Chicken Milanese

I’ve been wanting to use marscapone for a long time – an Italian cheese similar to cream cheese, but more decadent and luxurious. In order to use mascarpone, I needed to find a recipe ridiculously delicious in order to justify eating it. After all, it is the definition of rich. Enter Chicken Milanese.

The recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis, whose prior recipes have come out less than stellar for me. While that element alone made me skeptical, the dish sounded so easy and so tasty…I couldn’t resist. I’m so glad I could not, and hopefully you can’t too. I substituted onions for fennel because I realized I am not a huge fan of fennel. The onions really complement the mascarpone and grape tomatoes and if you use the sweet variety like I did, it will further help make this dish both sweet and savory. Need an entertaining-worthy dish? I think you’ve found it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (can use plain or whole wheat)
  • 2/3 cup grated fresh parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • pinch garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • coarse salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (can also use 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Create a dipping station to bread the chicken: take three shallow bowls or plates. Add the flour to one, the eggs to another and the bread crumbs to a third. Combine the Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic powder with the bread crumbs. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Next, dredge the chicken first in the flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs. Allow any excess egg to drip off before coating in the bread crumb mixture.  Press lightly to adhere if any crumbs are not sticking.

Place chicken cutlets on baking sheets and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once after 8 minutes. Check to make sure chicken is opaque throughout.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cherry or grape tomatoes, salt, garlic and dried basil. If using fresh basil add at the end. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. Remove the pan from heat and add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until mixture is creamy and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken on serving dishes and top with tomato mascarpone sauce. Enjoy immensely.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have one minor change for the song “My Favorite Things” – chocolate chip cookies would be in there, not crisp apple strudel. Although, I do love a good apple strudel, I usually only care for it in the fall. Chocolate chip cookies is even the same amount of syllables. It just works.

What sets these chocolate chip numbers apart is the sprinkling of fleur de sel. A little salt with my chocolate? Why yes please, and I am pretty sure you will agree. It adds that something you didn’t even know you were missing in your chocolate chip cookies. Note before you start to make these- the dough needs to refrigerate for 24 hours! I hate when recipes give an extended time frame late in the instructions, so I am telling you up front. You know what to expect, and they are worth the wait.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
  • 11 ounces chocolate chips – can use milk chocolate or semi-sweet
  • Fleur de Sel

How To:

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in the vanilla. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients but do not over mix. Add chocolate chips and mix lightly until they are well combined, again taking care to not over mix. When ingredients are incorporated, place a piece of cling on top of the bowl and flip over onto the counter. Huddle up the dough and cover tightly in the cling. Refrigerate for 24 hours – this creates fluffier cookies with better flavor, a super dreamy texture, and a richer taste.

Once you have your dough ready for baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Form dough into roughly 2 tablespoon size balls (size of a ping pong ball), and place on baking sheet. Flatten slightly and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Best enjoyed warm!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Haven’t had enough buffalo sauce in the past few days (i.e. Superbowl mania)? Is there such a thing as enough buffalo sauce? I didn’t think so. I made buffalo chicken sliders because I’m not a fan of wings, and the bones, and the hard work involved. I like eating full bites and wasting no sauce. Let’s be honest, re-invention is fun and sometimes necessary. These sliders are no exception.
Putting the sliders on mini pretzel rolls is quite possibly what took these from a 10 to an 11.  Topped with thin dill pickle slices and a dollop of ranch sauce, and you have the most delicious bite; no bones about it. Really, no bones and they taste like buffalo wings. We also stepped up the ranch sauce by making it thicker than just a dressing. It stuck to the sliders and had a creaminess that goes so well with spice.
Play with the slider mix – you can add blue cheese or gorgonzola, take out the bread crumbs, or add some more spice. Make up your own toppings – coleslaw, blue cheese dressing, cheese…I think I need to make these again, now.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast (you can also use ground chicken thigh or a mix of both)
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Lawry’s seasoning salt, salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s redhot sauce or buffalo sauce, divided
  • pickles, preferably dill, sliced very thin and into 1 inch pieces
  • slider rolls – you can use dinner rolls or pretzel rolls (found at Whole Foods by Pretzilla)
  • cucumber slices, celery and carrot sticks for dipping in additional sauce

for the ranch sauce

  • low-fat or regular ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

How To:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, grated onion, garlic, parsley, panko, worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, and 1/4 cup Frank’s Redhot Sauce. Season with Lawry’s salt, salt and black pepper. Taking about lime size portions of meat, flatten into patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should have about 12-14 sliders. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until sliders are cooked through, about 12 minutes.

