I am endlessly entertained by seeing what visitors search for on this site. Every month or so I look in my log files and am able to see every search entered on 101 Cookbooks (everything people enter in the little search box to your upper right). You can learn quite a bit about your visitors from looking at what they search for and here's what I've derived so far: You like pork over chicken, gelato over ice cream, fruits over vegetables, and cookies and brownies over doughnuts and blondies. For the most part you have no idea that I am vegetarian, and search for all things sausage, beef, chicken, and osso buco.
You generally spell quite well, although there are a few foods that give you a hard time. You can't spell the word raspberry to save your life -- a couple favorite variations include: razberry, rasberry, and razzberrie. Other spellings that have invoked chuckles on my end include: collar greens, sweetish meatballs, marshmellows, couz couz, shrimp scampy, and quesadias.
At one point someone entered a search for 'shit cake' -- but as a friend pointed out, maybe they just misspelled shiitake. I hold out hope.
If I had to guess (I'm not actually going to count) I would say the most popular searches on this site are for the following:
-vodka (for infused vodka recipes)
-chocolate chip cookies
-and you've also been diligently searching for apple recipes as well, hence todays recipe choice.
I bought the Gourmet Cookbook last week, and lugged it the quarter mile from the bookstore to my house. I am down to about 10 back issues of Gourmet -- somehow purging all past issues except my very favorites and most recent. Having all the greatest hits in one monster volume was a welcome acquisition. I looked through all the apple recipes in the book (there are 32), and decided on making a classic Apple Pie. My dad used to make homemade apple pies for us as kids, but I haven't had one in a longtime, so I decided to get out my rolling pin and apple peeler and go to town.
I used half granny smith apples for their firmness and tart flavor, and half softer mildly honey-sweet Jonagolds. Making the filling was a breeze. Making the double pie crust was more.....er, challenging. I clearly need more practice, I mean the recipe was very straight forward, and making a pie crust isn't exactly rocket science, but I still ended up with flour all over myself and the kitchen by the time I was finished. I made three individual apple pies, instead of one grande pie. It is a bit harder to cut and assemble the tiny double crusted pies than it is to assemble a single big one. The cooking times for smaller pies needed to be adjusted as well, as they cooked faster. This is a great apple pie staple recipe, you could even mix it up a bit by substituting pears, or adding cranberries or other seasonal favorites. I even promise not to tell if you use a store-bought crust. I included a link to the recipe up above, or you can click here to see it on Epicurious. The version of the Apple Pie recipe on the Epicurious site is almost the exact version they ran in the book - the only difference is the the 'start to finish time' (5 1/2 hours) and how long you need to cool the pie (2 to 3 hours).
I am really looking forward to going through more of the Gourmet Cookbook recipes, right now I have about fifteen of them tagged to try including: Tomato Tatins, Cumin Apple Chips. Lemon Broth with Green Pea Ravioli, Panfried Tofu with Chinese Black Bean Sauce, and Stained Glass Teardrop cookies.
Apple Pie Recipe
Serves 6 to 8
Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 5 1/2 hours (includes making dough and cooling)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 10 wedges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Basic Pastry Dough for a double-crust pie (see recipe below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Put a large baking sheet on middle oven rack and preheat oven to 425F.
Whisk together flour, zest, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl. Gently toss with apples and lemon juice.
Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit it into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Refrigerate while you roll out dough for top crust.
Roll out remaining piece of dough on lightly floured surface into an 11-inch round.
Spoon filling into shell. Cover pie with pastry round and trim with kitchen shears, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Press edges together, then crimp decoratively. Lightly brush top of pie with egg and sprinkle all over with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. With a small sharp knife, cut 3 vents in top crust.
Bake Pie on hot baking sheet for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes more. Cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature, 2 to 3 hours.
Basic Pastry Dough
Makes enough for a single crust 9-inch pie or a 9- to 11-inch tart, or for a double crust 9-inch pie.
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 1 1/4 hours (includes chilling)
For a single crust pie or a tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ice water
For a double-crust pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons ice water
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingers or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea sized) lumps of butter. For a single crust pie or tart, drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn't hold together, ad more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring or pulsing until incorporated. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.
Turn dough out onto a work surface. For a single-crust pie or tart, divide into 4 portions; for a double-crust pie, divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one. For single-crust pie or tart, press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. For a double-crust pie, divide in half, and then flatten each into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
From The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004)