Tag Archives: Baking

Tasty Goodness: It’s Time for Pie

Alright, Dean Winchester, listen up.  I’m making pie.

Apple Pie

Homemade Apple Pie

I mentioned in my Fourth of July post that I made an apple pie, so I thought I’d revive my Tasty Goodness (links are below) series, and share my recipe with you.  Now, I’m still tweaking the filling a bit, but it tastes phenomenal. (Also, my mother threatened strongly advised me to not forget whatever it was I’d done.)  For me, it is about the crust almost as much, if not more than, the filling, and I have finally gotten my grandmother’s crust recipe down pat.  For years, I’ve been told this made the easiest, tastiest, flakiest pie crust, but until this year, it never worked out as well for me. I don’t know what I did different, if I “cut in” the flour and shortening a little more or what, but it worked

Grandma Audrey’s Pie Crust


  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/3 Cup shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (yes, just trust me)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2  Tablespoons water
  • 1  Egg, lightly beaten

Place flour in a mixing bowl and “cut in”* shortening until the mixture reaches a corn meal consistency (a little chunkier is okay too).  I used a pastry cutter, but I have been reliably informed that you can use a knife and fork to achieve this.  Add salt, vinegar, egg and water (one tablespoon of water at a time.  I usually only end up using 5 Tablespoons) and mix until everything is well combined and it looks like pie crust dough.

Split the dough in half and form each half into a ball.  On a well floured work surface, roll the dough into a piece big enough to cover the bottom of your pie pan with a little overlapping the edge.  (My pie pans are extra deep, so my dough is sometimes a bit thinner when rolled out).  Gently move into the pie dish.  Don’t worry if it tears a little.  This happens to everyone, and no one sees the bottom of the pie anyway.  Just use your fingers to press the torn edges together.

Jessica’s Pie Filling


  • 5-6 Large Apples (or 6-8 small apples) Peeled, cored and sliced (I used Jonagold in one and Granny Smith in the other.  Both were delicious)
  • 1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of butter

Disclosures: Okay, fair warning.  I mentioned this recipe needed a bit of tweaking to perfect.  I’ve tried this with both cornstarch and flour as a thickening agent, and both times it ended up a little runnier than I’d like.  The taste, however, is divine.  I’m thinking I use a bit too much lemon juice in combination with the vanilla. (I don’t actually measure the lemon juice).  Also, I mentioned my pie pans are extra deep, so you may not need as many apples.

Heat oven to 375 F.  As you peel, core and slice your apples into a mixing bowl, be sure to sprinkle them with lemon juice.    This will keep them from turning brown while you work.  When all your apples are ready to go, add the vanilla.  Toss until all the apples are well coated.  There shouldn’t be extra liquid in the bottom of the bowl.  If there is, I recommend you drain it off.

In a separate bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cornstarch, and whisk to combine.  Add the mixture to the apples and mix well with a large spoon until all the apple pieces are coated with the mixture.

Pour the apples over your bottom crust in the pie plate.  Cut up the butter into little chunks.  I usually quarter the tablespoons I cut from the stick of butter.  Dot the pie filling with butter (it adds a nice richness to the filling, but if you forget, it isn’t a problem).

If you haven’t already, roll out your top crust to the same thickness of the bottom crust (kind of close anyway.  You don’t want it to be too unbalanced).  Carefully transfer the top crust to cover the apples in the pie plate.  Make sure you have enough to overlap the edges of the pan a bit (although this isn’t strictly necessary, I found it helps me to make a prettier pie).  If your crust tears, just gently press the torn edges together with your fingers.

Trim off the excess crust with a small, sharp knife.  My pie plates have a pretty wide lip, so I use that as my measurement on where to trim.  It is about 3/4 of an inch wide, and I find that is just enough to make a pretty edge.  Press the top and bottom crust together with your fingers, and turn up a little bit.  Then, using your fingers, scallop the edge of the crust.**  (Really I should have taken pictures to show you, but I was too excited about eating pie.)  Finally, using a sharp knife, cut a pretty design in the top crust to allow steam to vent during cooking.

Cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent burning.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking occasionally, until the crust is golden brown.  (If it takes a little longer, don’t worry about it.  I start checking at 10 minutes in, because I’ve owned ovens with a…unique sense of temperature.)  Once golden deliciousness is achieved, and your whole house smells like heaven, remove the pie from the oven and let cool.  I know we like warm pie, but that filling is hot don’t eat it too quickly and burn yourself!

