apple & cheddar… a classic combo

Oh Martha. This is my first attempt at a Martha Stewart recipe. And I’d like to tell you all; I would change some things about it (gasp! a Martha recipe that isn’t perfect). I was drawn to this recipe because it combined apples and cheddar cheese. What’s better than a slice of warm apple pie accompanied by a thick slice of extra-old cheddar cheese? How about baking the cheese right into the crust?

Well, I followed the recipe exactly (I promise, this was one recipe I didn’t mess around with since I was making it for Audrey’s Thanksgiving dinner)… but have decided that I would tweak it (just slightly). Less cinnamon and apples: extra cheddar – I think that would make for a perfectly divine slice of pie.

Martha’s Cheddar Crust:
2 1/2 c. pastry flour
1 tsp b. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
14 tbsp COLD butter, grated
4 ounces extra old white cheddar cheese, grated (I am going to increase this to 7 ounces next time)
1/2 c. ICE water

You’ll want to combine the flour, sugar, and salt (either in your food processor or stand-mixer with your flat beater paddle). Pulse about 15 seconds. Add the grated butter and pulse for about 45 seconds – pea-sized lumps should form. Pulse in the cheese (another 30 seconds). Keep the mixer running, add the ice water, a tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together (about 30 seconds).

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and allow it to chill in your fridge between 1 hour and 3 days (or freeze for later use). Best part about this dough… it smells like cheddar. Nothing beats extra-old cheddar eh?

Now to start on the apple filling.

Again, I would change a bit about this recipe… I’ll mark my changes next to Martha’s original recipe – in brackets – you decide which one you’d like to use :0)

Apple Pie Filling
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch-thick wedges (I would use 2 apples)
5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch-thick wedges (I would use 3 apples)
1 c. brown sugar (3/4 c.)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (1/3 c.)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice instead)
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

In a large bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, lemon juice and spices.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it in half. Dust your surface with a sprinkle of flour and roll out your two pieces. Fit one of the pieces into your pie plate. Fill it with your apple filling – you want to pile this up so that you get a nice mound of apples (this is a deep dish pie after all!). Dot the filling with the butter.

Cover the filled pie with your second piece of dough – folding the edges over so that it is nicely sealed. Cut steam vents into the top crust. Allow it to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Take your beaten egg and bush it onto your pie crust. I sprinkled some large crystalized brown sugar on top of the pie.

Bake the pie for 10 minutes @ 450 F.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and continue to bake for 45 minutes – to golden brown (my oven only needed 35 minutes). Tent the pie with foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes – this time the juices will be bubbling (again, only 35 minutes in my oven).

Let it cool (according to Martha at least 90 minutes before serving)… and enjoy the smell that will fill your kitchen.

lovin’ from the oven continued…

As promised, here’s the update:

… I got home from work, opened the oven, and there it was. My bread had risen. To me it was perfect. A perfect first attempt. I punched it, formed it and left it for about 45 more minutes. Instead of baking it in a loaf pan I just left it on a cookie tray and baked it at 400 F for about 30 minutes… that is where my eagerness kinda ruined it… my bread isn’t fully baked. The centre is just a little raw… but really, add some honey and it just tastes gooey and warm and delicious. Right now I have another loaf rising… I know. I am obsessed.

What I learnt from my first attempt at bread:
– 2 packages of dry active yeast – well.. it’ll result with your entire apartment smelling of yeast – aka beer!
– 3 tbsp of brown sugar was perfect, ensuring that the bread wasn’t too sweet.
– forgetting the salt… not the end of the world. BUT I didn’t forget the salt this time.
– 4 c. of flour, added a cup at a time was perfect – and today I even added the flour a 1/2 c. at a time to better control the amount that I used
– glazing the top of the dough with milk was brilliant; as was sprinkling cornmeal on top before baking

check out my (very fuzzy) pictures… I’ve nicknamed this loaf “the mushroom” (you can understand why).

I’m super proud that I produced something edible.. and can’t wait to see how this next batch turns out.

And Chloé… make those sticky buns – the yeast isn’t that scary… except that today I’m using LIVE YEAST!!!!!!!!!! (you should all smell my fridge).

Viva bread!

lovin’ from the oven…well, almost ;0)

I will admit it… I’ve never baked real bread… only Irish soda bread – which can’t really count since it doesn’t have yeast, nor does it need to be kneaded or left to rise (it does still hit the spot though).

That said, last night I participated (watched and talked from the sidelines) in a bread making experiment… we added wayyyyyyyyyy to much flour (my fault – I encouraged use of the entire amount called for in the recipe)… that resulted in having to let the dough rise overnight rather than just the estimated hour we had thought.

I haven’t seen (or tasted) the end result, BUT it did inspire me. Early this morning I got up and started working on my very first bread dough. I have absolutely no idea how this attempt will turn out; since, as I type this, it is sitting in a covered bowl in my oven, slowly doing what it has to do – rise.

But I will tell you I did learn from last night’s mistake… I added the flour slowly and tried not to add too much.

I’ll take a picture when I get home tonight and post it… and the recipe! This is very exciting – think of the possibilities…raisin bread, brown molasses bread…oh, the possibilities are endless.