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Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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Salted Caramel Apple Pie, a good use of caramel

I heart caramel

I’m on a bit of a caramel kick. I don’t need much of an excuse to add caramel to anything. Enter the Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

While the recipe I followed for the pie filling included a recipe for the caramel, I followed the recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce from the blog Two Peas and their Pod.

Sticky Caramel

Making a dry Caramel Sauce is the same no matter whose recipe you choose, and pretty much the proportions of ingredients are the same. The ingredients in the Pie recipe is half of what I made. I decided that if I’m going to go to the trouble of making caramel sauce I might as well make some to have left over.

It’s a messy job, or maybe it’s just me. I know, I’ll just have to keep practicing. I don’t really see a downside to that. Other than the spatulas that will give up their life for this glorious rich creamy sauce. I sacrificed two spatulas. I made caramel for the Salted Caramel Ice Cream yesterday and didn’t have a problem using the very same spatula. But today it took a lot longer for the sugar to melt. There was 50gm more sugar but that couldn’t have been it.

Anyway, I swapped the spatulas for the whisk, which is what is called for in the Caramel sauce recipe. Then we were back in business.

Caramel sauce mess

Back in business and making a mess. Oh the waste. Ok, I didn’t waste it, I scraped it up, most of it going straight into my mouth.

After mixing in the butter followed by the cream I ended up with some sugar crystals/lumps that would not remelt. I thought I’d strain the caramel as I was getting to the bottom of the pot. But it was cooling and no longer straining as easily, plus as you’ll notice the strainer is wider than the opening of the jar. It was bound to get untidy.

Sauce made it was onto the pie.

Ingredients

I can’t remember the variety of red apples that I bought, it’s a tart sweet apple. I don’t especially like Gala apples, I like my apples to have a little bit of a kick and be super crunchy. And with the addition of the caramel I expect a little less sweetness wont be missed. And perhaps it’ll make the caramel come out more (I haven’t yet had a piece!).

Turbinado sugar, as I discovered thanks to Google, is Raw Sugar, as we know it in New Zealand.

Pie dough

I made the pie dough on Friday night and left it in the fridge until this morning. You can read about my account of using this dough recipe in my post here.

Preparing the apple filling

Do not tell Mr Fussy there’s cinnamon in this recipe. He doesn’t need to know, and I’m hoping he can’t taste it, but if he can I’ll let you know.

I have an apple corer but I liked the way Adrianna detailed coring the apples in her blog, A Cozy Kitchen.

After peeling and slicing the apples I took 2-3 slices and then jabbed the corer through the middle. My corer is extremely difficult to push in and pull out of an apple, there’s a lot of brute force needed. And then I end up cutting myself trying to release the core from the corer part. I come off second best. Besides doing it this way I can see which direction the core is going and not waste good apple.

I mixed all my dry ingredients together first then sprinkled a little of it over the apple slices, tossed those around and added more of the mixture and repeated until it was all gone. It was a little messy, but I got a fairly even distribution.

Pie dough I rolled out the dough and used the other half with two sizes of heart cutters to make the top. I preferred to have the top mostly covered, and with my larger heart cutter still being smaller than Adrianna’s I knew I’d have enough space for a row or two of the small hearts that it would look silly and out of place.

Caramel layer

Then comes the exciting part. The caramel.  I probably used less than the recipe calls for. I didn’t measure it. Plus I’m serving this with Salted Caramel Ice Cream which I made last night, and I fully expect to pour some of that left over caramel sauce over the whole lot. I think there’ll be plenty of caramel, I’ll make sure of it.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie by A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

You’ll need 1/2 cup of Caramel Sauce, I used this recipe.

You’ll need a 9” pie dough, I used this recipe.

