Saturday, April 27, 2013

Recipe: Apple Cranberry Walnut Pie (AKA "Best pie you ever made")

Apologies for the crappy Droid pic.
We dug into this bad-boy FAR too quickly for me to snap a good picture!

I haven't posted many recipes lately.  Mostly because I haven't been cooking much lately.  Fact is, I've been too busy getting dirty in the garden and/or just plain lazing outside and enjoying our AMAZINGLY good weather!

Anyhoooo...  I decided it was time to bake SOMETHING, and the apples were threatening to overtake my kitchen sooooo...  How 'bout Apple Pie?  I Googled a bit and got a few ideas...  Apple pie is good, but... What else can I add?  I ransacked the cupboards and found a couple of (partial) bags of glazed walnuts and Craisins and a jar of my home made Cranberry-apple Jam - Hey!!!  I Googled some more and - while I thought that 'Apple+Cranberry+Walnut+Pie' must be a New and Unique Flavor Combination - "Not so, Kemosabe!"

I found lots of Apple-Cranberry-Walnut "Cobbler" recipes. But I wanted Pie so this is what I came up with...

And, I should note, that Hubbie has declared that this is "The Best Pie you EVER made."  With a recommendation like that, how can you POSSIBLY go wrong???

QT's Cranberry Apple Walnut Pie
(with low-sugar substitutions noted)
Yield one 9" deep-dish pie

  • Appx 2 lbs of tart baking apples (this worked out to roughly 6 medium-sized Granny Smiths for me)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Half-pint of Cranapple Jam (ver 1.0)  (or half-a-can of whole-berry cranberry sauce)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup glazed walnuts
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or substitute Splenda or C&H Light*)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (or substitute Splenda Brown Sugar Blend*)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 2 TBS butter, softened
  • crusts for 9" two-crust deep-dish pie
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • Coarse granulated sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. Wash, peel, core and chop the apples into 1/2" chunks (appx)
  3. Drizzle a little lemon juice on top of the apples as you're chopping and dumping them into a large bowl (keeps 'em from browning)
  4. Dump in a jar of Cranberry Apple Jam.  Or, if you don't have jam (and I realize you may not!), you can increase the quantity of apples and/or dried cranberries. Orrrr you could toss in  half a can of store-bought cranberry sauce (:::GASP:::) and increase the spices accordingly...
  5. Dump in your dried cranberries and glazed walnuts (mine were store-bought from the produce aisle: I found a couple of brands: Fresh Express or Emerald) (Or I'm sure you can find a recipe for glazed Walnuts if you ask Google nicely!)
  6. Add sugar, spices and flour.  Mix gently until everything is well-coated.  Give it a taste and adjust as you see fit!
  7. Pile the pie-filling into the bottom crust (Yep, I'm still using frozen pre-made crusts).  Mound it up in the center.  Cut up your butter and blorp a few blops on top of the filling.
  8. Moisten the edge of the bottom crust with your finger, dipped in water.  Unroll the top crust and place it on top.  Trim and crimp the pie crusts together.  Cut a vent hole and a few slits in the top.
  9. Optional: If you want a shiny sprinkly crust: Whisk an egg-white with about a TBS of water and brush it on top of the crust (do not cover the vent holes or slits), then sprinkle with coarse granulated sugar.
  10. Bake at 425* for appx 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown**.
  11. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
*Notes on using sugar substitutes:  Like jam, I find that pies "perform" much better if you've got at least some sugar in it - otherwise it doesn't have the right texture (I'm not fond of "soupy" pies!).  I generally try to cut-back to roughly 1/3 of what the original recipe called for (in "real" sugar), and then "fill-in" with granulated Splenda or Stevia. And I almost-never end-up with the same quantity of sweetener than what the original recipe called for (but I don't like Super-Sweet stuff).

**Notes on baking times:  I use a microwave/convection combo oven, so your cooking times/temps may vary (but probably not by much - to be honest!).  Just keep an eye on your pie is all I'm sayin'!

Final notes on this recipe (in general), this is one of those instances where I was tossing things together and not necessarily paying SUPER close attention to what I was doing.  Then, I scribbled my notes down, from memory, afterward.  In other words: Consider some of these measurements to be "approximate." (i.e. the original-original apple pie recipe I started with called for 3# of apples - which was  waaaaay too much, so I "guesstimated" it down.  And I still have a plastic container of pie-guts in the fridge!).  Feel free to adjust as needed!

I plan to make this pie again, next week, when my Aunt comes to visit.  Next time, I'll pay closer attention and write it down as I go! (Heck, maybe even take a better picture of it next time - HEY!)

Pie in the oven
I got CRAZY with mounding the fruit in the center and it barely even goozed!

And yes, it was AMAZINGLY delicious!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seedling Madness - Pictures!

Seedling population got reduced by half today...

Here are the pictures - before the "Mini-Master-Gardener's-Sale!"

Note to self: Vining plants with swirly tendrils should NOT be grown right next to tomatoes!

I don't think we planted enough tomatoes!

Drowning in maters!

Divvying up the spoils!

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Official: I am Sick of Seedlings!

So much so, in fact, I don't even feel like posting pictures!

Suffice it to say, the vast majority of them did extremely well.  I think I ended up with over 100 x 3" square pots of Veggie Seedlings.  I'll post the final tally after Friend-P and I get together and divvy them up.

So, for about the last 2-3 weeks, the babies got moved outside full-time.  They're still in their little pots in seedling flats, and they still need daily watering.  There were a couple of nights where temps dipped back into the 40's (and Finnyknits aka Indie-Farms posted a warning on Facebook - Thanks Finny!) so on those nights, they got dragged back into the greenhouse...

No more!  I am sick to death of dragging seedling flats in and out of the greenhouse twice daily!

In the meantime, the raised beds have been Tested and Amended.  I'm just waiting for the temps to TRULY stabilize, and the soil to warm-up, before I stick 'em in the ground.  And, of course, I have WAY more seedlings than I have real estate - so I'll be pawning some off on friends and neighbors.  And whatever I don't give away...?  Well, I'm thinkin' "Garage Sale!" - post some signs over near Home Depot and see if I can't "downsize" a bit!!!

And I think I've pretty-much decided that yes, I am going to do this again next year - only I'm going to focus on more quantity and fewer varieties - with the express intention of selling them in springtime.  I actually really did enjoy the "Hang-Out in the Greenhouse" aspects of seed-starting back in February-March - ANYTHING to get me out of the house, right?!

Another Crazy Idea - which I have shared with Friend-P since she is a Woman of Action - maybe we'll start some 6-pack assortments of herbs for a "Windowsill Herb Garden."  And maybe make some nice hand-built ceramic pots for growing said Windowsill Herb Garden.  Seems like a nice Mother's Day Gift kind of idea...

Anyhoooooo...  I know it's been awhile since I checked-in here - so I figured I'd scribble a quick post so you wouldn't think I'd died or anything!!!  For now, I am going to sit here, enjoying the 90* temps (Yayyyy!!!!!), sipping a margarita at our brandy new (just-like-the-old-one-only-newer) Tiki Bar....

Me = Happy :-D


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