Jesse’s Apple Pie

Crust

1 3/4 c unbleached flour
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 c of shortening
5 Tbsp butter
1 egg and sugar for brushing

  • Blend flours and salt with a pastry blender: cut in butter and shortening until small uniform crumb size.
  • Stir in 3 1/2 to 4 Tbsp water with a fork.
  • With hands, push together into two equal size balls.
  • Cover and let sit while preparing filling.

Filling

Northern Spy apples are hard to find – they are a combination of Northern Spy and Cortland.

5 large Northern Spy apples, peeled and sliced thin
3/4 c of sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
3 Tbsp of flour
2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1 Tbsp butter

  • Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and orange peel together thoroughly.
  • Roll out bottom crust between two sheets of waxed paper and place it in a 9-inch ceramic pie plate.
  • Layer apples in spiral in crust, sprinkling with sugar mixture and dotting with butter as you go.
  • Roll out top crust and place over apples, trim and crimp edges.
  • Brush with egg beaten with 2 tsp of sugar.
  • Make slits in crust.
  • Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F and bake 25 to 30 minutes or longer – until nicely browned.

Galette aux quetishes

These oval, purple plumbs are found only in September in Connecticut.

Pate sucrée

For 2 pie crusts, 10 1/2 inches

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk beaten

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl, make a ring in the center of the flour.
  • Drop the egg and egg yolks in the space provided and mix with the sugar.
  • Then work the butter with the flour on the side and the eggs in the center.
  • Mix until it holds together.
  • Place on the table and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times (fraiser).
  • Divide into 2 pieces.
  • Reserve one piece and roll the other into a 12 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Put into a cookie sheet or a mold for better support
  • Fold the dough to make a border about 1/2 inch high (thicker at the base for preventing border from collapsing during cooking).
  • Refrigerate until firm.
  • Place in preheated 400° oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • For a different desert cook the shell entirely for about 25 minutes and fill with crème patissière and top with fresh berries.

Filling

2 lbs of purple plums
3 Tbsp of sugar

  • Cut each plum in half and remove the seed, then cut each half in the middle, thus forming a triangle with a wide base.
  • Arrange the segments of plum tightly, standing on their base, in a circular pattern like a flower.
  • Sprinkle the sugar on top.
  • Cook in a 375°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

You can make a glaze with blueberry or blackberry jam by boiling a cup of the jam with 1 Tbsp of sugar and a dash of cognac. Brush this glaze on top of the plums.

Galette aux poires

Buy the pears a few days in advance and let them ripen.

Pate sucrée

For 2 galettes – 10 1/2 inch pie pans

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg & 1 egg yolk beaten

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl and work until you can form a ball that holds together.
  • Place on the table and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into 2 pieces. Reserve one piece and refrigerate.
  • Roll the other into a 12 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • It helps to roll the dough on a plastic sheet to support the dough when it is lifted around the rolling pin, then unrolled into the pie shell. This step can be tricky when the dough is too soft since it breaks easily.
  • Either refrigerate it for a while or simply press the dough in the pie pan by hand.
  • Make a border about 1/2 inch high (thicker at the base for preventing border from collapsing during cooking).
  • Cut off any dough above that and reserve with the other half of the dough in the refrigerator for another pie.
  • Refrigerate until firm while preheating the oven at 400°F.
  • Cook for 12 to 15 minutes; for a different dessert cook the shell entirely for about 25 minutes.
  • Fill with crème patissière and top with fresh berries.

Filling

4 or 5 pears thinly sliced (half then quartered, each 1/4 cut into 3 segments)
2 eggs
1 cup of cream
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
3 Tbsp of sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F
  • Arrange the segments in a circular pattern like a flower.
  • In the center overlap segments in a straight line. It’s easier.
  • Mix the eggs, the cream and the sugar.
  • Pour over the pears.
  • Sprinkle the almonds on top.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes

This pie is best eaten at room temperature or slightly warm.

Prune and almond tart

Serves 8. Be sure to make a good strong tea (I used about one tablespoon of loose Earl Grey tea leaves to the two cups of water) for soaking the prunes.