For the pie filling

  • 2 nine-inch pie crusts (homemade or store-bought)
    3 Gala Apples (You can use others too – like Russets or Orins)
    1 Granny Smith Apples (I used this for an added tartness – totally optional)
    1 lemon
    4 tablespoons of standard flour
    1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Maldon sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 170degrees Celsius.
  • In a small bowl add all the spices, sugar and flour and mix together.
  • Roll out half of the pie dough to fit a 9” pie dish. Return the dish to the fridge.
  • Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into shapes putting the cut out shapes onto a baking tray and returning to the fridge.
  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Slice the apples and place them into a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the apples to help prevent them from browning, or cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon over slices of the apple.
  • Sprinkle over the spice mix and the Bourbon if using it.
  • Toss the apples to evenly coat them in the spice mixture.
  • Take the pie dish out of the fridge and layer the apple rounds into the plate.
  • You may need to use a little extra apple to plug up the holes in the apple slices at the edge of the plate which will prevent the top dough from collapsing into the holes.
  • Pour around 1/4 cup of caramel over the apples.
  • Sprinkle the caramel with a little extra sea salt if you like.
  • Brush the sides of the pastry with water.
  • Lay the cut out hearts around the edge of the pasty and gently press them to make sure they’ll stick during baking.
  • Continue to lay hearts around on top of the apple slices as you desire.
  • Brush more caramel sauce on top of the hearts.
  • Sprinkle a little Raw Sugar and more sea salt on top of the pie.
  • Place the pie into the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to 175degrees Celsius and continue to bake a further 35-40 minutes. The top will have browned and the caramel will be bubbling when the pie is cooked.
  • Allow the pie to cool for around 5-6 hours to ensure you can cut a slice and have it keep shape. Or sooner if having a perfect slice isn’t necessary.

My Notes:

  • Sometimes one stab of the corer isn’t enough to get rid of all the core, just keep stabbing around the edges of the core until you’ve got the most of it.
  • I had to cover the pie loosely with a piece of tin foil at 20 minutes as the top was browning too quickly.
  • I also took this opportunity to turn the pie to allow more even baking.
  • Around 5 minutes before the pie had finished baking I removed the tin foil to ensure the top was evenly browned.

Hurry up dinner time, I want a slice, now!

I’ll be back with an update, and of course another photo of a perfectly sliced piece of pie with a scoop of Salted Caramel Ice Cream and a modest (cough) drizzle of more caramel sauce.

And the update. Crikey that was good. And it was filling, so filling, but then I did have 1 and a bit scoops of ice cream.

I took the photos before dinner and by the time I was done the ice cream had soften a lot and would be soup by the time we’d finished our meal so I tucked in. Wouldn’t you?

Caramel overload

Then I had just a little bit more ice cream with dessert because I wanted to drizzle some caramel sauce over it. I wanted the full experience, that seems only fair.

I really enjoyed the mix of spices in the apple filling. The caramel sauce in the pie was subtle, but possibly over shadowed by the full on, in your face caramel with caramel praline ice cream. There was absolutely no guessing what the flavour was. In a good way, it was just right, and the salty caramel praline, mmmmmm.

The pie dough really hit it’s best with the crust of all things. It was super flaky and it taste great, not that it has a real distinctive taste. It wasn’t one of those pie doughs where you leave the crust, we all ate the lot, our plates more or less licked clean. And we’re all suffering from BBS (bloated belly syndrome – I just made that up, I have no idea if there is such a thing).

Mr Fussy gave a pursed lipped smile when I asked if he liked the mix of spices. I told him what was in it, waited, then admitted there was cinnamon in it too. But he knew. I feel so sorry for him because the flavours were incredible.

Never let it be said that apple pie is plain. At least not this apple pie, not served this way.

A slice of pie

Oh look, there’s enough for another meal. Minus a slice which is going to my brother in law. He rings and talks to Mr Fussy every Saturday asking what I’m up to. I think he’s just making sure that come Monday, when my MIL visits him, he’s got something else other than company to look forward to.

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Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I know, I know. It’s Autumn. What am I thinking making ice cream.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I hadn’t planned to make ice cream. The pie made me do it. And before the pie, it was learning it was Caramel Week that lead to the pie.

The pie, a Caramel Apple pie, will be made tomorrow. And the ice cream will be consumed with it.

Oh how I love caramel. And how glad am I that there’s a week in the calendar dedicated to caramel. A very worthy food item to claim a spot on the foodie calendar.

