Making Fried Apple Pies

Happy Monday friends,

The weather here has been HOT!!! Temps have been in the upper 90’s with a heat index making it feel like it’s over 100 degrees!!!!

Oh what a perfect time for our air to go out. Yep, I came home from buying groceries on Saturday and heard Mark talking to someone on the phone. Turns out it was the man who services our heat and air unit. To tell you this man, Wayne, is wonderful would be such a gross understatement. And not just because he came out on a Saturday afternoon and serviced our unit but he has been there so many times for us, and for many of my family members.  First of all the unit was put in over 20 years ago when we built the house.  You know that most units these days don’t last that long. 

Wayne is not the type of repairman that will tell you that you need a new unit just so he can make some money. He is fair and honest. Anyway he had the air back on within two hours and I barely broke a sweat.

What does this have to do with making fried apple pies you may ask. Not really anything except if we hadn’t gotten the air back on I would not have been heating the stove for anything!!!

In all my days of cooking I have never made fried apple pies. WHAT??? I always wanted to try them. I don’t know if you follow Brenda Gantt on Facebook but she is a true southern cook from Alabama.  Check her out. I just love her.

So I went by Brenda’s recipe for the dough. All she uses is plain flour, buttermilk and solid crisco shortening, you know the white stuff in the tin can. My mama always had some when we were growing up.

Brenda doesn’t use much of a recipe so I watched her video on Facebook and went by that. Here is what I did:

I used 3 Granny Smith apples. I peeled them and  added about 3/4 of a cup of sugar, a half cup of water and sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the apples and cooked them down until they became soft and mushy and syrupy.  I used a heavy sauce pan. 

I put some plain flower in a mixing bowl and added 1/2 cup of the solid shortening and some buttermilk. I didn’t measure the buttermilk I just kept adding the buttermilk until I could form a small ball of dough. I then divided the dough into several pieces and sprinkled them with flower. I rolled them out, using a dough roller, in small circles about 4 inches in diameter.  The dough cannot be sticky.  Add a little flour to keep it from sticking. 

Once I had the circle I put a big tablespoon of the apples in the middle and patted one side of the circle with water. I then folded the top over. The water helps seal the dough. I took a fork and pinched the edges of the pie so that the filling wouldn’t come out. I had my large cast iron skillet heated with about 2-3 cups of Wesson Oil at 350 degrees. I took a spatula and lifted the pie up and into the oil. You have to let them cook for a few minutes until both sides turn brown.  I only cooked one at a time. After one side has cooked for a few minutes turn it over using two forks.  I will tell you that the first few I did turned out crunchy because I had my oil to hot.  But I had the hang of it after I had done a few.

I guess they turned out o.k.  Mark ate two of them.  One of them with Ice Cream. I was not too happy with the taste of the dough.  I know that Brenda uses plain flower and the buttermilk adds some flavor but I am going to research some more recipes until I feel it is tastier.  After the pies cooled I wrapped them in plastic wrap and that seemed to soften them and help the dough absorb the flavor of the apples.  I took some of them to work with me and they were eaten immediately.  So maybe they were o.k.  It’s hard to tell with the workers in the break room.  They will eat anything!!!!

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   This is the pan I used for frying the apple pies.  My Lodge cast Iron cookware is now a favorite of mine.  
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                      Granny Smith apples are wonderful for baking.

   I cooked the apples down until they were soft and I could mash them.  They were yummy and I actually saved some to eat later with biscuits.  


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    You can see the first ones didn’t turn out really pretty. But I kept working on them.  


    This is what the pies looked like just before I put them in the hot oil.

 

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   I sprinkled some of them with powdered sugar but the ones I wrapped in plastic I just left plain.  These are best for warming and adding whatever topping you want. 

So all in all I guess they were pretty good for a first time.  I do want to keep experimenting with the dough.  We shall see. 

Always remember 

Love your day your way!!!!

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How To Make Yummy Baby Back Ribs

Hello friends and happy Monday, How are you how was your week? I know I have been a little inactive but my job right now is taking center stage in my life.  More about that later.

