Sunday, November 29, 2015

Amaretto Cherry Bread

For me, it is hard to turn down a culinary treat with Amaretto. The tasty Italian liqueur has found its way into many types of recipes from meat to ice cream. Even though Amaretto does have a bitter almond flavor, it is made from apricot pits- it does not contain any almonds or nuts.

This loaf has the same texture as most sweet bread. However, it is the Amaretto that makes it a standout from the rest. With the addition of cherries and nuts, the flavors compliment each other nicely. Also, this is a go to recipe when you are looking for something quick to bake.

The bread is a great item to give as a gift, it transports well and the flavors get better with time. You will also find that it is a welcome addition to a cup of tea or coffee. One slice can squelch the craving for something sweet, but not heavy.

The recipe makes 3 small loaves.

Amaretto Cherry Bread
adapted from Recipe Goldmine

1/2 cup Amaretto
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped almonds or chopped nuts
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
powdered sugar (optional for dusting top of loaves)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the interior of 3 loaf pans (5.5 X 3) and line bottom and 2 long sides with parchment paper.

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute then mix in one egg at a time, until all is blended and set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

Fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the butter batter. Stir in 1/4 cup of Amaretto.  Repeat the process, ending with the flour after the last 1/4 cup of Amaretto.  Once batter is smooth, mix in the cherries and nuts until evenly distributed.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the loaf pans. Place in oven and bake until tester comes out clean. The bake time averages between 40-50 minutes. Loaves will have a golden hue on the surface when done.

Place pans on cooling rack and let bread cool completely in pans. If you prefer, the top can be dusted with powdered sugar right before slicing and serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used 2 standard loaf pans, but there was not much height to the loaves. The smaller loaf pans do allow for more height.

2. I used pecans, but you can use any type of chopped nuts, depending on personal preference.

3. Do not use any frozen fruit in syrup, buy the flash frozen type that has no syrup.  Make sure the cherries are thawed before putting into batter.
                                        **LAST YEAR:Coconut Chocolate Chip Cupcakes**

Sunday, November 22, 2015


When most people prepare for the holidays, they are concerned about making an impression as well as making the event memorable for years to come. These little pastries are sure to do both in a very good way.

With the beautiful golden piped edge and the marbled center, they are a stunner for the dessert table. Beware, however, that the inviting appearance will insure that your guests will be reaching for one of these to eat first.

One bite reveals a buttery base with a crunchy edge and smooth filling that coats the base. Each of these textures hold a rich almond flavor. Topping it off is a sweet raspberry/icing swirl and a touch of chocolate. All of those attributes makes them worthy of the holiday receipt vault. This is where are the special recipes lie that only come out once a year and are requested every year.

Make a delicious holiday memory this season by creating these stunning pastry-like cookies, named after the second largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg. This recipe makes about 24 pastries that are 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

adapted from Swedish Cakes and Cookies

Ingredients/Edged Base
1/2 an egg
1 egg white
7 oz almond paste
5 tbs butter
2 tbs sugar
3/4 cup flour

Ingredients/Filling and Garnish
1 egg (whisked)

3 tbs butter
4 oz almond paste
2-3 tsp water
raspberry jelly
3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

To form the dough, cream together the butter and sugar in a medium size bowl. Beat in the 1/2 of egg. Add the flour and fold in, using a wooden spoon. Mixture should form a ball of dough. Flatten the dough into a thick disk and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to chill for about 1/2 an hour. 

For the piped almond edge, fill a small bowl with the egg white. Take out a grater and grate the 7 oz of the almond paste into the egg white. Beat the two together until smooth, using a hand mixer on medium high speed. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees before you make the filling. Start on the filling by beating the butter in a bowl until smooth, set aside. Using another bowl, grate 4 oz of almond paste into the bowl. Add half of the grated almond paste to the butter and beat for 30 seconds.Then beat in the egg for another 30 seconds. Lastly, add the reset of the grated almond paste and beat until smooth.

Dust a flat surface lightly with flour and also dust a rolling pin. Prepare a piping bag with star tip. Place a cooling rack on the counter as well as a sheet of wax paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out onto the floured, flat surface. Cut dough into round circles, about 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 inch in diameter and place on baking sheet. Using a butter knife, smooth the filling evenly onto the circles, leaving a border of 1/4 of an inch.

Once all the filling has covered the circles, fill the piping bag with the almond paste/egg white blend and pipe around the edge of the pastry. Place pan in oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until edge turns a light golden hue.

Place baking sheet on rack and let cookies cool for about 2 minutes. Transfer from baking sheet to cooling rack. Once completely cool, spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of raspberry preserves over the filling, keeping clear of the almond piped border. 

