Friday, October 23, 2009

Alternative Apple Pies

Alright... 'tis the season for apple creations, and well, there are only so many apple pies a girl can eat. I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite alternative apple pie recipes and if anyone has their own apple pie alternative, I would LOVE for you to share it with me.

Apple Torte

You will need various ingredients

For the CRUST
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 Stick) or Crisco
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
(I usually make two batches of crust at one, and buy the Crisco containers that come in three packs, I use one of the wrapped Crisco Vegetable Oil packages and double the rest of the recipe)

- 8 ounces cream cheese (1 Package)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (not firmly packed, just a fill the measuring cup w/out packing down)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg if large or extra large - you may need two eggs if using medium eggs

- 3-4 apples, any kind, I prefer MacIntosh or another soft apple
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

And then enact the various steps

1 - preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2 - find a pie pan - 9 inch for a more shallow torte, 8 inch for a deeper dish torte
3 - mix the ingredients for the crust together, you can start this with a spoon/mixer, but it's usually just easier to get in there with your hands, you'll end up having to finish it up that way anyway
4 - roll out the pie crust, and place in your pie pan(s)
5 - blind bake the pie crust for 10 minutes (blind baking is setting the pie crust in the oven with either pie weights or some wax paper and some dry kidney beans and then baking by itself e.g. w/out filling)
6 - mix together the filling ingredients until creamy and smooth - while you can do this by hand, it is tiresome and takes forever - about three minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high should do it
7 - pull crusts from blind baking - let cool while you perform step 8
8 - core, peel and slice your apples, i always make sure to slice mine VERY thin, cause that's the way I like it, but slices can be made to taste
9 - put apples in bowl, mix with cinnamon and sugar
10 - pour filling into pie crust(s)
11 - arrange apple mixture over the filling
12 - scatter toasted almonds on top of the apple mixture
13 - bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour
14 - refrigerate for at least 1 hour - then serve

1 - always use REAL/PURE vanilla extract in the filling, imitation can be substituted for the crust, where you won't really know the difference, but you will notice in the filling
2 - purchase pre-sliced almonds, to toast them, just throw them in a non-stick skillet and toast on the stove-top for 2-3 minutes
3 - have your ingredients at room temperature when starting - trying to work with cold butter/crisco and cream cheese is a nightmare
4 - if desired caramel sauce (store bought or homemade) can be drizzled over this torte to make it extra-special wonderful ... in the words of a former roommate "I'm just sayin"


Crispy Pear Crisp

Again, you will need various ingredients...

- 6 pears - sliced, my favorite are Bartlett
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (which will be divided)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup regular oats
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 - Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2 - Toss pear slices with lemon juice
3 - Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon stirring with a whisk or a fork
4 - Add the cornstarch/sugar mix to the pears and lemon - toss until coated
5 - Place the pear mixture into a baking pan
6 - Mix the flour, brown sugar and the other teaspoon of cinnamon until combined
7 - Add the chilled butter and mix until the mixture turns crumbly
8 - Mix in the oats and walnuts, stir until combined
9 - Sprinkle the flour/butter/oat mixture over the pears in the baking pan
10 - Cook for 40 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the topping is golden brown
11 - Let cool for 15-20 minutes, serve warm

1 - Steps 6-8 can be performed in a food processor or blender to speed things up
2 - Serve with ice cream - vanilla or maple being the best choices.

Okay friends - your turn - share your recipes!

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