I had my first company Christmas party with the quilt shop Monday night. Well, there’s only 9 of us actually! What a fun night! One of the ladies, Ellen hosted. She made the most delicious gumbo and the rest of us brought rolls, salads and cookies. I’m the newbie, so I really had a lovely time getting to know my co-workers better. I can already tell, we are like a little family! I’m so lucky to have a wonderful boss and co-workers! We also did a secret Santa exchange. Ellen was my Santa. She doesn’t know me well yet, but I mentioned to her a couple of weeks ago that I liked to cook and bake, especially pies. I received the cutest and most functional little gifts.
It’s a little Pie Bird. I did not have one and have always wanted to try one. Apparently, you put it in the middle of the pie shell before filling. After filling around the Pie Bird, you drape the crust over the top of the beak, pushing down slightly. The Pie Bird actually releases the steam during baking and is supposed to prevent a bubbling over mess. Has anyone ever tried one of these cute little birdies? Sounds like a good idea! I will be putting him to good use tonight when I get home from work!
I received one more little “guy” in my gift bag.
LOL! Now I got a good chuckle from him because I had no clue for what he was for!! Does anyone know what he is? ……..An egg separator! That’s great!! I will use him a ton! I could have really used him Sunday night when we were baking cookies with the girls. I might even look for recipes that separate eggs, simply so I can use him. Totally puts a smile on my face every time I look at him! Yes, I am easily amused. Thanks for all my great gifts, Ellen!
Speaking of pies, I will making a couple of apple pies for Christmas this year. I know there are a million apple pie recipes out there, but the following one is for “Caramel Apple Pie.” It’s my favorite! I swear I could eat a whole pie myself!
Caramel Apple Pie
2 pie crusts. Homemade or store. I always make my own.
2 1/2 pounds apples. Peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 T unsalted butter
1 T plus 1 t cornstarch
In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Let the apple mixture set at room temp. for about 2 hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl to capture juices. Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have a least a cup of juice. Spray a 4 cup heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray and then pour in the collected juices and 2 T of butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 C and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, roll bottom crust onto pie plate. Transfer the drained apples to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch. Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine. Pour the apples into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top pie crust over the apples. Tuck and crimp the the top crust around the pie. Cut slits into top to allow steam to escape. Or use a Pie Bird.
Place on the lowest rack of the oven on a baking sheet or stone. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the pan or stone to catch any apple juices.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble thought the slits and the apples feel tender, not mushy when a sharp knife is inserted though a slit. My oven takes 55 minutes. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. AND ta-da…
So yummy with a slightly caramel taste. Enjoy!