While the sliders are baking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the rest of the Frank’s redhot sauce (1/2 cup) and stir until combined. For the ranch sauce, combine the ranch dressing, sour cream and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Set aside. Place cooked sliders in the skillet and flip to get them completely covered. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Split rolls and place sliders on bottom half of each. Top with 2 pickle slices and smooth 1 teaspoon of ranch sauce on top buns. Assemble sliders and serve with cucumber slices, carrot sticks and celery, and additional ranch sauce for dipping.

Homemade Samoa Cookies

I listened to a little Joy Division and made Samoa cookies last night, a la Girl Scouts. It allowed me to reminisce of the days when I was just a girl trying to sell as many boxes of cookies as I could. It also reminded me of the movie Troop Beverly Hills, and what a classic that is. I know my friends Brooke and Lindsay will agree.

Samoa cookies are by far my favorite, but that isn’t to say I would shun a good Thin Mint or Tagalong. I was saddened when I was about to buy some ice cream (low-fat!) with Samoas mixed in, and saw partially hydrogenated fat on the ingredients list. I know food can be made without it, which led me to wonder why couldn’t I make Samoas myself? Which has brought us to this; a fabulous homemade Samoa cookie with all-natural ingredients.

This seriously should have earned an awesome Girl Scout patch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

for the topping

  • 2 cups shredded coconut (I used unsweetened but sweetened will also work)
  • 12 ounces chewy caramels (you can also make your own caramel, which I’ve detailed below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 8 to 12 ounces chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter and sugar mixture at a low speed. Add vanilla and gradually incorporate milk, adding only as much as needed to make the dough come together. If it looks grainy, just use your hands to pull it together. If it still won’t come together, add a tablespoon of milk at a time. The dough should not be extremely sticky. Once your dough has formed a ball, its ready to roll out.

On a floured surface (and with a floured rolling pin), roll out dough in batches to 1/4 inch.  Use a round (suggested – 1 1/2-inch) cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place rounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. I used a toothpick to hand draw inner circles, but you could use a smaller cookie cutter if you have one, or a wide straw. The cookies don’t expand so don’t worry that the hole is going to disappear.

Bake cookies for about 12 minutes; the bottoms will be lightly browned and the tops still pale, but set. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely.

For the topping, preheat oven to 300. Spread the shredded coconut evenly on a baking sheet with sides. Toast for 20 minutes in the oven, stirring every 5 minutes until coconut is golden. Cool on the baking sheet.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a medium saucepan with milk and salt (or follow how-to-make caramel instructions below). Heat over medium-low until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in coconut. Using a dinner knife or a small offset spatula, spread coconut topping on cooled cookies, using about 2 teaspoons per cookie. You can reheat the caramel if it becomes difficult to work with by microwaving it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

The topping will set quickly so you can get to work on the chocolate right away. Place chocolate in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir. Heat again for 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Most bits will melt just by mixing.

Dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate and smooth over with the back of a spoon, also getting off any excess chocolate (yep, just said excess chocolate- I know some of you are cringing). Place on a clean piece of parchment paper. Once finished, place in refrigerator or freezer to finish setting (about 10 minutes).

Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt more chocolate if necessary) into a ziplock bag set in a small glass. This will help you so you can use both hands to get the chocolate into the bag. Snip a bottom corner of the bag and drizzle cookies with chocolate. Allow to set for another several minutes in the refrigerator or freezer, and enjoy! These cookies are also great frozen.

To make your own caramel (which I highly recommend! It’s like a science project):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

How To:

Place cream, butter, and fleur de sel or kosher salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil (everything should be melted together), then remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, swirl sugar, corn syrup, and water together without stirring. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Let boil without stirring until the mixture is a light golden caramel. Take care as mixture will burn very fast after it has reached the golden point, so remove from heat promptly.

Carefully stir in cream mixture- it will bubble up and continue to do so for several minutes, especially with stirring which you can now do.  Place back on heat and let simmer (low to medium-low heat) with a close eye, stirring frequently until caramel registers 255 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. Let the caramel cool slightly, then pour into a heat-safe bowl and add coconut. Continue with steps above to top cookies.

Chicken Meatball Sandwich

I opened a restaurant menu at lunch the other day to see “chicken meatball sandwich” and instead of doing the normal thing when seeing something I want to order, I instead made a mental note [“make for dinner”] and ordered a salad. Sure, part of it was I wanted to share this amazing sandwich with my husband, and part was I wanted to try my hand at making a meatball sandwich, but the bottom line? I wanted to have the leftovers in my fridge at my immediate disposal for the next few days.