In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar and add the water by teaspoons, mixing after each addition. The icing should be the consistency of cookie icing not cake frosting. Once blended, swirl the icing into the raspberry topping forming a marbling appearance. Again, avoid the piped border. Let the cookies set for about 5 minutes for the topping to solidify more. Take a sharp knife and cut each in half.

Set up a small double boiler and melt the chocolate. Coat the cut edge of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place on wax paper. Give time for the chocolate to set before serving or storing.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used seedless raspberry preserves and doubled the batch of icing.

2. I found that using a knife to coat the chocolate on the cookie edge made for a more even finish.It also helps when you get down the the last of the melted chocolate.

3. There are some strange measurements since this recipe originated from Sweden, such as the 1/2 egg and 7 oz of almond paste (my can was 8 oz). For the egg, whisk a whole egg and measure out 2 tablespoons for your ingredient for the dough base. The almond paste I weighed to eliminate the extra  1/oz.

4. For less leftover ingredients, double the whole recipe.

                                           **LAST YEAR: Aunt Bill's Brown Candy**

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Grasshopper Cupcakes

When it comes to purchasing, everyone has their weakness for something that they have way too much of and want more. Some men have to have every type of fishing lure ever made and there are many women that can never get enough shoes. In addition to having them, they enjoy shopping for them as well.

My weakness is for baking utensils and cookbooks. I try to curb my weakness by being careful of which items are purchased. I ask myself how much use will I get out of it and is the usage worth the expense. Which brings me to the little cupcake separators that it took to make the two toned treat above. Tagged at under $9.00 for 6, I decided they were worth it. I have made several different combo cupcakes in the past and I like the idea of two flavors side by side, rather than top and bottom.

This is a cupcake take on the sweet, after-dinner drink called the Grasshopper. In case you are not familiar with the drink, it is made with creme de cacao and creme de mint. The drink originated back in the 1950's. The owner of a bar located in the French Quarter section of New Orleans, Louisiana came up with this tasty blend.

Chocolate and mint always make a good pairing and this moist cupcake is a perfect example. The frosting is a mix of mint, creme de cacao and cream cheese. Unlike buttercream, the frosting is thinner so no fancy piping was done. In review, I think buttercream would have masked the cake flavor, so I was pleased with the choice. Also, the creme de mint candies on top made them even better. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Grasshopper Cupcakes
adapted from Spiked Desserts

1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
4 oz white chocolate
4 eggs
3 tbs green creme de menthe
3 tbs clear creme de cacao
green food coloring (optional)
1/2 tsp mint extract
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp mint extract
2 tsp creme de cacao
2 tsp creme de mint

Grease the top edge of muffin cavities, then place paper liners in each cavity.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter in bowl and beat until smooth with a stand mixer. Add the sugar and cream both together until smooth and light. Then add each egg, beating about 30 seconds between additions. Turn off mixer and leave bowl set in stand.

Place a double boiler over medium high heat. Once the water comes to a simmer, fill the top pot with the white chocolate and let melt. After all is melted, remove double boiler from heat and remove top pot.

Go back to the mixer and turn on low and start beating the butter/sugar batter again. As the mixer is running, slowly add the melted chocolate and then the vanilla extract. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. Once blended, turn mixer off. Remove bowl and set aside.

Take out 3 bowls. In one bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the sugar/butter batter. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and blend. Complete this process again and then fold in the last of the sifted ingredients.
Divide batter equally into the remaining 2 bowls.

Mix 3 tbs of creme de menthe, mint extract and green food coloring (optional) into one batch of batter. For the remaining batter, blend in 3 tbs of creme de cacao.

Now comes the tricky part. If you have the separators for the batter it is helpful, just place in the center of each cavity and fill one side up 2/3 of the way with one batter. Then do the same with the other batter and remove separator. Without a separator, just spoon in best you can on each half of the cavity with each flavor of batter.

Once all the batter is in the muffin cavities, place pans in oven to bake. Bake until tester comes out clean. Bake time should be about 16-19 minutes. Remove and let cool in pan 1 minute and then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely prior to frosting.

Start on the frosting by sifting the powdered sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer. Then cut the cream cheese into cubes and drop into the sugar. Add the creme de menthe, cream de cacao and mint extract. Start mixer and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and beat until creamy and completely blended. Top cupcakes with frosting, using a knife to swirl on top. Remove wrappers of candy. Grate, split or do both for the topping. Sprinkle on grating and/or stick 2 pieces of the split candy into the center of the cupcake top.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used Batter Babies brand of cupcake dividers. They do not fit tight into the muffin cavity, but the addition of one type of batter on a side does holds them up so you are free to add the batter to the other side.