I guess we’re working backwards. I’m posting about the ice cream. The pie might be tomorrow. But I started on Friday making the pie dough. And there’ll be a post on that too. It’s a very unique method of making dough which had caught my attention many many months ago, and I promised myself I’d give it a crack.

Caramel Custard

Oh, before I forget, my flash arrived this week. I had ordered it a couple of week ago on eBay and I was so happy when it arrived. That photo of the ice cream is taken in the kitchen at 8:15pm. The flash is making a noticeable difference and it means that I can bake at night and take photos. I had often wanted to jump up and get busy in the kitchen but the poor lighting always put me off. I like to share photos of the whole process. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

While I LOVE caramel, I’ve had a bad run of trying to make caramel sauce. It wasn’t pretty. I actually tried twice in the same day. The first attempt was tossed out. I burnt it. The second time I was too scared and I didn’t quite get there with cooking the caramel long enough. I think this time I did much better. I put it down to using a bigger pot, cool but not cold butter and I’d warmed up the cream.

Caramel Praline

So encouraged was I, I went on to make the Caramel Praline that was part of this ice cream recipe.

I love that taffy look, the little fine strands standing proud.

I’ve stuck with David Lebovitz as the master of all things ice cream. And while I’ve not waited for the ice cream to properly freeze, I’ve had a small sample. Just enough to get the gist of what this ice cream will be like. I’ve had a few bits of the praline too. But I don’t need to tell you that, you already knew Smile

Salted caramel

Look at those flecks of Maldon salt. Given I’m a lover of caramel, I’ve never really quite “got” the whole salted caramel thing. I know it’s all the rage but I’ve not found anything salted that has tasted like this caramel praline. And I am now a convert. If only all “salted caramel” this and that I tried tasted like this.

Mr Fussy was very gracious. I need his help when I made ice cream because of tempering the egg yolks and trying to pour slowly from our pots, which are nothing like your traditional pot with a long handle. They are awkward to pour from because they are too heavy and don’t have a sensible handle that fits nicely in your hand when you’re pouring.

And I needed help with the caramel praline, for much the same reason. I needed to quickly pour it out of the pot and tilt the baking sheet to get the caramel to move around and settle into a thin layer.  Mr Fussy is very handy to have around, and a good sport since he had been watching a movie and had to pause it to come to my aid.

Crushing the caramel praline

David, in his notes, suggested using a Pestle and Mortar to crush the caramel praline. It worked well. But by the time I got to crush the praline, while the ice cream was churning, it had become a little sticky, so it clumped a little. I hoped it wouldn’t clog up the ice cream maker. It didn’t. Phew.

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream by David Lebovitz

Ingredients

For the caramel praline (mix-in)

  • ½ cup (100 gr) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the ice cream custard

  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
  • 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
  • scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • I’m giving this a big swerve. David has good instructions and due to copywrite I don’t know how to explain them any differently, so I’m sending you to the post to follow.

My Notes:

  • I warmed the cream in the microwave until it was warm.
  • The butter was cut up into small squares around 1cm in size. The butter wasn’t straight from the fridge, it was cool but not cold.
  • I covered the bowl the custard was in, but even so there was a thick-ish layer over the top. I tossed it all into the ice cream maker and it incorporated completely.
  • I made an ice bath as David describes in his instructions, which I’ve not done in past recipes I’ve made, but I recommend it if you’ve got ice handy. It certainly cooled the custard quicker and I had totally cold custard in 6 hours. I hadn’t checked any earlier.
  • The ice cream is described as a really creamy ice cream, and I think this is part of the reason it takes a long time to churn. It was around 50 minutes before I added the crushed caramel praline.

Ice cream maker

Because the ice cream never totally freezes in the ice cream maker it’s a lot easier to scrape out (almost) all of it.

It tastes good. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Even if the pie and flaky pie dough don’t live up to all the accolades they’ve received respectively in the blog posts, the ice cream is a winner.


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Ice Cream, Lemon Curd and a Chocolate Sauce

This morning started with putting our house back to pre-Christmas. We’d moved our wrought iron liquor stand out to the garage and had to take all the bottles of alcohol off. That thing is heavy without several dozen bottles of booze.

