Thursday, November 27, 2014

Apple Pie Crust made with Vodka and Whole Wheat White Flour

Wow, the crust dough substituting Vodka for 1/2 of the liquid was very easy to handle. Especially since I used a flour higher in gluten with the potential to make his crust as hard as a rock, but he Vodka did its job from keeping the gluten from forming, incredible!

I think for a regular recipe, the crust would be incredibly flaky. for me reduced-fat as low as one can go and still have an edible crust, the Vodka helped much to reduce the gluten in this pie. Cooking the apples on a very slow heat, about 140F, to remove some of the liquid and concentrate the apple flavor was a terrific idea. This is the heaviest apple pie I have every made. Heating the apple slices on the stove in a Dutch Oven worked great!

Please note their are no sweeteners or thickeners among the apples in this pie,nothing but apples and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon as we love it! I cooked a mixture of apples including Melrose, Mcowen, Wiesap, etc. together. Some apples turned to a lumpy sauce, while other were tender and held a bit of the apple slice shape.

In this pie I used King Arthur's Flour, white whole wheat flour,which has a bit of a higher gluten content than most flours. I recently switched to white whole wheat as am trying to get away from the standard unbleached flours.

I prefer glass pie pans as no problems with acids and I like to see what is going on in the baking of the bottom crust. I baked this apple pie on a heated cookie sheet.

I started at 425F and after maybe 15 minutes, reduced the heat to 375F and baked it until it looked just right, some light brown on the bottom crust and the same light brown color all over the pie crust.

More Thanksgiving 2014

The top photo is my dinner plate for today. I have a temporary crown in a premolar as the back of the tooth broke down to the bone. I planned on making only soft foods today for Thanksgiving. I did not make my usual fresh cranberry-orange relish, fresh cranberries remain in the freezer. The stuffing is not our usual crispy crust type, but as soft and flavorful as possible. The turkey tenders are just that, very tender turkey, no need to cut with a fork.

Our appetizer today was tomato soup. My Mom made the best-in-the-world tomato soup from tomatoes from her garden and mine. I can not reproduce her soup, although I saw her work on removing the skin and seeds from the tomatoes with a piece of equipment I inherited. It does not look like fun to me. She would carefully place each bit of tomato puree in a plastic bag and freeze it very flat, so that she could fit many into her freezer space in her refrigerator. Thanksgiving was my Mom's favorite, the holiday we would also spend with cousins and I miss that very much.

While my apples are sweating, keeping them around 140F or below in a Dutch oven, softening them up before placing in a new, homemade pie crust. The pie crust I am trying today, replaces 1/2 of the water with 80 proof Vodka, to see if I can stop the gluten from forming. If I ever needed soft everything, this is the year. Should it be good, the recipe will end up in one of my upcoming cookbooks, but no fear, if really good, I will post to this blog.

I am not using expensive Vodka in the pie crust like Grey Goose, but Smirnoff, which was less than half the price. I hope the Vodka does not leave a flavor in the pie crust? Guess it is bye until the pie is finished as they say . . .

"Time to bake the donuts."

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Since my Mom died 3 years ago, we go to the Cleveland Zoo for Thanksgiving, but I think it is a bit too cold and snowy for us to go today.

I am still testing recipes for my cookbook on desserts and am trying a low-fat pie crust today subsituting 1/2 of the water in the crust with Vodka to try to get a flakier crust to stop the gluten from forming?

Pictures coming later as I just put the turkey tenders and stuffing in the oven. Since I am in the middle of dental work, everything has to be soft this year. I put white, whole wheat flour on the tenders as thick it might thicken up a bit as my husband is a "gravy lover." He will eat almost anything as long as I can come up with a really great gravy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coconut Bars --- Cleveland Bars

My husband was helping me test recipes for my upcoming cookbooks. The coconut bar recipe is more of what my sister calls "assembly" as one need not bake the cake used, but can buy a pound cake.

The recipe is simple and includes Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and coconut that is flakes thin in a coffee
grinder. For those that prefer larger pieces of coconut, this works fine too. We prefer unsweetened
coconut as the chocolate syrup is sweet enough for our tastes.

Hope you enjoy the coconut bars, if you want a more detailed recipe or have any comments, email
me per the side bar email signup. The important part of the recipe is to keep things separate, keep the
chocolate utensils separate from the ones that spread the coconut on the chocolate-covered cake.

Also, if the cake if frozen, it will be easier to handle and will not fall apart, while it is covered in
chocolate syrup and coconut. Coconut bars freeze well!