2.The frosting is personal preference. It does not have to be a blend of both flavors, so add flavor how you want.

3. As with all cupcakes, frost as soon as cool to avoid having the top of cupcake drying out.
                                             **LAST YEAR: PBC Cookie Biscotti Sticks**

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bacon Buttermilk Scones

Most of the items you will find on my blog are sweet rather than savory. Some men do like sweets, but if given a choice, they will choose savory over sweet. Even though my blog has sweet items, I have tried to make sure that the blog does not seem too "girly". By "girly" I mean recipes and photos of barbie doll cakes and hello kitty cookies. Nothing wrong with those type of things, but that is not the chosen image for this blog.

When it comes to savory, bacon and cheese does seems to draw the most attention. These scones definitely have that covered. To further escalate your craving, toss in some green onions sauteed in bacon drippings and some garlic powder. Then, seal the deal by adding some heat with red pepper flakes and make sure that the bacon is actually peppered bacon.

A plate of these tasty scones will give women easy access to the man cave during football season. Men, on the other hand, may consider bringing these scones out in an effort to help your friend decide who gets those 50 yard line tickets...

Bacon Buttermilk Scones
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fall Baking

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onion
6 slices peppered bacon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbs baking powder
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cold butter (cubed)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly dust a flat surface with flour.

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and lay on paper towels to drain. Empty all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from pan. Chop or crumble bacon into pieces and set aside.

Place chopped green onions in the same pan in which the bacon cooked. Stir fry until tender. Empty pan over a sieve and let the grease drain, reserving the sauteed onions. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, garlic powder and baking powder into a medium size bowl. Then add the red pepper flakes.Toss in the butter chunks and use a pastry blender to form the mixture into coarse crumbs. Fold in the green onions, cheese and bacon, making sure all is evenly distributed. Form a well in the center of the mixture.

Using a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Take out 2 tablespoons of the mixture for reserve. Empty the remaining egg/buttermilk batter into the well that was formed in the flour mix. Using a wooden spoon or large fork, stir all until combined into a dough.

Empty dough onto prepared surface and knead, about 10 to 12 turns. Roll dough into flat mass that is 1/2 an inch thick. Cut into squares or circles with a 2 inch biscuit cutter. After all is cut, you should have 24 to 26 scones. Place all on cookie sheet, fitting all 24 or 26 closely together but not touching.

Brush the tops with the reserved buttermilk mixture. Place scones in oven to bake for 13-15 minutes.  They will be lightly golden on top and bottom when done. After baking, transfer scones to rack to cool.

Tips and Notes:
1. The cheese is your preference, for really spicy scones use jalapeno cheese. The recipe does  recommend Guyere.
2. Sharply cut dough edges will insure proper rise to the scones.  Make sure your biscut cutter is sharp and do not twist when cutting into dough.
                        **2 YEARS AGO:Chocolate Sugar Cookies**

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Buttermilk Fig Cake

Figs are in season at the end of the summer. Since they do so well teamed with spices, I really think of them as a winter item. We all know that figs have good nutritional value. I am not sure why there are not more desserts made with them. The only thing that most of us can recall with this item as an ingredient is fig newtons.

After trying this recipe, I consider this cake as a wonderful alternative to the fig cookies. Rich, moist and spicy, it easily finds a place beside a cup of tea. The other good point about this cake is that it is a converted recipe that is low in fat, having only 3 grams per slice. The recipe comes from a spa and resort in Austin. We all know that even the idea of something fatty and sugary at a spa resort is not welcome.

It is a light dessert but really delivers on flavor and the texture. One bite reveals a myriad of rich spices with chewy figs and the crunch of nuts.The glaze is soaked up by the cake top and edges which give it a nice burst of sweetness.

Now for those that are unfamiliar with figs, they do have seeds. So every once in a while you will come across a fig seed in this cake.  If you do not mind the seeds of strawberries or blackberries, then you will be fine.  However, since there are some that abstain from the small seeded fruits-I have to give fair warning.

Buttermilk Fig Cake
adapted from Lake Austin Spa Resort

2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tbs canola oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
7.5 oz baby food prunes (about 3 jars)
1 1/2 cups chopped preserved figs
1/3 cup chopped pecans


1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbs light butter
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare a springform pan by greasing the interior. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the first 7 ingredients and set aside. Fill another bowl with the eggs and egg whites.Whisk until blended and a little foamy on top. Then mix the oil, sugar, prunes and vanilla into the eggs.

