Sunday, January 19, 2014

Apple Pie with Buttered Walnut Toffee Topping

I had the entire gang over to the Lilliputian cottage to celebrate January birthdays, and we were happily bursting at the seams. We got to enjoy free entertainment in the form of the grandkids: One of the three-year-old grandsons came dressed in cowboy boots (which he promptly discarded at the front door), his swimming trunks, and a lei. Nothing else. The temperature outside hovered at right around freezing. I allowed as how I thought he had arrived a tad underdressed for the weather, but he informed me that he was dressed just right because he was a hula boy! And then the baby of the bunch decided it was the perfect time to take her first unaided steps. As you can imagine, there were aunts, uncles, and cousins galore willing to clap enthusiastically and tell her what a smart girl she was! All in all, we had a delicious time, both in and out of the kitchen.

We had a tasty dinner (In fact, I expect I'll feel compelled to blog the green salad I was that good!) but dessert was the hit of the evening. Here it is:

And here's how I made it:

Apple Pie with Buttered Walnut Toffee Topping

Pastry for a 2-crust pie
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 T. sugar
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. quick-cooking tapioca
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
4-6 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smiths, but any good pie apple with work)

Buttered Walnut Toffee Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar, slightly heaping
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 T. light corn syrup
3 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Roll out half of the dough and line a large pie plate. (Use at least a 9.5-inch size or you'll have boil-over issues. I personally use a large, extra deep pie plate and don't have boil-overs.) Set aside for now.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the corn syrup, sugar, melted butter, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; mix and let set for 10 minutes. Add the sliced apples and mix to coat. Place filling in pie shell. Roll out the top crust and place on top of the apple mixture. Crimp the edges, making sure that there is a ridge all around the edge of the crust. This will be very helpful when you add the toffee topping later on. Make some slashes in the top crust to help steam vent.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.

While pie is baking make the buttered walnut toffee topping as follows:

Mix together all of the topping ingredients. Remove the pie from the oven after the above-baking time is complete and pour topping over the top crust. (You'll find that the topping doesn't "pour" too well, but just do you best to cover the whole area.) Immediately return the pie into the oven, still set at 350 degrees, and bake for 5 more minutes. If you are worried about the pie boiling over, try placing a large cookie sheet underneath to catch drips.

Remove pie from the oven and place on a rack to cool. It needs to cool until almost room temperature before you slice into it so the butter toffee coating has a chance to harden.

Give this recipe a try. It's just enough of a taste change from the usual that you will be well pleased with the results.

I hope that--even if life is proving difficult for you currently--you carve out those moments that speak to your heart and give you peace. I may be biased, but I think that time spent in the kitchen is always a good choice!

May God richly bless you. He cares for you, you know.


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