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Order for pie and cupcakes!

Yesterday, after a lovely day of work à la bibliothèque, I spent a few hours on an order for an apple pie and chocolate cupcakes. Obviously, I was thrilled about this. I love baking so much, but if I were to bake as much as I’d like to… well, you know what would happen. Getting baking orders gives me the chance to bake without having to eat everything. Score!

So, here’s what I had the pleasure of putting together yesterday:

Apple pie with weaved crust

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing

The recipes for both of these items can be found by clicking on the photo titles, which will link you to former blog posts.

Looking for some snazzy baking tips?

  • Weaving your pie crust (yes, making your own pie crust is actually super easy) takes some patience, but is definitely worth the effort. Simply roll out the second half of your dough as normal, cut it into 1/2 inch strips, then begin weaving them on top of the pie. Start with one horizontal, then vertical, and so on, lifting alternating strips for each additional one you lay across. You can decide how tight you’d like the weave to be.
    • Extra snack: if you have pie pastry and a few bits of apple filling left over, roll out the pastry, cut it into strips, place an apple chunk on each 1/2 strip, roll it up, bake for 15-20 minutes. Mmmmmm. Mini apple pie bite.
  • Before baking, lightly brush the crust of your pie with cream or egg white, then sprinkle some of the cinnamon-sugar mixture used for the filling on top. This will make the crust golden brown and have a nice visual texture.
  • I would highly recommend making the slight extra investment in vanilla bean paste for icing. The flavour is much more natural and rich. I purchase mine online for about $12/4oz bottle.
  • Try to get your hands on at a few key piping tips. Having just a few tips will give you a huge variety of decorating options.
  • Do not refrigerate your cupcakes. Refrigerating will dry them out really quickly. Instead, consider placing them in a lidded tin or in a dish with plastic wrap on top.

** Also! I’ve added a page called “Custom” to my blog. The purpose of this is pretty self-evident. If you live in the Halifax area and would like to discuss a custom baking order, give me a ring or send me an email!

Apple pie and great pie pastry

For many of us here in Canada this has been one of the best Thanksgivings in terms of beautiful, warm weather. It was amazing, so I hope everyone got out to enjoy it and spent some quality time with quality people!

For me, ThanksG really isn’t complete without apple pie. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a year without it. Yes, it is pretty simple to make but I’ve heard a lot of talk about how people are apprehensive about making their own pastry dough for the crust. Making your own pastry will make a huge difference in terms of taste – it’s flakier and fresher. I found a terrific recipe for pie pastry on this site and was very happy with the outcome! It’s such a simple recipe and the dough was easy to work and re-work to get the outcome I was looking for. To make the shapes I just used cookie cutters, brushing a bit of cream on the backs to make sure they’d stick to each other.

Here’s what you’ll need for the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ cup butter, cold + cubed
1/4 cup milk
1 egg yolk

Here’s how to make the pastry:
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Cut the softened butter into chunks and with your hands, or with the help of a mixer, work the butter into the dry ingredients.
Add the milk and egg yolk, working the mixture together. It will be a bit wet feeling, but should hold together in a ball.
Wrap the pastry ball in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.
Remove from fridge and roll away.

For the filling:
Core and peel 6-10 apples, based on the depth of the pie dish and the size of the apples (I prefer Courtland apples for pie).
Cut the apples into small chunks and place in a bowl.
Make a mixture of cinnamon-sugar using ~1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. These amounts are flexible and you may need more or less of it depending on the number of apples you have. See the featured image at the top of the post, on the main page, to get a sense of what the seasoned apples should look like. Pour the mixture over the apples and stir.
Add the filling to the pastry-lined pie dish. Place a layer of rolled out pastry on top, crimping the edges with a fork.
Brush the top of the pastry with cream and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. This will make the crust a nice golden brown and add a bit of extra sweetness.

Bake at 350F for ~40 minutes.

I would recommend placing the pie on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment. Sometimes the filling will ooze out and it can be a pain to clean up.

Let the pie cool for a while to allow time for the juices to settle.

Lastly, ENJOY! Apple pie is a classic and oh so delicious.

So you have a bit of extra pie pastry left over, eh? Why not make some cinnamon snakes!? Simply roll out the remaining pastry. Line it with a thin layer of butter. Pour some of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Cut into strips. Roll it up. Bake for ~15 minutes until golden brown.

** Photo credit for these two photos go again to Kevin James. 

Peach-strawberry tarts

Again, it was a friend’s birthday last week. You’ve probably learned that I always bake for my friends’ birthdays – makes a great gift! So, this time I decided to make peach-strawberry tarts. I was originally just going to make a pie, but tarts are much more party-appropriate. Chomp chomp.

Here’s how you make homemade pie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water

Mix the flour and salt together. Add in the shortening, mixing until you get a crumble. Slowly add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time. Only add enough water to make the mixture hold together.

Once you’ve made your dough, roll it out using a dusting of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. If you’re making tarts, find a glass with a wide rim to make circles large enough for the tart tins.

For the filling you can, of course, use whatever your heart desires! I used peaches and strawberries. Peel the peaches and cut them and the strawberries into small cubes. Stir in some flour and small amount of corn starch, depending on how much fruit you have. It should be just enough to prevent the filling from being too juicy – it should hold the filling together well. You’ll know when you’ve reached the right amount once you start mixing in the flour and corn starch. Add in a few tablespoons of sugar, depending on the sweetness/ripeness of the fruit you’re using.

Bake at 350F until the crust turns a light golden brown, typically 20-30 minutes.

I’m so glad it’s peach season!!