Take 1/3 of the sifted ingredients and fold into the wet batter. Stir in 1/3 cup of the buttermilk. Repeat the process, ending by blending the last addition of the flour. Lastly, fold in the nuts and chopped figs.

Empty the batter into the prepared pan and bake until tester comes out clean.  Bake time is approximately 55 minutes. After baking, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes, then unmold ring.  Glaze cake when completely cool.

The glaze can be made while the cake is cooling. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add buttermilk and sugar. Stir and let cook until sugar is dissolved. Sift in the cornstarch and baking soda, stirring quickly so no lumps form. Add the butter and mix until butter is completely melted and blended. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.  Let cool completely.

Once each component (cake and glaze) is at room temperature, give the glaze a stir and then drizzle over cake. Let sit until glaze is slightly soaked into cake, then slice and serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you cannot find preserved figs, then used dried figs. Let them simmer in a mix of water and pure maple syrup for about 45 minutes, then remove from heat and cover. Let sit for about 2 hours and then drain and dice.
2. Glaze is supposed to be really thin and sticky, not like the standard sweet glaze that dries hard.
                                            **LAST YEAR:Banana Nutella Bars**

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Maple Pecan Pinwheel Cookies

I have a hard time trying to remember when someone actually said that a cookie tasted awful. Most cookies have a flavor appreciation, so the next factor when evaluating them is the texture. Hard cookies for dunking in milk, soft cookies for those that like a cookie on the light side and chewy for those people leaning towards the more candy-like cookies. The candy-like cookies are the typical slice and bake dough found at the grocers for you to bake or already baked up in the small display bins in fast food restaurant chains.

This particular cookie has some chewiness that comes from the filling.  However, the rest of the cookie mimics the buttery flakiness that you will find in pastries. If I had to name these, I would call them mini tart swirl pastries - not cookies.

That covers the texture evaluation. The flavor of the filling reminds me of those cinnamon praline pecans that are an addiction of mine. Also,the filing and the glaze have maple syrup as an ingredient. Sadly, maple syrup could be used in a number of ways yet most people never reach for it unless waffles or pancakes are around. Overall, the taste and texture of these gems does make them pretty amazing.

The preparation of the cookies incorporates the slice and bake method, which makes it easy to prepare in advance and bake some up on short notice. That is always a plus in my book! The recipe makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Maple Pecan Pinwheel Cookies
adapted from the Journal Sentinel

4 cups flour
6 tbs sugar
2 cups or 4 sticks of butter (room temp)
2-8oz packages of cream cheese (room temp)

1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks of cold butter (cubed)
3 tbs maple syrup
3/4 tsp maple flavoring
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 oz or 3 cups chopped pecans

pinch of ground cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the dough, fill a large bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and cream cheese. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Sprinkle in sugar and beat for another minute.  Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold flour into batter in 1/2 cup increments. Form dough into a rectangle and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough for 2 hours.

Start on the filling by beating together the butter cubes and brown sugar. Stir in the maple extract and maple syrup. Using another bowl, sift flour, salt and cinnamon together. Add the sifted ingredients to the sugar batter and mix until there are no more dry streaks. Lastly, stir in the pecan pieces until evenly distributed.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 3 equal but smaller rectangles. Let all rectangles sit for 20 minutes. Dust a flat surface lightly with flour and do the same with a rolling pin. Take 1 rectangle and roll out, forming a rectangle measuring 12x18.

Take 1/3 of the filling mixture and scoop out spoonfuls and drop onto dough. Fill a small bowl with hot water. Take a knife, dip in the hot water and use to smooth the filling evenly over the dough. Filling will be thick, but be gentle as the dough is very thin.

After the filling is smoothed over the dough, start rolling dough up from one of the longest edges. This is much like a jelly roll, only smaller. After the last part is rolled up, pinch end and press down to seal bottom seam also cut of any ends that are uneven.

Take the roll and cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat the same process on the other two pieces of dough, dividing filling in half. The cut ends can be used to patch or to seal hole in the dough. Do not cut the ends of the last roll, just push in to flatten, so the edges are not jagged.

After all rolls have been in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Also line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove 1 roll and cut into about 28 slices. Lay each slice onto prepared baking sheets, filling each sheet with about 1 dz cookies. Cover the 2 slices and place in refrigerator. Put cookies on baking sheets in oven and bake until golden on edges. Cookies will take about 22 minutes to bake and pans will need to be rotated at the halfway point.

Place a sheet of wax paper under cooling rack. Remove cookies and let set for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Glaze cookies once completely cool.