* To “cut in” the shortening to the flour using a fork and knife, just act like you’re cutting up dinner.  You’re just looking to achieve much smaller pieces than bite sized, and it takes a little while, so don’t get frustrated.

**Keeping in mind I’m left-handed, I use the first two fingers on my right hand on the inside edge of the crust and the first finger of my left hand on the outside of the crust.  Press the single finger on the outside of the crust in between the two fingers on the inside and make your way around the edge of the pie.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.  That’s called “rustic”. 😉

‘Til next time,


P.S. Tasty Goodness links to parts

  1. Tasty Goodness Part One
  2. Tasty Goodness Part Two
  3. Tasty Goodness Part Three
  4. Tasty Goodness Part Four
  5. Tasty Goodness Cheesecake


Tasty Goodness Part 2: Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

English: Four aluminum measuring spoons on a r...

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As I mentioned in Tasty Goodness – Part 1, I Geek Out over cooking, baking, and good food in general.  I know lots of people are starting their new year off with a renewed passion for eating healthy, and I am as well.  However, I also firmly believe in balancing all the healthy with a little bit of “who-cares-about-the-calories/salt/sugar/fat-it-tastes-amazing!”.  So, with that philosophy in mind, I present a recipe today for lovely baked goods that have become go-to items for bake sales and fundraisers…and birthdays…and driving exams…and…I found this from Chef-In-Training on Pinterest.  Seriously, I don’t know whether I love Pinterest for all the wonderful things on there or curse it because I spend so much time looking at the wonderful things…You can find more deliciousness on my board The Sweetest Thing.  If you’re new to Pinterest…I’m sorry.  I’m so, so sorry.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

The cupcake craze seems to have taken over.  No matter which city I go to, I find bakeries specializing in cupcakes only, television shows with cupcake cook offs…the list goes on and on.  Why not?  They’re perfect hand-held pieces of yummy!  Cupcakes allow you to indulge in a sweet treat while controlling the portion…well, most of the time.  (Some days you just need a second one…)  This recipe was made both for a United Way bake sale at work, and as either a “Congratulations! You got your learners permit” or “Let me console you, you failed your learners permit test.” (My niece and I studied hard for her test for her driving permit.  She passed with flying colors (the second time) but I was prepared for contingencies with signs for both eventualities.  She was not overly amused.)  This recipe comes from Chef-In-Training.  She has a lot of great recipes on her blog.  It is definitely worth checking out!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • 1 Cup hot water
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream

Salted Caramel Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 package Dream Whip (dry)
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar (more if needed to reach desired consistency)


Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Add the sifted cocoa powder to a medium-sized bowl and pour in the cup of hot water.  Whisk until completely dissolved.
  2. Add the buttermilk to cool down the mixture, then add the sugar and whisk until all is combined.
  3. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix again.
  4. In a small bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk this into the wet mixture until you no longer see any lumps.
  5. Stir in heavy cream until evenly mixed.
  6. Pour into cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until done.  Let cool and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. In a saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. (Watch this closely!  The caramel will burn if you take your eye off of it.  This happened to me…twice!)  Remove from head and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring constantly until very smooth. (Make sure you continue stirring as you add in the cream and vanilla, otherwise you end up with a big glob of brown stuff.)  Let the caramel continue to cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.  Alternatively, you could use just under 1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce.
  2. Beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add dry Dream Whip until combined. Whip until combined. (Why low speed?  Do you want to look like a ghost?  Then leave it on high.  You will have a fine dusting of Dream Whip all over you and your kitchen!  Learn from my mistakes, folks.)
  3. Beat in powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined. (Watch the consistency here.  The first batch of frosting was pretty tight and hard to manipulate, but the second I added just a hair less, and it was perfect.  Sifting the sugar into the mixing bowl helped greatly.)
  4. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel.
  5. Beat on medium high until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).

The frosting should be ready to use without refrigeration.  If your caramel was too hot when it was added, your icing will be runny.  No worries though, just refrigerate for 15-20 minutes and mix well.  Now you can frost your cupcakes.  Try not to “test” too much of the frosting as you decorate….I dare you.  Enjoy!

What’s your favorite recipe?

‘Til next time,


P.S. I’m taking an html writing class.  I can create headers now!  Pretty huh?  What do you think?

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