and remove from the heat. (The filling should resemble a tight compote.) Cool completely.

Form the pie:

DIRECTIONS:


Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll a disk of dough into an 11 to 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to 9-inch glass pie pan (see photo), trimming so it hangs about 1/2-inch over the edge of the pan. Fill the crust with the prepared fruit so it mounds slightly in the center. Roll the remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Brush the rim of the crust with some of the egg.

Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over the fruit so it hangs over the edge of the pie pan by about 1/2-inch. Trim crust if needed, reserving the scraps for decorations or for patching, if needed. Fold the top crust edge under the bottom one, then press the edges together to seal. Cut trimmed scraps into designs if desired and set aside. Flute the crust by pressing a finger into the crust against the other hand's index finger and thumb to make an even impression. Repeat every 1/2 inch around the pie to create a ruffled edge (see photo). Refrigerate the pie for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 425 degrees F.

Brush pie with egg and place cut dough designs on top if desired. Brush again and sprinkle with sugar. Cut 6 to 8 small steam vents into the top of the dough. Place pie on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until the crust (both top and bottom) is golden brown, about 50 minutes more. If the edges begin to brown too quickly, cut a pie shield out of a piece of aluminum foil and cover the edges (see photo). Cool on a rack.

Serve pie warm or at room temperature with whipped or ice cream. Keep pie, covered, at room temperature for a day, or refrigerate for up to four.

Cook's Note: To make the dough in a food processor: Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in the bowl of the processor. Add a 1/4 cup of the butter and pulse until it resembles fine cornmeal. Add the remaining butter and pulse until the butter is in small pea-sized pieces. Beat the egg and 3 tablespoons of the water together, add and pulse 1 to 2 times, but don't let the dough form into a ball in the machine (see photo). If the dough is dry add pulse in the other tablespoon of water. Remove the blade and turn dough onto a large, sheet of plastic film. Use the sides of the film to bring the dough together, then wrap tightly to chill.

Busy Bakers' Tips: The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. The pie can be fully formed, except for brushing with egg and dusting with sugar, and frozen. Place the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes, to harden it slightly, and then double wrap it with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, unwrap the pie and brush it with egg and sprinkle with sugar. If baking from the frozen state, following baking temperatures above, the pie may need to bake slightly longer at 375 degrees F, about 1 hour 25 minutes.

For a different finish, top with several slices of sharp cheddar cheese, and melt under the broiler for 2 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household