March 19, 2010

Julie & Julia

I decided to watch "Julie and Julia"; a movie inspired by two separate but true stories. One, of how Julia Child became the famous French cook book writer for the American woman. And two, of how a woman named Julie took Mrs. Child's cookbook and turned it into a yearlong adventure that would change her life forever. Julie went through the cookbook, and day-by-day cooked each and every one of the recipes- all 524 of them, in just 365 days!

Personally, I wouldn't be able to give myself the same challenge simply because Julia Child was definitely not a vegetarian. J However, the movie did inspire to me to challenge myself in the realm of cooking, baking to be exact. Since my new year's resolution was to create balance in my life, I think it's time to step out of my comfort zone and try the one thing that my mom has been trying to get me to do on my own for years. Bake her famous apple pie!

Now don't get too excited- I'm no Julia, Julie or even my mom for that matter! But, I did travel home for the holidays, where I eagerly assisted Mom in making the apple pie for our family. I even got her to let me post her famous recipe.

Pate Brisee- Pie Crust:

2 ½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter -- chilled

¼ - ½ cup ice water

1. Using a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Then add the chilled butter, in 1in. pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

2. Add ice water in 1 tablespoon at a time through feed tube, pulsing in between each time. Once the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; it's done. To test texture, squeeze a small amount together: If it doesn't stick together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

NOTE : When making the dough, make sure the butter is very cold. Handle the dough as little as possible. If you handle it too much it will result in tough dough that's difficult to roll out.

4. Since our pie-dough recipe yields two single crusts (1 for the bottom and 1 for the top), divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a flat disk before wrapping it in plastic and chilling. This will make it easier to roll out each crust into a perfect circle. Chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Maple Apple Pie Filling:

All-purpose flour, for dusting

4 lb Apples, Granny Smith or other tart apple

1 Lemon- juiced

¾ cup Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large egg yolk

1 Tablespoon Organic sugar, for sprinkling

1 Pate Brisee Recipe (2-Crusts )

1. Heat oven to 400°. Place ½ of the pate brisee (1 chilled disk) on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out to a 12-inch-diameter circle, brush off excess flour; roll dough around rolling pin, and lift it over a deep-dish pie pan. Line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners. Trim dough so that it hangs over pie plate by about ¼ inch. Roll out remaining dough (the other chilled disk) to a 10-inch-diameter circle. Transfer dough round to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate both crusts.

2. Peel and core apples, then cut into ¼ -inch-thick slices and place in bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Then add maple syrup and cinnamon to bowl of apples.

3. Divide butter between 2 large skillets, and melt over medium-high heat. Divide apples between skillets, and cook, stirring often, until the apples are golden and coated in syrup but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator; transfer cooked apples to prepared pie pan, letting apples mound in center. Whisk egg yolk with 2 tablespoons water to make egg glaze, and brush glaze on edge of dough. Center the rolled pie dough over apples. Tuck edges of top crust between pie pan and bottom crust. Using your fingers, gently press crusts together along edge, and crimp.

5. Cut several steam vents into crust. Brush surface with egg glaze, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon organic sugar.

6. Bake pie until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until the crust is crisp and the apples are soft, 45 to 50 minutes more. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

Let me know if you try the recipe, I'm sure my mom would love to hear your thoughts! And check back on Friday for some yummy soup recipes, just in time for National Soup Month.




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