Saturday, October 07, 2017

Apple Slab Pie

I asked my husband to bring home a small bag of apples from his friend at work who owns a small orchard near us called Frosty Apple Orchard.   He brought home a half bushel of Liberty apples!  I ended up making a traditional pie, and I canned some apple sauce, and I made a slab pie for him to take to work.  I hadn't cooked with Liberty apples before, but I liked the pink sauce it made.   The apple was tart, too, which I like for pie.

Slab pie was a thing a few years ago, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Cooks Illustrated to Food 52 writing about them, but since they are so big and there's just the 2 of us at home now, I didn't think I'd ever need to make one.   However, they are perfect for potlucks and feeding a crowd, so I thought I'd try my hand at one.    I had recently heard a podcast featuring Dorie Greenspan and she said that she always uses a food processor to make pie crust and rolls it between 2 sheets of parchment paper and chills it, so I wanted to give this method a try. Making a slab pie requires 1 1/2 the amount of crust than a round pie.....the crust to filling ratio is much higher than a typical pie.   If you are a "crust person", this is the pie for you!

Slab Pie Crust (food processor)

2 1/4 c. butter (very cold)
1/2 c shortening (very cold)
4.5 c.  flour
1.5 t. kosher salt
1.5 T sugar
3/4 c. cold water

Cut up butter and shortening into 1/2 inch cubes, and return to the fridge.  Put the flour. salt and sugar in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a couple times to mix it together.   Add the fat and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture is about pea sized.   Don't go too far!  With the machine running, pour the cold water in slowly until the dough starts to form a ball.

Cut out 4 pieces of parchment paper an inch bigger around the size of a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.  Divide the dough into 16 balls and press it out with your fingers on to a piece of the the dough across the rectangle with 2 rows of 4 blobs.   Over with the other sheet and roll out dough to the edges of the paper.   Do the same with the remaining dough.  Put both sheets on the jelly roll pan and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the  dough is chilling, make the filling.

Slab Pie Filling

10 c. peeled and sliced apples
Juice of one lemon
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 t. apple pie spice
1/4 t. kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until apple slices are coated evenly.

To assemble pie.....

Remove dough from fridge and fit one crust in the jelly roll pan.  Fill with apple mixture, and then top with other crust and crimp.  Slice some vent holes in the top.  Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon or so of water.

Bake in a 375 F oven for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is brown.

Many recipes for slab pie also include a glaze, which is optional. I'd like to try this one next time

Maple Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
enough milk or heavy cream to thin (a couple teaspoons)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cowboy Candy

Last year, I came across a pickle I wanted to try called "Cowboy Candy".....a sweet hot jalapeno pickle.   I never got around to it last year, but this season, I noticed some new fb friends Libby and Liz that I met through the Michigan Tech Parents facebook group were both making some, so it inspired me to try my hand at it.   I found a farmer with lots of jalapenos, well priced, at the Ypsilanti Farmer's Market, so I picked up a bunch to add to what I was already growing in my patio garden.

I started googling around for recipes and noticed that most had a huge amount of sugar in them, so I decided to develop my own recipe with less.    I also didn't want to add too much seasoning to distract from the popular recipe included celery seed, which I thought would be too overpowering.   I did like the addition of turmeric; it gave the peppers great color

Cowboy Candy
makes about 6 half pints

3 pounds fresh firm, jalapeno peppers, washed
2 cups cider vinegar
4 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
12 cloves garlic, peeled

Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers.  Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside. In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, hot canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil.

Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.

If you have leftover syrup, you could can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. I used mine to marinate some pork chops.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

These pickles are great out of the jar and not very spicy.  The sugar tempers the bite.   They are great on sandwiches or served over cream cheese as an appetizer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Canning at the Chelsea Fair

I have never entered anything in a canning contest at a fair, but I decided this year I would give it a try at the Chelsea Fair.    It is held each August in the next town over, Chelsea.  Here's how I did:

First place
Corn Relish (I was the only entrant!)

Second Place
Salsa #5 - very proud of this as there were 9 entries
Bruschetta in a Jar 
Pickled Cauliflower   from Linda Ziedrich's Joy of Pickling, one of my favorite canning books
Mustard Beans
Stewed Rhubarb

Third Place
Rhubarb Jam - this recipe without the Earl Grey tea

Fourth Place
Pickled Asparagus  from the University of Georgia's Center for Home Food Preservation.   One day I will visit that place in person!  I often find myself in Athens, GA for work.

I was surprised that pickled asparagus came in 4th, I thought it looked the best.   This type of canning contest is really a beauty contest, they don't taste the entrants.    When we used to have the Classic Michigan State Fair (RIP), they tasted them.    Probably a better way to do it!