I started this posting last week and never got around to finishing it until now,better late than never I hope.
Even farther back in blog history I wrote about the boys buying me Grand Central Bakery's baking book,smart move boys. I have finally overcome my fear of pie crusts thanks to that book.One day I needed pie crust and Chance was not around so I bit the bullet and made one.Easy as pie,yup now I get the meaning of that phrase.
The pie crust is made with butter not lard so you don't get the flakes but it is a good crust.The trick is to keep everything cold and you are good to go.The book even suggest to put the flour you will be using in the fridge.Now I figure if I can get over my fear maybe someone else will too having now heard of my brave deed.
When I was home on Tuesday I went to the store for a few things and right in the middle of the produce section I had a brain storm,"why just make apple pie,I could try and make a meatless mincemeat filling" I knew I had at least most of what I would need.Minus the meat some people put in their mincemeat and minus the suet or lard.(there's that lard thing again,makes me feel fat just thinking of it.)
Once home I slipped into my favorite apron,I was once again wearing black on a baking day,and pulled out the cook books that would most likely have mincemeat filling recipes.I mumbled over four different recipes and finally came up with my own twist based on what I had at home,how much time I wanted to spend and what I thought made sense.Here's what I did.There is no recipe to it just what I did,lots of handfuls and pinches but hopefully you will get the idea.
6 medium sized tart apples
A handful each of dried apricots,apples and some raisins (your choice of color)
About 1 cup of Orange juice.
Some cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon.How much depends on how spicy you want your pie.I most likely used 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and cardamon and 1/4 of a teaspoon of the nutmeg.
I cored the apples but did not peel them.Next I cut the apples in to walnut sized chunks.Chopped the apricots into slivers.I then put all of the first list of things into an oven proof pot and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes.I wanted the apple chunks to be still a bit firm.I gave the pot a stir a couple of times while it was baking.
Once I had the pot out of the oven I added in about 1/3 of a cup of marmalade. I added marmalade because all of the mincemeat recipes I have called for candied orange peel and I did not have any but wanted the orange flavor. Then I added in 1/2 a cup of apple butter.I added the apple butter to bulk up the filling and to add more spiced apple flavor.I stirred it all together and chopped at the apple chunks with the spoon.I left most of the apple chunks whole.Fill a pie shell and I baked the pie until the top was golden brown,maybe 30-45 minutes.
The pie was good.Nice chunks of still firm apple, I had worried by pre-cooking and then baking the apples would turn soft but they did not.I loved the spicy orange undertones as well.One thing you might have noticed is I did not add any extra sugar to the filling,the marmalade and apple butter took care of that for me.By not adding any extra sugar the pie was slightly tart but the orange and spices made it rich which balanced out in the end.The raisins were nice little pops of sweetness too.I am going to keep this recipe in my files,it may be a tasty new addition to the holiday season.Next time I would also like to add some walnuts just to see how that would be.
On page two of the Hrafinstaad News you will find that,Chance has decided to make one of our wine barrels into a smoker for meat.In one of our books there is a how to so he is going to give it a try.Once he has built it I will be sure to post more and the exact reason why use a wine barrel for a smoker.I am sure it has to do with flavor.
Page three is all about how one of our young poulets is a rooster. I have been watching this fellow for awhile now.What stated me watching was as his feathers grew in I noticed his feathers on his back, right by his tail were laying like a saddle a sure sign you have a rooster.Then I noticed he has longer tail feathers as well and Chance spied spurs growing.I am sure there will be an ad in the Hrafinstaad News Classified section soon looking for a new home for our Roo.
The final section of news,the Parenting section.Today's advice,always remember what it was like to be your child's current age when issues come up.A wise man once said that to us and it has been the best nugget of information when it comes to raising kids.Even when you are talking about being 16.