Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Two Smileys

I've had a few successes this week, with of course a few things that could have been improved!
First, though, my wonderful friend Pam told her 85-year-old Mother about my candy making adventures, and she had some great tips:

1. Yes, farm women did do laundry but would have done only laundry on Monday as they had to boil the water, etc. They might have started the bread rising first thing on Monday morning, but wouldn't have tried to wash and make candy, too.
**Yes, I can see why! I wonder if I should brave some yeast bread...

2. Never make divinity on a humid day.
**This is very helpful. I seem to remember something about this humidity tip in one of my cookbooks, but readers know I don't always pay attention. I will try the candy making again in the fall, when I have a new thermometer. Pam is coming to Chicago at the end of October, and I'm sure she would love some homemade candy from me, in any form.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, I made two things. The first is from one of my original cookbooks, The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea by Angela Hynes from 1987. It is stolen from my Mother's collection as I've been baking from it (or trying) for many years. My little guy and I made the marble cake, and added his favorite stylish decoration:

This can be done with any cake recipe or even a mix. Mix some cocoa and water with half the batter and alternate doughs in the pan. Use a knife to swirl, something my little guy is very good at. While I love this elegant British cookbook, nothing rises like it's supposed to. I used Cake Flour, and it was still only about 1 inch thick. As we made it to cheer up a relative who sprained her ankle, I don't know how it tasted. I have made it several times in the past, though, and it was always tasty then.

One of my goals for the summer was to make an apple pie. On Labor Day itself, my husband, son, and I got busy with the Farm Journal's Country Cookbook again. I'm determined to best that beast. Here is Favorite Apple Pie, the Carmelized version. I omitted pecans from the recipe as I don't like them.

6 large tart apples (I used Pink Lady apples)

Pastry for 2-crust pie (9 inches)

2 tblsp. flour

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed (you'll need this two times, so total 1/2 c. )

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ginger (I didn't have any)

1 tblsp. lemon juice (due to a pouring incident, I'm not sure how much I put in)
3 tblsp. butter or margarine

Peel and quarter apples , then slice each into another 4 pieces. Put these into saucepan with 1/4 cup cold water. Simmer until tender; about 5 minutes. Cool.

For Carmelized: Cover bottom pastry with 1/4 c. melted butter or margarine; spread evenly with another 1/4 c. brown sugar.

Combine remaining ingredients, except butter; sprinkle over apples; dot with butter. Moisten edges of undercrust.

Adjust top crust with 6 bents, trim and seal edges.

*My son took the trimmed edge and made a smiley face.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 45 minutes longer.

Amy's note: If you smell something burning, your pie insides are bubbling over and you need to put a cookie sheet or something under your pie plate to catch the drips.

This was delicious.

This morning I entered my first recipe contest. By some miracle, my invented Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheese Cups turned out perfectly.

I'm off to make a dinner from a vintage cookbook.

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