Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple Pie Crumble


Some things in life don't turn out as expected- baking included.  I was really excited for this twist on apple pie, but the recipe turned out more like an apple pie crumble.  With a tangy bite from the granny smith apples combined with a buttery crust and crumble topping, this recipe came out as delicious as I thought it would be...just in a different form.


Apple Pie Crumble
adapted from Butter

Ingredients

Shortbread crust
3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt

Apple filling
8 Granny Smith apples

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Almond crumble
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup + 1 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.

Filling

Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1/2 inch cubes.  Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and water in a large pot.  Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The apples should be soft, but still hold their shape.  Drain the juice from the apples into a bowl and stir in the cornstarch until it dissolves and return the mixture to the apples.  Mix to combine and set aside to cool.

Crust
Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour and salt.  With the paddle attachment, mix on a low speed to combine.  Add the butter and mix on a low speed just until a dough forms.  Put the dough in the pan and press it evenly into the base and up the sides. This will take some time, but keep at it.

Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust about 25 – 35 minutes, until it evenly colors to a golden brown.  I had some trouble here when I lifted the parchment paper and some of the crust came off with it.  I put it back in the oven for a few more minutes to brown more.  Remove from the oven and reserve until you are ready.

Crumble
Mix the flour, almond meal, butter, sugar and salt together using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on a low speed for 4-5 minutes, until a buttery dough forms.

Spread the apple filling evenly in the crust. Take pieces of the crumble and spread over the apples.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bourbon-Roasted Peach Cheesecake


Last week I took a week off from work and flew home to Florida to see my family and spend time with my adorable nephews who just turned one year old!  Unfortunately Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac paid us a visit for a few days, but I would actually like to thank him for giving me time to bake this delicious cheesecake with my mother and her best friend.


There were several components and steps to this recipe, but everyone agreed it was well worth the time and effort.  The cheesecake was just the right amount of sweet and the bourbon flavor truly stood out.  The middle of the cake turned out a bit loose (as you can probably see from the photo above), but that didn't stop us from enjoying every delicious bite.

Bourbon-Roasted Peach Cheesecake
adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients

For the Bourbon-Roasted Peaches
8 ripe but firm peaches
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup Bourbon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

For the Crust
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
 
For the Cheesecake Filling
4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1-2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar (white)
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces and at room temperature*
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream

*I used reduced fat cream cheese (and didn't taste a difference)

Directions

For the Bourbon-Roasted Peaches
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.  Slice 4 peaches into 3/4-inch thick slices.  Arrange in a single layer on 1 prepared baking sheet.  Cut remaining 4 peaches into 1/4-inch small pieces.  Arrange in single layer on the second prepared baking sheet.

Whisk together melted butter, bourbon, and salt in a medium bowl.  Drizzle half of the mixture on the sliced peaches and remaining half on the diced peaches.  Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of the brown sugar on the sliced and 2 Tbsp of the brown sugar on the diced peaches.  Toss both sets of peaches to coat and rearrange in a single layer.

Roast until peaches are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely, about 20 minutes.

For the Crust
Decrease oven temperature to 250 degrees F.  Line the exterior of a springform pan with foil.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt in medium bowl.  Stir until crumbs are saturated with butter and then press onto the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.  Leave about 1/2 inch of space from the top of the pan. 

Bake crust until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely, about 15-20 minutes.

For the Cheesecake Filling
Decrease oven temperature to 275 degrees F.  In a large bowl, whip egg whites and vanilla on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes longer.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg yolks, and flour on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the cream and continue beating until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes longer.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as necessary.  Drain the diced peaches and stir them into the cream cheese mixture.

Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.  Then you can gradually fold in the remaining egg whites.  Scrape the batter into the cooled crust and bake until the cheesecake is set, but still slightly wobbly in the center.  This should take about 75-95 minutes.  Next shut the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 20 more minutes.

Transfer the cheesecake to cooling rack and cool for 1 hour.  Transfer to a refrigerator and cool until completely chilled and set, at least 3 hours.  Remove from the springform pan and set on a serving dish.  Drain the sliced peaches and then top the cheesecake with them.  Enjoy!

Note:  If you plan to let the cheesecake sit in the fridge overnight you should make the bourbon-roasted sliced peaches on the day you plan to serve.  Since I left my cake in the fridge overnight I also put the peaches in there and when I pulled them out before topping the cake they were not as pretty as they looked the day before.  They tasted great, but if you're also going for looks you should listen to my advice.