Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust
A few weeks ago we went to the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. We love going to this area for weekend or overnight trips because it is just a few hours away and there are some great little wineries tucked amongst the hills. I came across the apple festival after our friend Sylvia told us she wanted to go apple picking like she did in upstate NY when she was a kid. There was no actual apple picking at the festival but there was food (including homemade ice cream which Lillian loved) and multiple stages of performers. Our favorite was the bluegrass stage in the old train station. They had a piece of plywood on the floor with some sawdust for dancing and Lillian cut a rug for quite some time, after she got over her shyness. And, before we left, we bought a huge bag of Golden Delicious apples. We ate many of them whole and made apple sauce and this pie with the rest. The pie was the best apple pie we have ever had!
Cornmeal Crust Dough
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 T sugar
- 3/4 t salt
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup chilled shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 8 to 10 T chilled apple cider
- Stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a mixer bowl. Cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles small peas (I used the dough hook in my mixer).
- Gradually add the apple cider one tablespoon at a time.
- Gather the dough into 2 flat disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Apple Pie Filling
- 4 1/2 lbs. apples (the original recipe called for 2 1/4 lbs of Granny Smith and 2 1/4 lbs of Braeburn apples. We used the Golden Delicious and a few Granny Smiths we already had)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 T apple jelly
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1/2 t ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Cornmeal Crust Dough
- 3 T sugar
- 1 T butter, cut into pieces
- 1 t sugar
- Peel and core apples. Cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Place in large bowl and stir in the flour, jelly, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and sugar. Let stand 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.
- Roll out one disk of dough on a well-floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness, or 11 inches wide. (You can do this on wax paper so it doesn't stick to the counter, I didn't have wax paper when I did this one so I sprayed the counter with non-stick spray and then sprinkled flour).
- Gently press the dough into a 9 inch pie plate.
- Spoon the apples into the crust, packing tightly and mounding in the center. Pour all but one tablespoon of the remaining juices over the apples. Sprinkle the apples with 3 Tablespoons of sugar and dot with butter.
- Roll out the remaining dough disk and place over the filling. Fold the edges under, sealing to the bottom crust and crimp. Brush the top of the pie with the reserved juices from the apples. Place the pie on a jelly-roll pan. Cut 4-5 slits in the top of the pie.
- Bake at 425 degrees on the lower oven rack for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and transfer the pie to the middle rack. Bake for 35 minutes. Cover loosely with foil to prevent excessive browning and bake 30 more minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced through the slits in the crust.
- Let cool before serving.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes
So VeggieDaddy's birthday was last Wednesday. Don't you hate a mid-week birthday? But, it did work out well this year when he was out the night before at a work dinner so the girls and I could make his birthday cake. The girls wanted to make cupcakes of course and he wanted cheesecake (his favorite) so we did cheesecake cupcakes! They were delicious. And it is very hard for us to finish a cheesecake on our own so I took some of the cupcakes to co-workers who also had birthdays last week!
Graham Cracker Crust:
- Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave.
- In a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs with 1/8 cup of sugar. (You can buy graham cracker crumbs already crushed up at the grocery store which saves some time)
- Add the melted butter to the graham cracker mixture and stir together.
- Press about one tablespoon-full into individual cupcake cups. Foil cupcake cups would work best but we did the regular paper kind with birthday decorations on them and that worked fine.
- Don't pre-bake.
- 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 t vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla
- Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sugar and vanilla with a mixer until well blended.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until blended.
- Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, pumpkin and spices.
- Bake 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees, until firm but not cracking.
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
- Mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla, and spoon this mixture over the cupcakes. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool. Makes 18-24 cupcakes.
Slow Cooker Meatless Guiness Stew
This beef version of this recipe appeared in our local paper last week and I thought it would be a nice treat for VeggieDaddy on his birthday. Our plans for his birthday changed and we ended up not making the stew until yesterday. Yesterday was a drizzly day here so this nice hearty stew was perfect - we made the beef version which VeggieDaddy shared with our good friends, and this meatless version, which the girls and I ate.
- 1 package (8 oz) Veat Chick'N Free Nuggets (Seitan would be good as well)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup Guiness Extra Stout
- 1 can vegetable broth
- 1 t parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb red potatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/2 rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 sheets of puff pastry, cut into quarters.
- If using the veat or some other frozen product, thaw in the microwave. Toss with the flour and some salt and pepper.
- In a 4 quart slow cooker set on high, cook the onions and garlic until softened.
- Stir the Guiness into the onions. Add the meatless chunks, reserving the remaining flour.
- Add the vegetable broth and spices, and stir.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, parsnip and rutabaga on top and sprinkle the remaining flour over the top. Stir together.
- Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, until the vegetables are cooked. If the liquid has not thickened, remove the lid for the last 1/2 hour.
- About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, bake the puff pastry at 400 degrees until golden brown. Split the pastry in half lengthwise. Place 1/2 in the bottom of a bowl, spoon stew over and top with the other half of pastry.
Shout Out to NC Wines and Cheese
I'll end this marathon post with a little shout out to our local cheesemaker and our favorite NC winery. After we went to the apple festival in Wilkesboro, we stayed overnight at a hotel with an indoor pool (one step down from DisneyWorld in our kids' minds even though it was in the middle of nowhere - they are so easy) and went to the Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery the next day. Their Sangiovese was the first North Carolina wine I discovered that I really enjoyed, and their new tasting room and building transports you to Tuscany. We sat outside on the patio and drank a tasty Pinto Grigio while the girls frolicked on the grass and checked out the vines, which were heavy with the grapes ready to harvest. It was heavenly!
And then there is our favorite local cheese company - the Hillsborough Cheese Company. They sell their cheese every Saturday at our Farmer's Market and we have become regulars. We have a constant supply of goat cheese and feta and I picked up an aged gouda yesterday that I am hoping to have this afternoon with a glass of Raffaldini Pinot Grigio while the girls play in the yard. We might not have any grapevines in our yard, but sunshine and good wine and cheese mixed with my kids' laughter will be perfect!