Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie

It’s wonderful having friends with rich heritages. Years ago, when a friend / former co-worker of mine started dating a wonderful Kazakh gal, I suddenly started noting how the food she brought in for lunch was influenced. She used to be a raw salad and kombucha person, like clockwork, but soon, plastic containers of borscht started to make regular appearances. Even years later, it is quite common to see Russian Apple Pie appear at their house parties. Granted, it’s more akin to a cake than a traditional pie, but the name remains as is!

Recently, when Irina celebrated her Big 3-2, Melissa was in the kitchen whipping up that luscious dessert. The directions? So simple! She had the ingredients written down in a notebook with one note, verbatim: “Bake 350 20 min.”

I figured I could give it a try, eh?

Russian Apple Pie

This past weekend, I went up to Connecticut for a family event, celebrating Christmas a few weeks late and the pending of arrivals of two cousins’ babies. I offered to make an extra dessert, this easy dish in mind.

Russian Apple Pie

Perhaps, unfortunately for me, barely anyone touched it because I was unaware that a giant fondant elephant-topped chocolate mousse cake to celebrate my cousin Simone’s son would also be present. But hey, more leftovers for me to nosh on!

Russian Apple Pie

Russian Apple Pie
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 Granny Smith Apples, unpeeled
– 1 cup walnuts, whole or chopped

Before We Get Started…

– Apples must be Granny Smith or another tart variety. Do not use sweeter apples in this dish.

– Walnuts can be whole or chopped, depending on the texture you prefer. I’ve made the pie with both and they’ve been wonderful!

– Though this could be baked in a variety of pans, I make this in a pie plate or a round cake pan.

– That original note stated “Bake 350 20 min”, but I found I had to bake it longer. Bake for at least 30 minutes, but check the pie at the 20 minute mark, as different ovens bake slightly differently.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.) Core and slice apples into eight even sections. Place slices at bottom of a lightly greased pie plate or round cake pan; the slices should cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer, so if you start to pile slices on top of each other, remove those extra slices. Sprinkle apples with walnuts.

3.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon; whisk until combined. Add eggs and water to dry mixture and whisk again until combined.

4.) Pour batter on top of apples and walnuts; the batter should coat / cover everything, but if a few apple slices or walnuts break out of the top of the batter slightly, that is fine!

5.) Bake for 30 – 35 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

 

This is a photo of the Russian Apple Pie from my friend’s birthday party. She used a smaller pie plate than I did to make this recipe, hence the smoother top. Still delicious, regardless!

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Oh, hey kids! It’s time to revisit this blog’s most common theme: let us continue the discussion of foods that confused, puzzled, and / or terrified Allison as a child! This week’s food is rhubarb. In my youth, I was both curious as to why and utterly disgusted by the fact that people would put a funky looking vegetable stalk into a fruit pie. I even recall my childhood friend, Amanda, having some growing on the property of their dairy farm. Though the term SMH certainly did not exist circa 1992, I literally shook my head at the notion that adding something such as rhubarb to a pie would make it delicious.

And here I am today, studiously examining stalks of rhubarb at my local farmers’ market and making pies.

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I do love the slightly tart bite of rhubarb; I regularly nibble on a few nubs of it in the pie making process. On its own, its absolutely a polarizing flavor, though it is one I truly enjoy. I like tart. I like sour. In 8th grade, I could totally eat a few WarHeads without making a face.

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Thanks to some of my favorite food blogs and Pinterest accounts, I’ve been falling in love with rhubarb lattices! My inspiration for putting one on one of my pies grew from Baking a Moment’s Rhubarb Tart. Because I made two pies while recipe testing, I didn’t end up having enough rhubarb to make a full and beautiful lattice such as hers, but I definitely have more chances to give this a shot.

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Even though I would have loved a few more strips, it’s definitely a nice visual touch. Plus, less dough equals fewer carbs, right? Isn’t that how it all works?

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 pie crust or shell, pre-made or homemade
– 1 & 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into bite-sized pieces
– 1 & 1/2 cups strawberries, diced
– 1/2 – 2/3 cup sugar, to taste
– 2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
– Dash of cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– If you are interested in attempting a rhubarb lattice, please reference the directions from Baking a Moment.

– Be sure to have a baking sheet handy to bake the pie on top of; the baking process can release a lot of moisture from the strawberries and rhubarb, and it may or may not spill over the crust.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F. If you have a pre-made pie crust, set aside. If you are creating a homemade pie crust, prepare crust according to your directions.

2.) Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour or cornstarch, vinegar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

3.) Pour fruit mixture into pie crust; bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until edges of pie are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a dessert I grew a taste for when I was in college. In yet another edition of “Allison’s Childhood Food Traumas”, I never liked it as a youngster. Why? Because pumpkins were for carving and putting on your front stoop on Halloween. They weren’t for pies! I feel that that rationale from the first eighteen years of my life was valid, yes? Eventually, as I chowed my way through Bay Path’s dining hall in my late teens and early 20s, a slice of pumpkin pie eventually landed on my cafeteria tray, and the rest was history.

pumpkin pie

Currently, I am that horrible person that chastises their beau for not liking pumpkin pie. (SERIOUSLY, Adam? SERIOUSLY?) I have come to absolutely adore the rich caramelized flavor of baked autumn squash inside of a buttery flaky shell. I’m also for upping antes when it comes to some of my dishes, so what harm will a little bit of butterscotch do?

pumpkin pie whiskey

This was my first attempt at making butterscotch, and it is absolutely glorious! I kept tasting the butterscotch as I made this pie, and not all of the alcohol burned off in that process. Who doesn’t love a nice whiskey buzz at noon on a Monday?

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The flavors in this pie are absolutely out of this world.

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And you’ve GOT to top it with homemade whipped cream.

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I’m pretty sure that’s a national law.

pumpkin pie

Whipped cream. Whiskey. Pumpkin. That’s all one needs to be truly thankful for this time of year! (Well, perhaps family, friends, and good health, too, if you’re feeling ostentatious. 😉 )

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie
(Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe for Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie)
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 1 pie crust (homemade or pre-made)
– 3/4 cup light brown sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 4 ounces whiskey
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 3 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Before We Get Started…

– Have a fine mesh strainer on hand; the harder caramelized bits from the butterscotch need to be strained through.

– If you are creating a homemade crust for this recipe, it must be blind baked. The Kitchn provides a helpful lesson on blind baking.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F.

1a.) If you have a pre-made pie crust, set aside. If you are creating a homemade pie crust, prepare crust according to your directions. (See note in Before We Get Started… regarding blind baking.) Once baked, set aside.

2.) To create butterscotch – In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat for approximately five minutes or until mixture takes on a dark brown color. Remove from heat. Add whiskey and cream; expect the mixture to quickly bubble. Whisk to combine; don’t be worried if the mixture seizes up a little! Return to heat and cook mixture on medium until smooth and caramelized bits have dissolved. Strain mixture into a large bowl. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

3.) In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Add eggs and cinnamon. Whisk all ingredients until combined.

4.) Add butterscotch to pumpkin mixture and whisk until combined.

5.) Add mixture to pie crust and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the pie has just set.

6.) Cool for at least three hours before serving.