I know you are thinking “it’s just a meatball sandwich,” but is there is anything more satisfying? It’s meaty, hearty, and super tasty. Put simply, amazing. I feel like I could eat one every day. Obviously I won’t do that, but it may appear that way for the next few days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
  • garlic powder
  • 1 jar spicy marinara sauce, or sauce of your choice
  • provolone cheese slices
  • hoagie rolls

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. With clean hands, mix ground chicken, bread crumbs, onions, milk, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, and parmesan cheese in a medium bowl, ensuring all ingredients are incorporated. Form into 2 inch round meatballs (makes about 12) and place on cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Bake for about 20 minutes, cutting one open to make sure they are cooked through (no pink).

Heat marinara sauce in a dutch oven or large pan. Add meatballs and let simmer for 20 minutes, or longer. When ready to serve, place 1 to 2 slices provolone cheese on a hoagie roll. Top with three meatballs. Toast in convection oven for 3-5 minutes, or microwave for 20 seconds. Cheese should be melted and bread should be warm. Makes about 4 servings. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Bars

Mmmm cream cheese frosting. Need I say more? Probably, since the title of this post is Carrot Cake Bars. Let’s switch to carrots. They can be sweet; they can be savory. Their bright orange color is enough to brighten up your mid-winter blues. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin A. Put into a batter, the flecks of sunshine create sweetness and add moisture. I find that carrot cakes actually get better as the week goes on. They keep their tender texture and don’t dry out. Must be the magic of carrots (and maybe raisins).

And what’s better, they can be put in cake. CAKE! With cream cheese frosting.

And quite honestly, is there anything dreamier than a moist carrot cake with smooth cream cheese frosting? Both decadent and healthy if done the right way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 chopped walnuts

for the frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (can be low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first seven ingredients (carrot through ricotta cheese) in a large bowl. Add melted butter and brown sugar and mix well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats through walnuts). Stir the carrot mixture into the dry ingredients until fully combined but do not over mix.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan and smooth over with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean).

For the frosting, whip cream cheese (easier if at room temperature), butter, vanilla, and sugar. Once the carrot cake is cool, frost and cut into squares. Take a minute to enjoy the smooth cream cheesiness. Or, just eat a bar or three.

Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles

Swedish meatballs is one of those things I completely forget about until I get an intense craving and its crazy because they are so easy. I should be making them weekly, or freezing and saving them for that day I’m running around everywhere and get home at 7pm. They can be an instant dinner.

I make my version with egg noodles. Traditionally I believe they are served with potatoes. But like beef stroganoff, swedish meatballs are super tasty with wide noodles that sop up all the delicious gravy. I add soy sauce to the gravy not only to give it a richer color (I use chicken broth, which tends to make a very light gravy), but also to give it depth of flavor. Finally, I add shredded carrots – they bump up the vegetable ratio.

I highly recommend Swedish meatballs on a winter night after trudging through snow that leaves you feeling like a Viking.

Ingredients: makes about 20 meatballs

  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled, grated (a cheese grater works great)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground bison, turkey, chicken, pork, or beef
  • 3 tablespoons shredded carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound egg noodles
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 quart (4 cups) broth of your choice (I used chicken)
  • soy sauce, about 3-4 tablespoons
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

How To:

Sauté the grated onion in the butter over medium heat until it turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once onions are cool, mix with breadcrumbs, egg, ground meat, carrots, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and pepper. Use your hands to get ingredients fully mixed. Take tablespoonfuls of meat and roll into meatballs. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over meatballs, lightly coating each one. Bake for 20 minutes or test for doneness by cutting one open. It should be brown throughout.

Boil six cups water for egg noodles. Cook and drain noodles according to package directions while working on the sauce. For the sauce, heat the 5 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted,  slowly whisk in the flour. It should look like a medium beige. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, letting the gravy thicken before adding more liquid. Continue to whisk constantly; you want a smooth and silky gravy. Turn heat to low and add sour cream. Next add meatballs.

To serve, create a bed of egg noodles in each bowl. Add 4-5 meatballs and sauce to each.

Meatballs and sauce can be frozen. Use a glass container so you can pop it in the microwave to defrost for several minutes until both sauce and meatballs can be removed, then place in a skillet to heat through.


Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Muffins

Try saying that three times fast. The first words out of my mouth when biting into one of these were “holy baked donughts!” Because that is what they are, and the exclamation was to express my utter delight in their sweet cinnamony exterior and inner plush pumpkin layer. Perfect for a Thanksgiving morning – guilty tasting while being moderately not bad for you.