Yesterday I was off and I did some cooking.  I made pecan pancakes for breakfast and then I decided to make baby back ribs in the crock pot.   I have made them in the crock pot several times.  I love them this way.  I bought a rack of baby back ribs at the grocery store.

This is the best way to make baby back ribs in my opinion. First of all I make a rub to put on the ribs.  I use, 8 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar, 3 Tablespoons of kosher Salt, 1 tablespoon of Chili powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.   This is the amount of rub you use for a double rack of ribs.  If you are only cooking a rack of ribs you will only use half of this.  Put the other half back for next time or just use double on these and it will still be yummy.

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         This is a picture of the rub.

First of all I got a rack of baby back ribs.  They are a little pricey but sometimes you can get them on sale.  Splurge.  It’s worth it!!

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       This is a rack of baby back ribs and it is plenty for me and Mark.

Next I make the rub.  See the recipe from above.

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   I always cut the ribs in two so that I can place them in the crock pot easier.

Next you need to pull the membrane off of the ribs.  It is not pleasant but you need to do it.  I know that you don’t have to pull the membrane off but it does make them taste so much better.  The rub really gets into the meat if you remove the membrane.  There are several videos out there helping you to learn to do this.  Google it.

Turn the ribs over so the rib part is showing.  Take a butter knife and slip under the membrane make a pocket and slip your hand or the knife under the membrane and pull it off of the ribs.  Some of the membrane comes off easily, if you are lucky, and some of them don’t.  Yesterday I almost had a melt down because I couldn’t get the Fu/c8ing membrane off!!!!!  I finally got most of it off.

The trick to cooking these ribs in the crock pot is that you must put them up on their sides so that they are not lying in their own juices because this tends to make them mushy.   Don’t add anything to them at this point.  Just let the meat cook and use it’s own juices.

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Cook the ribs for about 6 hours in a crock pot on low.  Check them after 6 hours and see if they are getting done.  I think 6 hours is usually plenty of time.  My recipe called for 8 hours but that is usually too long.  I always check them after 6 hours.

After you take the ribs out of the crock pot place them on a pan and brush them with barbecue sauce and put them under the broiler in the oven for just a couple of minutes and they will taste yummy!!!!

So the ribs turned out pretty well.  They were tasty.  I have made better but these were good too.

Try them!!!

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

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Southern Apple Stack Cake

This is one of my “Southern Secrets”  It is a secret way I have of making a really yummy treat.

When I was first married,  I remember my mother in law knew a woman in town who made the best Apple Stack Cakes you have ever eaten.  An apple stack cake is just what the name says.  It is a stack of cakes with apple filling in between.  The higher the stack the better, but most recipes call for six layers of the cake.  Now keep in mind the layers are very thin, that is one of the tricks to the Apple Stack Cake.  I am going to tell you the basic four steps for preparing the Apple Stack Cake and then I am going to give you a secret recipe that is unbelievably good.  You may already know about it. It doesn’t even involve baking.  What?? You won’t believe it!!!   Please know I am not trying to downplay the Apple Stack cake and the original way to make it.  It is a true labor of love and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If I could buy one or make one every week I probably would.  But I know I don’t have time for that and you probably don’t either.

But back to my original story.  When I was first married my mother in law knew a woman and her husband who made stack cakes at Christmas.  They had several apple trees and they would harvest the apples in the fall and peel them and dry them for Christmas time to be made into the cakes. They dried bags and bags of them.  This was a big deal for them.  They did it to earn extra money for Christmas.  They were both retired and lived very modestly.  When Christmas came around everyone knew this was the place to get your stack cake.  Many many cakes were made daily.  They even delivered them to you for the outrageously low price of $12.00.  I know!!!   I think the first year I knew about them they were $10.00 and then the price of the ingredients went up or maybe the apple crop didn’t do as well and they had to increase their price.  If you ever happened to stop by their house during the stack cake preparation, you would see a flurry of activity coming from that sweet couple.  You would find it hard to believe that only two people did all of the work that went into all of the cakes.

