Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Belated Thanksgiving

I spent the week before last chopping and slicing and mixing and whisking and we had such a wonderful (and oh-so-international!) Thanksgiving. It reminded me that you don't have to be with family to remember why we celebrate; Bounty, abundance, blessings. We have been so incredibly blessed and its important to stop and remember that. (I'm thankful for my fantastic husband, the chance to live and work in China and this life I'm still trying to figure out what to do with.)

My mom sent me her world famous pie crust recipe, and her favorite Apple Gallete recipe from Jacques Pepin. I tracked down a Turkey in the expat enclave that is Shekou (it was airlifted to China for the occasion...so Turkey's do fly if the money is right!) and I made stuffing and pumpkin pie with the supplies I had carefully carted home in my massive suitcase!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday as well. Here are my mom's wonderful recipes. This pie would be just as delicious at Christmas time! (I suggest you listen to Patty Griffin's "Making Pies" on her "1000 Kisses Album" at least once during the process...)

Mom's Perfect Pie Crust

2 1/2 c flour
2 sticks butter(1/2 lb)cold.
pinch salt, sugar if you like
Using a Food processor, pastry blender or a couple
knives, cut the butter into the flour until it looks
like sand.
Mix in 1/4 to 1/3 c cold water until it forms a ball
in the food processor. You don't want it too wet, just
enough so it holds together and you can roll it.
Divide into two "pancakes" wrap in plastic and chill
30 min. or so. You may have to bang on it with the
rolling pin to get it soft enough to roll out.

Jacques Pepin's Apple Gallete (with Improvements by Gretchen Larson)

1/2 recipe pate brisee(pie crust)
4-5 large apples (I like granny smith because they are tart)
1/4 c sugar
3T butter
4T(1/4 c) apricot preserves

this is kind of like a big fruit pizza...

roll out the chilled dough on a large (16x14) cookie
sheet. It should be really thin(1/8" to 1/16") and
cover the entire sheet, you can roll it some more on
the cookie sheet if you need to

Peel and core the apples and slice 1/4" thick. Set
aside the large center slices and chop the end slices
coarsely.Sprinkle the chopped apple over the dough.
Arrange the large slices on the dough beginning at the
outside about 1 1/2" from the edge. Stagger and
overlap the slices to imitate the petals of a flower.

Cover the dough with a single layer of apples except
for the border, smaller slices in the middle to
resemble the heart of a flower. Bring up the border of
the dough and fold it over the apples. Sprinkle apples
with the sugar and small pieces of butter and bake in
a 400 oven for 65 to 75 minutes until the galette is
really well browned and crusty.

Dilute the apricot preserves with 1T cognac or water
and spread on apples with the back of a spoon,
following the design so you don't disturb the pieces
of apple.

Serve warm cut into wedges!

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