I recently came across an amazing baking blog. Mostly cakes to be specific. You can find the link below and if you have any interest in cakes I highly suggest you go now…I’ll wait….see you in a few days! http://sweetapolita.com/ There are so many amazing cakes to try and recreate and I don’t even like cake that much! But this one here was too much. I couldn’t wait. Especially when some friends invited us to dinner and asked me to bring the dessert. Me, bring a dessert? I think I can manage that.
Oh Hum Bao…fluffy balls of goodness. Sounds kinda dirty don’t it? I’m talking about the Chinese Steamed Buns here, filled with all manner of yummy. The first time I tried one I wasn’t really impressed. The second time? Hooked, totally and completely hooked. Luckily, or not, I can’t get a decent one near me unless I go down to Chinatown…oh excuse me, the International disctrict. I don’t know if they call it that for politically correct reasons or out of some misplaced desire for homogenity. It’s Chinatown for God’s sake. The shops? Chinese, the restaurants? Chinese. The people? Chinese (mostly). At my favorite Dim Sum place (don’t ask me the name, it’s in Chinese, I just know the street it’s on) the servers don’t speak English. Well…..maybe a Chinese version of English. Last time I asked ”Oh, what’s in that?” The lady went back to the kitchen (with her cart) and came back and said….something…maybe pork…and some other words. So now I just eat it and try to figure it out. Except the Chicken feet. My friends consider me a daring eater but I don’t like the idea of everyone in the place looking at me with a chicken foot sticking out of my mouth…cause you have to gnaw on them. So it’s vanity that stops me…..
But I digress…. as usual. And yeah, there is a Vietnamese section up the road from the Chinese section but I haven’t explored that yet. I always get stuck in Chinatown, usually in a bakery. But just to press my point. There is nothing International about that district. Maybe it’s a fusion of Asian cultures (maybe) but there are no Russian piroshky, no Greek shops, no…Brazilian food.
I had bought a package of gingersnaps. I don’t usually buy cookies, whether they are in a bag or not (because I’d rather make them). But the fact they they come in a bag makes them highly suspect. I NEEDED them for a recipe. I really did. The recipe which turned out rather ok was for Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Snickerdoodles by Willow Bird Baking which you can find here I’m not gonna post them because she did such a great job the first time out, why bother? Also I only used the stuffing part of her recipe as I already had a snickerdoodle recipe. But back to the gingersnaps and the reason I’m posting at all!
Jason is EATING the gingersnaps that were left over from the snickerdoodle affair! NOOOOOOO. I must make something out of them….. I had recently attended an office party and someone’s wife donated a big box of apples. Donated is a kind word, I think she actually just wanted to get rid of them. So I took 6 last week and made an apple coffee cake for my friend’s birthday. It was really good but I don’t think I took pictures and I didn’t post it. It was moist and delicious and I even used concentrated apple juice with brown sugar to make a drizzle for the top! Yum. But I digress, as usual, you try living in my head! I was back at that office this week and no one really took any apples…so I took a few (or 5) more. APPLE PIE with Gingersnap crust?! Why not? People make graham cracker crust don’t they?
2 cups crushed gingersnaps
1 stick butter, melted (WAY too much)
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350. It said to mix all the ingredients together and press into a pie pan and up the sides. I should have known when the sides didn’t really want to stay put. But I perservered, put it in the oven for the recommended 15 mins and when I looked in….Oh no….oh no….(just look at the picture) pools of butter, fallen down sides. *@#! (Insert all the swear words known to man) I tried pressing the sides back where they should be with a spoon and stuck it back in the oven for probably another 15 minutes….same result. So I persisted anyway, I don’t admit failure easily….I’m making a d#*! pie.
The filling…the filling was very good if I say so myself.
4-5 sliced apples (peeled)
juice of a big lemon
1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tb flour
- 3/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
As you’re slicing the apples into a bowl squeeze lemon juice on them. The lemon brings out their flavor, don’t worry, you won’t really taste it. (I used the cuisinart slicing blade attachment and got really small, thin slices of apple). Mix together the sugar, flour & spices and sprinkle over the apples, mix it up. Smell the Chinese 5 spice powder first to make sure you’ll like it. I put in 1/2 tsp and then added more so the 3/4 tsp is just an approximation. I like how it smells, kinda clovey and almost licoricey from the star anise. If you don’t want to be daring then use cinnamon & some ginger, clove, allspice (whatever you like really) DON’T leave out the pepper. You will not notice it, but it does add something. Try it! Anyway, I placed the apple slices in the messed up pie crust. (Hopefully you will have a better crust to put it in, do some research).
Then I made crumbles for the top so it was like a dutch apple pie. 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup butter. Mix them toether with your hands until it’s very crumbly and then put over the top of the apples. Increase the oven temp to 375 and bake for about 45 mins depending on your oven. You want the top to be golden and the apples to be tender.
The pie tasted wonderful. It was a bit too buttery for my taste but the friends I had over to experiment on loved it and had seconds! Slicing the apples so thinly made the filling soft and almost custardy, instead of the usual apple chunky slices in most pies. So…. keep the filling, work on the crust. I still want to do a gingersnap crust. (Sorry only got a picture of the outside, it got eaten before I thought of taking an inside pic!)
I am not defeated, maybe a bit bruised.
Jason always makes fun of how I say Cauliflower cause I say every syllable, cau-li-flow-er. I don’t know how else to say it! I also like to say Strip-ed as if it’s two syllables. It’s fun, you should try it. So when I buy some he calls it strip-ed cau-li-flow-er. Well, I’ve been seeing cauliflower at the store lately. I decided it was time to make this recipe and post it.
It’s a delicious roasted Cau-li-flow-er tart!
- 1 Cau-li-flow-er cut into about 1 inch florets
- 4 Tb olive oil
- 1 large onion cut in half and then thinly sliced so you get long pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 Tb dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp dried mint
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese grated (you can also use swiss & I’ve used a mild Irish white cheddar too)
- salt & pepper
- 1 pie dough
Use your favorite pie dough recipe (or rather your favorite unsweetened pie dough recipe) Put it in a 9 inch pie pan, bake it at 350 for about 15-20 mins and put aside.