1 partially pre-baked and cooked flaky sweet pastry shell
2 cups strong black tea
1 pound prunes, pitted

The cream filling

1/4 cup whole unbleached almonds
1 large egg, slightly beaten
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp eau-de-vie or brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream

The garnish

1 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar

  • At least one hour before preparing the tart, pour the hot tea aver the prunes and set aside to marinate.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Prepare the cream filling:
    • In a spice grinder or the bowl of a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder.
    • Thoroughly blend the almonds with the egg, sugar, brandy, and cream.
    • The mixture should be very smooth.
  • Drain the prunes, discarding all of the soaking liquid.
  • Carefully arrange the prunes in the cooled, pre-baked tart shell.
  • This will seem like a lot of prunes, and you may have to arrange them in two layers.
  • Pour the cream filling over the prunes and place the tart in the center of the oven.
  • Bake until the cream filling has set and the tart shell is nicely browned, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Source: Patricia Wells, New York Times Magazine (11/5/89)

Pear pecan tart

Buy the pears a few days in advance. They should be ripe but firm.

Pate sucrée

For 2 galettes – 10 1/2 inch pie pans

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of sweet butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg & 1 egg yolk beaten
1 cup of roasted pecan (ground in food processor)

  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl and work until you can form a ball that holds together.
  • Place on the table and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into 2 pieces.
  • Reserve one piece and refrigerate.
  • Roll the other into a 12 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • It helps to roll the dough on a plastic sheet that provides good support when the dough is lifted around the rolling pin, then unrolled into the pie shell. This step can be tricky when the dough is too soft since it breaks easily. Either refrigerate it for a while or simply press the dough in the pie pan by hand.
  • Make a border about 1/2 inch high (thicker at the base for preventing border from collapsing during cooking).
  • Cut off any dough above that and reserve with the other half of the dough in the refrigerator for another pie.
  • Refrigerate until firm while preheating the oven at 400°F.
  • Cook for 12 to 15 min.

Filling

4 or 5 pears thinly sliced (half then quartered, each quarter cut into 3 segments)
1 egg
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of ground roasted pecans
2 tsp of sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F
  • Arrange the segments in a circular pattern like a flower. In the center overlap segments in a straight line. It’s easier.
  • Mix the egg, the cream, the sugar and the pecans.
  • Pour over the space between the pears.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle sugar all over the pie and put under the broiler until slightly brown.
  • This pie is best eaten at room temperature or slightly warm.

Orange sunburst tart

Pate sucrée

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg & 1 egg yolk

  • Combine ingredients in a bowl and work until it holds together.
  • Place on the counter and smear the mixture with the palm of your hand a few times.
  • Divide into 2 pieces. Refrigerate.
  • Roll into a 10 inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place in preheated oven at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes.

Orange custard

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
4 Tbsp of pastry flour
a pinch of grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups of orange juice
4 Tbsp of sweet butter
1 Tbsp of Cointreau
8 California navel oranges for the decoration (skin of each wedge removed)

  • Beat the yolks and the sugar until pale yellow (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the pastry flour, the orange peel and finally the orange juice in a continuous stream.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 3 1/2 quart saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes very thick (about 10 minutes).
  • Cool the pan in cold water and continue mixing.
  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
  • Cream 4 Tbsp of butter with the heel of your hand to soften it and whisk into the orange custard a little at a time.
  • Add the Cointreau.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

Assembling the tart

  • Fill the tart shell with the orange custard.
  • Just before serving, arrange the wedges in concentric circles to make a sunburst design.

Mirliton

1 pâte brisée for a 9 inch ring mold
1 can of apricot halves in their own juices (drained and pat dry)
2 Granny Smith apples

3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/3 cup of almonds (processed until fine in the food processor)
3/4 cup of cream (crème fraîche is a good substitute)
3 eggs

Caramel

1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water

  • Peel, core and dice the apples.
  • Make the caramel:
    • Put the sugar in a medium size sauce pan.
    • Add the water and cook until it comes to a boil.
    • Let it reduce until it reaches a golden brown color.
    • Then drop the apples in the saucepan and let them cook until tender.
    • The caramel will dissolve with the help of the juice from the apples.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place the apricot halves on the bottom of the pie shell. Add the caramelized apples.
  • In a bowl mix together the eggs, the cream, the sugar and the almonds.
  • Pour this mixture over the apricots and apples and cook for 1 hour or until brown on top.

Pâte brisée

1 cup of bleached flour
1/2 cup of cake flour
1 stick of butter & 3 Tbsp cut into pieces
1 tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt in 1/3 cup of iced water

  • Place flour and butter in a large mixing bowl.
  • Rub flour and butter together until it resembles coarse meal.
  • Pour water in and blend lightly.
  • All the steps above can be done in the food processor, but use frozen butter.
  • Do a final blending with the heel of the hand on board or marble.
  • Press into a small ball, sprinkle with flour and let rest for at least 2 hours.
  • Roll the dough.
  • Gently press it in a pan to avoid air bubbles.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Cover with foil and spread some weight on it.
  • Precook 8 to 10 minutes at 450°F.