Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apple Pie

My life currently revolves around a few things. Yes, there are the nerves from actually having to take quizzes and tests, the frustration of hours in lab, and the panic of proposal writing. But really, there are just a few things that matter enough that my life revolves around them. And that's the way it should be - I need to realize that while my life is full of craziness, there are only certain things that truly matter. They are, in no particular order:

Fiance's and my wedding bands - we picked them up three weeks ago (two whole weeks early!), and are smitten. Party pooper that he is, I wasn't allowed to wear it for more than five minutes before it went into our lockbox.

Our wedding flowers are gorgeous and unique, but even better? Leslie packed an extra flower just for fun when she shipped them to us. It's been stuck in a mason jar on our countertop along with some strawflowers we picked up at the Madison Farmers Market last year - yes, I brought them with me when I moved!

Kitteh! Two weekends ago, we went to the Orange County Animal Rescue and picked this cutie. We got to pick her up on Wednesday after she was spayed. Her "name" at the shelter was A122479, and the fiance wanted to keep that as her name - with the nicknames of A-1 or Steak Sauce. I vetoed, thinking she looked like an Annie, and we settled on the name Annabelle.

And finally, that first photo in this post. That countertop plus me in pjs equals a perfect Sunday afternoon for me. Apple pie first, then anadama bread. Brown rice cooking for a dinner later this week. Pumpkin cookies are hiding to the left, and the fiance is chilling on the couch and making origami for the wedding while watching Law & Order. Plans for dinner already made. Yep, where it counts - life is good.

Apple Pie
as my mom taught it to me when I was little, makes one 8" pie

5-6 tart, firm apples
a couple tablespoons flour
sugar, to taste depending on the sweetness of your apples (I used 2-3 Tbsp)
cinnamon, lots
nutmeg, a couple pinches
2 cups flour
2/3 cup Crisco
1 tsp salt
ice water, 4-6 Tbsp
a couple bits of butter
cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425F. Or 400F if you're me and have a crappy yet turbopowered apartment oven.

Peel the apples. Have a contest with a friend to see who can make a longer strip of peel. Cut slices of apple off of the core, the more haphazard the better. Toss the peels and cores to the goats, horses, chickens, dogs, or whatever livestock you have on hand. Or in the compost, that works too. Toss the apple slices together with the flour, sugar, and spices.

Dump the 2 cups of flour into a bowl with the salt. Cut in the Crisco until it resembles very coarse crumbs. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time, mixing gently, until the dough just holds together. Take a little over half of it and roll it on a well-floured countertop (with a well-floured rolling pin). Move it around often to make sure it doesn't stick to the counter. When it fits in your pie pan with an inch or so of overhang, transfer it to the pie pan. Mound in the apples until you're afraid they won't stay put, and set aside. Take a moment to eat the remaining apple pieces. Taunt your significant other with them and the prospect of fresh, warm apple pie. Remember that you're supposed to be making the pie. Take the remaining pie dough and roll out until it fits over the apples, again with about an inch of overhang. Place on top of the apples. Trim off any extra pie dough and crimp the edges of the pie. Remember you were supposed to put little bits of butter on top of the apples before putting the top on. Swear, then get inventive and stuff the little bits of butter into the slits you've cut in the top to vent any steam. Brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Take the little scraps of pie dough and brush them with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven alongside the apple pie. Don't forget to check those after 8-10 minutes though! They burn easily - I would know. After 15 minutes, turn down the oven to 375F and bake until a knife inserted goes through the apples easily, probably another 45-60 minutes. Let cool most of the way before slicing in and topping with ice cream.


Eliana said...

The bands look absolutely gorgeous. Love that they have a simple design. They will definitely stand the test of time.

crustabakes said...

congrats on the upcoming wedding! :) i love sundays in PJs too, seems like u are really loving ur life!

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

hooray for lazy sundays, and GORGEOUS wedding bands, and adorable kitties, and oh-so-pretty wedding decorations!!!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Lovely bands!! Can't believe you're finding time to bake between all of this!

Kayte said...

Very fun post...gorgeous pie, gorgeous rings. All I kept thinking was, "Oh my, how is she going to get pie dough out of that ring???" LOL. Note to you: Take ring off before dough. It's so pretty!

Bridget said...

I just had a big conversation about this with my husband - about how we need to see the forest and not get lost in the trees. Yes, things are hard, but overall, we're in a good place. It isn't always easy to remember, but it's so important.

whisk-kid said...

Aw, what a sweet post!

Both bands are absolutely stunning :)

Tia said...

that's so exciting! I love the bands.

Pamela said...

How exciting for you! The wedding bands are lovely and those flowers!! Gorgeous.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

your rings are uniquely gorgeous...and kitty's super cute!

thewhimsicalcupcake said...

Pssst... I left you a little award on my blog ;) Go check it out for details!

Mary said...

I love love love the paper flowers...great choice.

wakkawoo101 said...

Ha, never knew the apple pie recipe you gave me was for an 8inch pan. Guess that explains why I never had enough dough for the top