For glaze, sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.  Let glaze set before storing or serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. Be gentle with the dough but make sure it is tightly rolled and seam sealed. Filling expands as it cooks.
2. As an option, you can sprinkle more pecan pieces on top.
3. The smaller the pecans are in the filling, the easier it will be to smooth out over the dough.
4. Dough is not real sticky, so it does not need much dusting of flour.
5.There were places in my roll that were thin and some nuts were poking through but it did not cause a problem. 
                                    **LAST YEAR: Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pufflets**

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Caramel Apple Nut Pie

The standard thought when it comes to apple pie is apples baked in a crust with cinnamon thrown in.  If you are really craving the pure taste of apples in a pie, then the traditional apple pie is the one for you. For those looking for a additional layers of flavor in their pie, read on.

With Halloween coming up and the state fair, the caramel apple will be popping up in places. The thought of tasting a tart, green apple and smooth caramel can easily turn into a craving. Hold off on reaching for one..or you will miss out on satisfying your craving on a much more a tastier level. Let's take all that delicious flavor and texture from a caramel apple and enclose it into a flaky crust.  Caramel Apple Nut pie...need I say more?? Lets head into the kitchen!

Caramel Apple Nut Pie
adapted from Mrs Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies

Ingredients/Vinegar Pie Crust
1 egg
1 cup plus 1 tbs vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 tbs ice water

6 cups peeled and sliced apples (4-5 McIntosh or Granny Smith)
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tbs cold unsalted butter cut into bits
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbs flour
1 tbs milk or cream
Sugar for sprinkling (brown, raw or granulated)

For the crust, start by blending the salt with the flour. Then add the shortening in chunks and use a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the dry mixture. Continue to use the pastry blender until all the powdery flour is slightly clumping with the shortening. There should not be any clumps bigger than peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar and 1 tbs of the water. Pour the blend into the shortening/flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix all together. If the texture is too dry for dough, continue to add in the ice water and mix until the right consistency is met.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Flatten each piece to form a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes up to a maximum of 2 weeks.

Once you are ready to make the pie, dust a flat surface lightly with flour and do the same with a the rolling pin.Take out one disk of dough and roll in the floured surface, forming a circle 1/8 of an inch thick. Gently roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin. Hold the rolling pin 2 inches above the edge of the pie pan and slowly unroll the dough into the pan. Center the dough and then lightly press into the pan. Gather the dough edges into a border on the top edge of the pie pan and just fold the overhang of the dough over the top edge of the pie. Flatten slightly and make sure it is distributed evenly around the circumference of the pie pan. Place the dough lined pie pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling. At this time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Fill a large bowl with the apple slices. Then fill a second, smaller, bowl with the brown sugar, salt, flour and cream. Blend the ingredients in the smaller bowl with a wooden spoon. Toss in the nuts and fold until all is evenly distributed. Empty the blend from the smaller bowl into the apples. Mix until all the apples have some coating and the big clumps of the sugar/nut mixture are minimized.

Remove the lined pie pan from the refrigerator. Empty the filling into the pie pan and smooth the top, so all is even. Drop the butter bits over the top, making sure there is an even distribution. Take a pastry brush and dip in water. Brush the top edge of the dough with the water and set filled pie aside.

Take out the other dough disc from the refrigerator. Roll this piece out, in the same manner as the first. Also, use the same method of rolling the dough around the rolling pin. This time you will unroll it over the filled pie. Cut off any overhang of dough. Seal and shape the pie dough edges or use the tines of a fork. Cut a few steam vents in the center top of the pie with a sharp knife. Dip a pastry brush in the milk and gently brush over the top. Lastly, sprinkle a bit of sugar over the surface of the pie.

Place pie on a baking sheet then put in preheated oven. Pie is done when apples are tender and crust is golden. Bake time is about 40-45 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack to stand at least 2 hours prior to slicing and serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. It is important that apples are sliced thin, diced or chunks of apples will require longer baking time in order to get tender.
2. A vinegar pie crust is patchable and easier to work with but you can use whatever pie dough recipe you want.
3. The amount of water for your dough will vary, depending on the weather. Humidity or a dry day will make the difference.
4. If you choose to refrigerate the pie for enjoying at another time, let sit out 1 hour before serving.
5. Check the pie at the halfway point in baking, you may need a pie shield to insure that the crust edges do not get too brown.
6. You can use the dough scraps cut from the top dough layer.  Cut into leaves or desired shapes and place on the pie top after cutting vents and prior to brushing milk over the top.
7. The filling will be very thick, so when blending with the apples you may want to use clean hands.  
8. There is no need to shape edges of the bottom dough, the shaping is done with both the top and bottom dough is sealed together.
                              **LAST YEAR:After Eight Cupcakes**