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Pie Time: Mini Apple Pie-Crisps

4 Nov

Pie Time: Mini Apple Pie-Crisps

Mini Apple Pie-Crisps

Thanksgiving is on its way and that only means one thing: pie time. For those of you that don’t know me, I LOVE pie. Sweet pies, savory pies, empanadas, turnovers, tarts… basically give me anything that resembles a pie and it’s sure to make me happy. In fact, at my American wedding we even had a pie buffet in addition to our wedding cake!

So last night I was bored. I wanted to use the new apples I’d bought to bake something. But I didn’t have much in the house!  So instead of following a recipe I decided to invent one.

I’ll call them Mini Apple Pie-Crisps and, guess what? The crust is made with olive oil! That’s right, another successful example of baking with olive oil.

These are quite easy to make and the end result was delicious. The apples were caramelized, the crust was flaky, and the top was browned and crispy. Our only regret was not having any vanilla ice cream to put on top. Oh well, next time!

Mini Apple Pie-Crisps (Makes 2 Servings)

Ingredients:

Crust:

– 1 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ½ teaspoon sugar

– 1 ½ Tablespoons cold milk

– 1/3 cup olive oil (you can use vegetable or canola too)

Filling:

– 3 Small Apples (tart baking apples like Granny Smith)

– Pinch of salt

– 1/8 c sugar

– 1 1/3 T flour

– 1 t cinnamon

Topping:

– 2 T unsalted butter (softened)

– ¼ sugar

– ¼ flour

To make the crust, combine the dry ingredient first. Then add the wet ones and mix until it just forms a ball. Divide the dough in two parts and mold into the baking dishes. It should cover the bottom and the sides.

For the filling, dice the apples and mix the dry ingredients together. Add a handful of apples to each of the mini pies and top each mini pie-crisp with ¼ of the dry mixture (so you’ll have half of the dry mixture left). Repeat this process for another layer (you should have used all the apples by now!)

For the topping simply mash the three ingredients with a fork until you have coarse crumbs. Divide between the two minis! Off to the oven…

Bake at 425 F (220 C) for 15 minutes and then turn down the heat to 375 F (190 C) for another half an hour. The apples should be bubbling and the top should be browned when you take them out. Let cool and enjoy!

My Creation!

There you have it, Mini Apple Pie-Crisps! Have you even invented something in the kitchen?

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When Life Gives You Pumpkins, Make Pumpkin Bisque!

29 Oct

It’s Halloween time again and the stores in Madrid are halfheartedly decorated with a pumpkin or two. It’s not quite as obvious as in the US, but the eager Spaniards are quickly catching on—advertisements for haunted theme parks crowd the metro and Halloween costumes are sold at every neighborhood Chino. I’m not a big Halloween lover. When I was a kid I liked it—costumes, candy, school parties… what’s not to like? I dressed up like everyone else I knew and went trick-or-treating in the bitter cold. Later, we spent months eating our pillowcase full of Halloween candy (my kids are donating that ish…!). In college I went to a costume party or two, but I never got really excited about dressing up and thought think that spending a lot of money on a costume is kind of a waste of money. It just isn’t my thing.

So here in Spain Halloween doesn’t bring that homesick feeling I get with Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, I somehow always end up celebrating it! I always meet someone who loves Halloween—its creepy music, scary movies, ridiculous costumes, and abundance of candy. In fact, I’ve carved more pumpkins in Spain than in the US! And Spaniards (although they misinterpret the holiday a bit) seem to love Halloween too.

One Spaniard's Interpretation of Jack-O-Lantern

This year was no exception. I may have just arrived in Madrid and not really know anyone, but due to today’s amazing technologies (facebook, twitter, gmail, wordpress) I was somehow invited to a fantastic pumpkin carving/seed roasting Halloween party with a group of super cool American expat ladies!

There were American sweets! Pumpkin spice cupcakes, rice crispy treats, a chocolate almond tart, M&Ms…

The house was wonderfully decorated (It felt like home!) and there was Halloween music playing in the background.

Equipped with a sharp knife and a book of potential pumpkin carving designs, 10 American women went at it (and I’d say we were successful!)

Scary Cat

Friendly Cat

While we carved we shared our experiences in Spain, our stories, our relationships. It was great to connect with others in similar situations.

I left the party with a carved pumpkin, some roasted pumpkin seeds, and a bag of pumpkin (I couldn’t let it go to waste!)

There was only one thing to do… make some mashed pumpkin and some pumpkin bisque! Mashed pumpkin (Puree de Calabaza) is a delicious side dish and it reminds me of home. It’s also the base for my version of Pumpkin Bisque (a lighter version that doesn’t use any cream).

Here is the step-by-step recipe. It’s easy—try it and let me know what you think!

I took the bag of fresh pumpkin left over from carving. The pieces were all shapes and sizes– so I tried to cut them more evenly!

After cutting, I rinsed them under cold water.

Then, into a pot of cold, salted water and boil until a knife pierces through easily.

When fully cooked, strain and return to the pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup milk, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and paprika. Adjust the butter and milk depending on preference.

And, there you have it! Mash it up and you have mashed pumpkin.

If you want to turn this into a “lighter” bisque (if there is such a thing) just add the puree to the blender and add a bit more low-fat milk while blending. When it is at your desired consistency reheat and enjoy!

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