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First off, you should always step into the kitchen ready to be creative and with an excited and positive attitude ๐Ÿ™‚ It brings a little something extra to the table – trust me, I’ve seen the difference. When I am frustrated and just want to get the baking/cooking over with, the food never tastes as good as when I’m joyful and want the people I’m serving to be joyful also ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s begin with the APPLE PIE:

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(I should first tell you that I mixed 2 recipes together, so results may vary!)

From edible Los Angeles Summer 2009 edition no. 5 (I will write notes of mine underneath in bold):
Basic flaky pastry
Yields enough pastry for a 9-inch two-crusts pie

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • 3 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

My side notes

  • For salt, I put very little because I’m not a huge fan of being able to taste the salt in my baked goods, so I just took the salt-shaker and shook a little bit out.
  • For butter and shortening, I just put a total of 7 tbsp (together) – I don’t like having too much butter or shortening in my baked goods either (it makes it healthier too)
  • Lemon juice – I didn’t use it, and it was fine, but I high recommend always having a lemon handy when you cook or bake! You’re bound to need it.

Directions (Side notes in bold and parentheses)

In a mixing bowl combine the first three ingredients. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, and add it to the dried ingredients. Work quickly and lightly with your fingertips. Add the vegetable shortening and continue working the flour and fat together. The mixture should look like small peas. (So, because I was in a hurry I melted my butter and shortening together and then poured it over the dry ingredients.) After, combine egg yolk, 1 tbsp ice water and 1 tbsp lemon juice in a glass. Stir to comine. Add this to dried ingredients, pinching the dough to combine, gradually add more water, one tbsp. at a time, just until the dough begins to cling togethe rin clumps. The dough will tell you when you’ve added enough water. It should feel pliable, like clay – neither stick nor powderry dry. Form the dough into a ball, place on a sheet of wax paper, press it down 2 inches high, then wrap and refrigerate for about 20 min to relax the gluten. (Because I used another recipe, with this one, I didn’t really follow the directions they gave me… I combined everything together – dry ingredients and the butter/shortening, then I let it sit for a bit and then poured in the yolk and water. Slowly, I mixed everything together with a large wooden spoon, and after I had enough water, I kneaded the dough. Because I was in a hurry, I didn’t have as much time to refrigerate it for so long, but it still worked out pretty well.)

Then I took the apple mixture from this website under Theresa Bledscoe:

Apple Mixture (from Crunch Caramel Apple Pie Recipe)-

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 cups of thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples
  • 1 cups packed brown sugar

My side notes

  • Used less salt (like the above for the pastry)
  • For apples – I love Gala apples, so whatever suits you ๐Ÿ™‚

Stir together sugar, floud, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add apple slices and gently toss until well coated. (When it came to coated the apple slices, I actually cut the slices up into smaller pieces and mixed it in with a large wooden spoon.)

Final set of directions – how I did it:

I took the dough out of the fridge and divided it into 2/3 and 1/3. The first 2/3 of the dough is for the 9-in pie pan, and the 1/3 is for the top layer. First I rolled flat the 2/3 dough and intoย  a flat disc about an inch or more bigger than the pan, then I took the disc and gently with my fingers fit it into the pan making sure to have a little extra left on the outside. I poured in the apple mixture evenly. I rolled out the remaining dough and cut in up into thin long pieces and weaved it across the pie to have a criss-cross pattern. Finally, I took the edges and folded them into the pie to secure the top criss-crossed layer, and used a fork to make a pattern around the pie tin.

Before baking it, I took the remaining egg white from the flaky pastry and used a brush to coat the pie top. Then, I placed it into the oven – baked at 375 degreess for 25 min.

Here’s what I did wrong…

I forgot to wrap it in foil first, for the first 25 min, and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 25-30 min. So make sure you do that!

If my directions or notes are unclear, let me know, and email me (ainsley.cheng@gmail.com) or leave me comments with questions or concerns. I’ve found multiple ways to subsitute things if you don’t like putting in egg or milk or butter etc. Just let me know!

Comeย  back for more tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’ll have the fruit tart recipe up!)

XOXO,

Ainsley

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Today someone reminded me of the understanding of “perspective” and “point of view,” and somehow it got me thinking about how cooking and baking also have both a perspective and point of view. There is the creator of the food and then the consumer. Before I began experimenting in the kitchen as of late, I never really thought about how the cook or chef or even my mother (who usually cooks for me) felt about the food they brought to the table. My simple mind always just said, “Hey, as long as it’s edible, it’s all good.” Naive? Most definitely. There’s so much more that goes into the dishes that my mouth so greedily devours – the love, passion, joy, effort, energy, time, sweat, and most of all, the concern for the people who will be eating your creations. It’s like the artiste and his masterpiece and the composer and his song. It’s really that incredible. Unfortunately, sometimes “perspective” is overlooked, and their very being that went to the food is forgotten.

and now, MOST IMPORTANTLY

What I have been baking/cooking:

From top to bottom, left to right: Double-layered, honey-cinnamon frosting and hazelnut cinnamon chocolate cake (finished product); Baked cheese, bacon, mushroom, and asparagus dish (before); Baked cheese, bacon, mushroom, and asparagus dish (after); Bacon wrapped asparagus (front); Cheese covered mushrooms (back); Apple pie with weaved cover (finished product); and fruit tart with a simple clear glaze and melt chocolate layer in the middle (finished product)

For recipes – I will be back ๐Ÿ™‚

Everything is homemade – crust, frosting, and all, so get excited to be able to do it yourself too! If I can do it, you can too!

Good night lovelies!

Come back for more soon!

XOXO,
Ainsley