And when its fall, I want the flavor of pumpkin to be infused into just about everything. One little bite makes me feel like I went to the cider mill, ate doughnuts, and picked out pumpkins. It’s almost magical I tell you.

Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Muffins Adapted from Everyday Food

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (check out how to make buttermilk in the How To’s section)
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs

for the sugar coating:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 24 mini muffin tins or 12 regular muffin tins (I used a spray oil then floured, you can also use butter). To make the batter, sift together dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl fluff butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture in three parts, interchanging with buttermilk/pumpkin in three parts.  Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, spoon batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick come out clean, about 20 minutes for mini muffin tins, and 25 to 30 minutes for regular muffin tins. Let cool on a wire rack.

When muffins have cooled, combine sugar and cinnamon for coating. Melt butter. Brush butter onto one muffin, dip muffin in cinnamon sugar coating making sure to get all sides. Set on rack. Continue with the rest of the muffins. Serve immediately! Or watch them mysteriously disappear as soon as you set them on the rack to cool.

You can make the muffins ahead of time and coat them just before serving. I found the sugar mixture melted off and the muffins were soggy after 24 hours.

Red Chili

There is nothing better than chili on a colder-than-last-week November day. You know, when it feels colder than it actually is because it was in the 60s all week and now its in the 40s? The typical thing that makes you laugh at yourself come February when you thought 40 degrees was sooo cold.

Getting to the subject, red chili warms and satisfies a fall appetite. This particular recipe is so easy and it only gets better the more you let it sit and simmer. If you put it in the fridge overnight, what you have the next day is a mix so amazing; let’s just say I recommend making a big batch because you’ll want it around for awhile. By the end of “day two, red chili,” you might be thinking “why didn’t I use industrial measurements?” Or, it might be time to try white chicken chili instead. Whatever the case, it makes your fondness for chili grow to the point where you stock your pantry with all the necessary ingredients for that impending cold day.

Red Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions, diced
  • 2 pounds ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can pizza sauce
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • seasoning salt
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • shredded cheese of choice, for garnish
  • sour cream, for garnish
  •  

How To:

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add beef (or chicken or turkey) and break up with wooden spoon. Cook through, adding just a bit of seasoning salt, salt and pepper- you will add more to taste shortly. Once meat is browned, add tomatoes, pizza sauce, beans, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls with garnishes on the side.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

In the words of Gossip Girl, omg. This pie is amazing on so many levels. Buttery crust, salted caramel (better than regular caramel), and soft apples with cinnamon and nutmeg. Oh, and flaked crystals of sugar and salt to pull it all together. Again, omg.

I had a friend in high school who would sprinkle salt on her apple slices. I used to think it was so odd, but now – now I get it. Apples + salt + caramel = best fall pie. If you’ve tried fleur de sel caramels, you will find this pie to be a riff, with a welcome fruit addition that causes you to yell “October is here!!” And if you have not had fleur de sel caramels, I implore you to go get some.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Recipe

the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This can be done with hands, a pastry blender or a food processor. I really like the first option. Stir in water slowly until the mixture forms a ball. You may not need to use all the water (or you may need a bit more, especially if you are using whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour – but I recommend using at least half all purpose unbleached flour). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. You can also place in the freezer for an hour if you want pie ASAP!

Roll out half of dough to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Roll onto rolling pin and lift into pie plate. Press evenly into the bottom and sides. Prick several times with a fork on the bottom and sides.

the caramel:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (flake or fine will work)

Place sugar and water into a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Swish water in the pan manually to get the sugar emmersed. Once sugar starts to boil, watch until the sugar turns to a copper color, after about 10 minutes. Once the mixture is copper or almost brown in color, remove from heat and stir in butter, then heavy cream. Replace on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt flakes. Set aside.

the filling:

  • 4 lemons
  • 6 medium apples
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Squeeze lemons into a large bowl, but lose the seeds. Slice apples very thinly (a mandoline is suggested). Place apple slices in the bowl of lemon juice. Drain the apples and add flour mixture. Toss apples with your hands to coat evenly. Set aside.

assembly:

Place 1/3 of apple mixture into pie crust. Top with 1/3 caramel sauce. Repeat twice with apples and caramel. Create lattice with remaining pie dough and cut out apple shape if you wish. To lattice, you want to weave the pieces, which I did not do. It was my second lattice pie and I clearly forgot how to lattice appropriately. Brush with a beaten egg (to brown) and top with remainng caramel. Sprinkle raw sugar and sea salt flakes. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce temperature to 335 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes. Let pie rest for at least 30 minutes, but serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.