Sunday, March 27, 2011

Apple Pi

To celebrate Pi day in my daughter's class, some parents were asked to bring pies to the school. I brought a homemade apple pie and a store-bought chocolate pie. As the children lined up and began choosing their slices, I was surprised to see that all the nasty store-bought pies were the first to go. I'm not complaining about bringing home an empty store-bought pie tin and an almost-whole apple pie, just a bit surprised considering the fact that the apple pie I made was the only homemade one there.

Here is the recipe for the filling..

1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Cups pineapple juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
4 Cups apple slices
Pastry for 9 inch pie
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cold water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tblsp. butter
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, pineapple juice, spices and lemon rind. Bring to a boil. Add apple slices and simmer 10 minutes. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Lift apple slices out of syrup and put in pie shell. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir into syrup in pan and cook until mixture thickens. Stir in vanilla, butter and walnuts. Pour over apples.
I made a streusel topping for this pie but you could place criss-crossed pie crust over the top as well. Bake at 450* for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350* and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easter Eggstravaganza!!

I was searching for fun things to make for Easter online and I found several of these ideas at I loved trying them and here are the results with simple instructions. Be sure to visit Martha's website for official instructions on the crepe paper carrots, napkin decoupage eggs, the cupcake chicken and many more fun ideas!

The place card nest is formed by putting licorice ropes in the microwave for a few seconds, shaping them into a nest and letting it cool. Add some jelly beans and set it on a twig.
The carrots in the basket are made from crepe
paper. Just wrap it around itself and insert tiny surprises as you go. Glue a bit of cut green crepe paper on the top so it resembles a carrot. These would make great party favors for kids.
The waffle cone carrots are painted with orange food coloring and then jelly bean filled green cellophane is shaped like a cone and tied shut with raffia.

The chicken cupcake is my favorite! The recipe is a cake mix made according to the package directions for cupcakes. Then, mix together 4oz. cream cheese, 2 Tblsp. butter, 1/4 C. sugar add 1 egg, 1 Tblsp. flour and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Mix and then add 1/2 C. chocolate chips and 1/2C. coconut. This is a fun addition to a plain cake mix and as the cupcake bakes, the cream cheese mixture will sink to the middle so when you bite into it, you get a tasty surprise! Drop a spoonful of this mixture on each (filled 1/2 way with batter) cupcake and then bake for 18 min. in a 350* oven. Unwrap the cupcake once it has cooled and turn it upside down on a plate. Frost with a thick buttercream icing forming a mound on top. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Insert black licorice eyes and combs and feet out of red licorice pieces. Add an almond for the beak. My favorite is a chocolate cake mix because when you take a bite, the insides are a contrasting white.
I had fun making these and they are so easy anyone can do it!