Am I the only one having trouble starting forward motion on my new years resolutions? I don't really know where to begin. I've got some ideas but it just seems like January flopped down at such an inconvenient time to get it all together. I know the holidays have all passed by, and that now is the time to start your diet and organization plans but school hasn't started yet and I'm totally not finished stress eating. How am I supposed to get it together when I'm still sneaking booze into my hot chocolate and having fantasies about sleeping in a bed of warm spaghetti?
I do have a plan though, to combat my sloth (because I actually love new years resolutions) I am making my lists and setting up my plans with an intended start date of January 23rd. Lunar New Year!
What? Don't roll your eyes!
Okay okay so maybe not. I may be lazy but I have been working on a few goals, I promise. #1 is to stop using plastic shopping bags ( I know, I'm soo late to that party), #2 is to upgrade to a nicer camera (come on tax refund!) #3 is to dive head first into the world of gluten free baking ( I have a sister, a niece, and an aunt who all eat gluten free, it's time to get on this), and #4 is something I'm calling Operation Pie Attack!
Operation Pie Attack is this, whenever there is a party, or a birthday, or they have a charity blah-de-blah at work I will show up and bring a pie (or cake if the situation calls for it). It doesn't have to be a fancy involved dessert or even be a big deal holiday. I'm going to bring a baked good to everything until 2013.
Why wasn't I doing it already? Well, here's this;
I am one awkward person at parties ( and honestly just generally in life). I'm nervous, and I say weird things and I spend most of my time out in public worrying about my breath situation and if there is something stuck in my teeth. Bringing a baked good opens you up to conversation/scrutiny which is exactly what I try my hardest to avoid, PLUS there's always the slim chance that someone will disillusion me by announcing that my pie sucks and punching me in the face ( yes I worry about this. What? DON'T LOOK AT ME!).
I'm determined to get over this, in fact it leads right in to my fifth and final resolution for 2012;
#5 Stop being afraid of being wrong/ making an ass of myself. Life is too short to waste time being timid or worrying about how you come off. If my pie sucks, it's okay. I'll just make a better one next time.
So as my very first step towards achieving this goal I brought an apple pie to new year's dinner at my grandmother's house. All my relatives were there and it was... terrifying. I was still awkward of course, and a couple things went wrong, the apples were too tart and the top crust browned funny, but I lived. And I'm still living.
The awkward feeling is merely growing pains I told myself, and while I busied my hands looking at the vast collection of knickknacks around the room trying to remain cool, look at what I found smiling back at me...
2012 I've got plans for you, and they include pie.
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 lb (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch peices
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp cider vingear
5 medium apples (whatever kind or combination you like) peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp butter (cut into small bits)
1/4 dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar ( you can adjust the sugar to taste as sweetening fruit isn't an exact science)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg +1tbsp milk whisked together for an egg wash
1.For the crust:
Combine flour, salt, sugar, vinegar and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Then slowly add the water to the mixture a little at a time until it starts to come together. You may not need all the water or you might need up to a cup just watch your dough and see how it does.
Remove the dough from the processor and separate into two equal peices. Form each peice into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
1.In a large mixing bowl combine apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, the sugars and flour. Pour lemon juice, over apple mixture and toss gently to combine.
3. roll out the bottom crust to fit a 9 inch pie pan leaving about an inch of rolled out crust hanging over the edge. Then put that bad boy (pan and all) back in the fridge to chill. 10- 15 minutes.
4. Remove bottom pie crust from the fridge and spoon in apple mixture. Set aside ( I personally like to work with a slightly softer pie dough, but if you don't you can set it back in the fridge at this point.)
5. Roll out the remaining ball of pie dough so it's big enough to cover all those lovely fillings in the pie, and roll it over the top. Trim any extra dough hanging off the sides so both crusts make about a 1/2 inch lip. Join the crust edges together and crimp them in your favorite way. Poke some large vent holes in the top (no exploding pies please) and paint that baby with an egg wash. Top with sugar and wrap the edges with tin foil to prevent burning.
6. Bake at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack until crust just starts to brown.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Move the pie to the center rack and bake for 45-55 minutes more. Pie is finished when the apples are fork tender and juices are bubbling. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.