While we were moving things out and bringing things back Maranello was whinging to go outside. Finally I organised him to go outside (our cats are indoor cats but have harnesses and leads so they can go outside, somewhat restricted, when we’re home – I wont be surprised if you think we’re bonkers).

At the same time the washing machine was just revving up for the spin cycle and with several bottles of alcohol on top they began clinking together. Maranello, who could saunter out the back door, instead headed to the bedroom and hid in the wardrobe. I was at a loss for words. He’d been harping (meowing) on about going outside and now he was hiding.

It took me some time to figure out what had happened. During the Christchurch earthquakes we’d had bottles of alcohol sitting on the beer fridge in the laundry and I imagine the sound of the bottles clinking on the washing machine (it’s a front loader) reminded him of the terror of the earthquakes. I’ve heard of so many pets been left traumatised by the earthquakes. Once I shifted the bottles Maranello was quick to head out the door and have a taste of the outdoors. And life resumed.

ChocSauce

The chocolate sauce I made late this afternoon had a splash of alcohol in it. A choice of Whiskey (we don’t have any), Cognac or Rum. I chose Rum (recently purchased for the Rum & Raisin Ice Cream I made).

The sauce was really easy to make. I used a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert, a recipe I’d taken a copy of when I’d borrowed the book from the library.

Rich Chocolate Sauce by David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 340gm dark chocolate (with at least 45% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 180ml water
  • 180ml double cream (I used standard cream which has 35% fat)
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey, rum or cognac

* Variation – for a slightly richer sauce, stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature, along with the whiskey, rum or cognac

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate, water, and cream.
  • Warm over low heat, stirring gently until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the whiskey, rum or cognac
  • Serve the sauce warm

IceCreamSauces

The other day I made Scottish Shortbread. I froze some of it, and used some crumbed up in Lemon Truffles and then added some of the crumbled up shortbread in the Ice Cream along with the Lemon Curd I’d made.

I’m getting to be so good with freezing things and then reusing them in new ways.

The Ice Cream I made was based on the same recipe I used for the Strawberry Ice Cream, a recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.

I really enjoy making Ice Cream. I love watching it being churned. I know some people are mesmerised by watching flames in a fire, but I have a similar draw to watching churning ice cream. And I haven’t heard of that leading to any other devious behaviour.

LCIceCream-2

I didn’t measure the amount of crumbled shortbread or how much Lemon Curd I added. I just did what felt right.

Mr Fussy has admitted that the Ice Cream, despite adding a biscuit, is just fine.

Isn’t Ice Cream great, you can just add any sweet left over to create something a little bit special and unique to what you’d find in the supermaket.

LCIC2

As for the chocolate sauce with the ice cream, it was nice but nothing I’d call out of this world, but it’s really straight forward to make and for that it’s a winner. Only Mr Fussy got a hint of the rum, I wasn’t aware of it at all, other than smelling it in the kitchen while I was making the sauce.

Unfortunately the Whittaker’s chocolate wouldn’t completely blend. I don’t know why. It hadn’t burnt, and when I touched the little globs they were soft and flattened without any pressure, but why they wouldn’t completely blend into the sauce I’m unsure.

David suggests the sauce being served with a Chocolate Cake.

I had made a Devil’s Food Cake (guess whose recipe?!), covered it with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting and added crushed up candy canes around the bottom and served that during afternoon tea yesterday. Lots of my extended family aren’t into heavy fruit cake and I didn’t want them missing out. Yes I’m a star and all round good guy.

When I mentioned to Mr Fussy that the sauce was recommended to have with chocolate cake he asked after the cake I’d made yesterday. Unfortunately for him what hadn’t been eaten was divided up between my two sisters. Imagine pouring warm chocolate sauce over a cake smothered with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. If that doesn’t make your teeth hurt I don’t know what would. However he’s turned down my offer to make another chocolate cake.

LCIC3

I’ve got lots of cream left over from what we expected to use at Christmas, I wonder if I should make another ice cream. Mr Fussy is keen to use it to make cocktails on New Years Eve. Who will win?