First day of Fall – spiced apple pie time!

Apple pie-Sept2014-5So, Fall has finally arrived. Cooler temps, crunchy leaves, intense blue skies, vibrant colors, and apples, apples and more delicious apples…so it is definitely time to break out the rolling pin and have some autumnal goodness.

Now, did you know that the Scots Irish are said to have introduced Apples to the Americas when they first landed in the Londonderry, New Hampshire? Yet, what could be more classically American than an apple pie and to what credit to the Ulster Scots?  I gladly tell ye now!

Known as apple tarts in Northern Ireland, now is the time to start stocking up the freezer as Fall apple harvest is beginning and we always enjoy in season produce, right?  A wee reminder though, when freezing pies, do not slit the top of the crust or bake; wait until you are ready, then prepare. Not a weight watchers recommendation by any means but it is always best served with fresh whipped cream, and why not…after all it’s the first day of fall, so enjoy!

Apple pie-Sept2014-2

(Basic crust recipe)

• 8 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
• pinch salt
• 6 oz. (¾ cups) shortening
• 7 Tbsp. iced water
• beaten egg and milk (to glaze)
• 1 tsp granulated sugar (to dust)

 

(Apple pie filling ingredients)
• 4 large tart apples (5 cups pealed, cored, and thinly sliced)
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 2 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish butter (melted)
• 5 ¼ oz (¾ cup) fine granulated sugar
• 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
• good pinch ground cloves
• dash of salt
• 1 Tbsp granulated sugar (to sprinkle over baked crust)

How to make it:
1. Using a pastry cutter or food processor combine the flour, salt and the shortening by pulsing together for about 12-15 seconds or until the mixture comes together. Add the ice water until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl.
2. Cut the dough in half with a knife and work each piece with palm of your hands to make two circular balls. Gently press down using the palms of hands to form two circular discs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
3. Next, prepare the filling by tossing the prepared apples in lemon juice and melted butter. Stir in the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
4. When ready, roll out the first pastry ball on a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin to form a 12” circle. Gently ease the pastry into a 9” pie plate, folding any excess pastry under and trim.
5. Fill the pastry with the prepared apple mixture.
6. Roll the remaining pastry ball to form another 12” circle and place it on top of the fruit, folding any excess pastry under and then trim with a sharp knife. For a fluted edge place your thumb against the inside of the pastry and press the dough around the thumb as if to pinch, using the other thumb and index finger or a fork to seal the edges. Cut a generous slit in the center to release air during baking.
7. Brush with a little beaten egg and milk.
8. Bake at 350° F on a foil-lined baking sheet (in case of juice spilling) for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

Judie the Irish Foodie

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Apple Creams for afternoon tea please

Apple Creams

Fall Irish favorites for afternoon tea

This Fall I am planning on hosting two afternoon tea events at Whole Foods Salud! Cooking School in Alpharetta and at J Banks Design in Hilton Head.  And, in gleeful preparation for my classes, I have been creating, inventing and remembering!

Growing up in Ireland there was never a family afternoon tea or late night church supper where apple creams were not on the table. Yep, humble apple creams…

The fall brings the abundance of apples and delicious pots of apple sauce boiling in kitchen pots. This pastry recipe belonged to my grandmother and I brought it back this summer, hand written on an ancient scrap of paper. The texture of the creams are rather more like shortbread than pastry and are ideal for fruit fillings such as apple, pumpkin or pears. Yes, these versatile little shells can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Yum…and more yum.

sweet apple creams

perfect one bite for afternoon tea

Grans’s semolina pastry shells

  • ½ cup (4 oz) unsalted Irish Kerrygold butter
  • 2 Tbsp (2 oz) fine granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (4 oz) plain flour
  • ½ cup (2 oz) semolina ground flour
  • Pinch of salt

How to make the pastry

  1. Put the flours, caster sugar, salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Cut the butter in to small pieces and pulse until the butter is incorporated to the consistency of breadcrumbs.  Knead together to combine.
  3. Roll in to a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  5. Roll out pastry on to a lightly floured surface. Using a round pastry cutter cut the shells and place in to tart tins.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and leave them in the tin to cool for a few minutes before easing out on to a cooling rack.
  7. Cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

Make time for tea this week and share the joy of Fall!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Back to school Crispy Caramel Chocolate treats

Chocolate Rice Krispy Squares

Childhood favorites

After returning from my final Irish tour dining at the tables of Ireland’s finest chefs I am inspired and invigorated…but hey, its now back to reality, and as a busy Mom, it’s time to stock up the tins for my boys.

I can remember coming home from school and going straight to the fridge for something homemade back in the day, and y’know my boys just do the same thing, even with their back pack strapped on just looking for something good to snack on. So, what to do?

The great thing is that these tasty bars are super fast to make and keep for a couple of weeks in an air tight container in the refrigerator (that’s if they last that long from the ravaging hordes that is!!).  So, give these a go and see if your younglings will thank you!

Caramel Crispy Treats (Mars bars or Milky way call it your way)

  • 1 8 oz bag of fun size Milky Way bars or 9 (2.05 oz bars)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
  • 6 cups rice toasted rice cereal
  • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

How to make them

  1. Grease a 13″x 9″ size pan with butter.
  2. Break the fun size bars up with fingers a little and add to double boiler with butter to melt on low heat stirring together until smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal. Press in to prepared pan.
  4. Melt the chocolate over the double boiler stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and spread over the top of the bars.
  5. Let cool and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm and cut in to squares.

Keep your tins filled with love!

Judith the Irish foodie