My mother in law always got one for Christmas dinner.  You had to put your order in early because they only made so many and when the apples were gone they were gone.  After I got married I got on the list so that I could have a cake for my mom and dad’s house when we went there for Christmas.  Two of these awesome cakes at Christmas, well it was just about the best thing you can think of.

The four basic steps for making your Apple Stack Cake:  I am not including an ingredient recipe you can google it or you may even have one from your grandmother or aunt Gene.
Here is one that I found that looks pretty good http://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8012/apple-stack-cake

1. You make the apple filling.  You are making the applesauce from dried apples by simmering them with water and spices and a bit of brown sugar.  Once the dried apples become soft and pliable you will put them into a food processor to be pureed.

2. Make your cake batter.  You can use a basic cake batter but you must chill it so that you can spread the cake batter very thinly for baking.  Some people put the batter directly on parchment paper and bake the layers (you must have at least six layers, I don’t know why but you do)  but my mama always used a cake pan and just spread the batter really thin along the bottom of the cake pan.

3. When the layers of cake are cooled you put one of the layers on a plate.  Spread the filling on top then add another layer continue with this until you get to the last layer.  Some people spread the filling on the top and sides.  I think this makes it really messy.  It also makes it hard to wrap it later.  Once you wrap the cake the delicious apple filling will seep into all of the cake and make it really soft and yummy.

4. Top the cake with waxed paper and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let stand at least 12-24 hours before cutting.

 


Doesn’t that look delicious?

Now I will tell you my little cheater way of doing this.  A friend told me about this years ago and whenever I get a craving for an Apple Stack Cake I just fix one of these:

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You will need a jar of reaaaallllly good apple butter.  This is the apple butter I bought at the Mennonite market a few weeks ago.  It is so good. You will also need a pack of graham crackers.  I use the regular kind. I guess you could use the cinnamon ones.

Spread the apple butter between each of the graham crackers and start layering the crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you finish.  I may have gone a little crazy on the apple butter but it is just so good!!!!

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You then wrap plastic wrap around it and put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Actually waiting 24 hours makes it even better but it’s so hard to wait!!!  The crackers absorb the apple butter. They will no longer taste like plain graham crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you cut it.  You will get about 3 servings out of this because it is really dense.  It is soft just like a cake and it tastes yummy.

Like I said I am in no way telling you not to make a “real” Apple Stack Cake. But if you don’t have time and you want a treat that brings back a lot of memories, try this.  Let me know how it goes.

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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How to Make a Perfectly Decadent Chocolate Cake

Hello Friends, I have to tell you that chocolate cake is one of my favorite things in the world. This post even includes homemade chocolate frosting.  We usually call it icing in the south.   You know how much I love to bake.  I am a cake person and I love almost all cakes. My husband, on the other hand, loves pies.  Check out this post I did awhile back on making a great coconut cream pie.  But my husband does love chocolate cake probably more than I do so when I make one I know I will not be eating the entire thing myself.  So here goes. This is going to be a four layer cake because I like to split the layers so that I have lots of room for the yummy chocolate cake icing. So here goes:

Use your favorite cake mix.  Cake mix is so easy and inexpensive.  I always keep several in my pantry.  You can just do so much with them.  My favorite cake is yellow or white cake with chocolate icing.  I think it offsets the chocolate a little. Now don’t get me wrong chocolate on chocolate is never a bad thing to me.  But I usually prefer yellow or white cake with chocolate icing.

Mix your ingredients according to the directions on your cake mix.  I always grease the cake pans with solid Crisco and flour them before baking.  This is a great way to make sure that your cakes do not stick.

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Pour the batter evenly into two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans. Again bake according to the directions on the cake mix.

Before removing the cake from the cake pan, and you should do this as soon as you take it out of the oven, I use a little trick to flatten the top of the cake. This makes it easier when stacking the layers. I put a paper towel on top of the cake and then put a small saucer on top and flatten it just a little. Then just turn the pan upside down and the cake should pop right out. I put them each on a plate with a paper towel under them so they can cool completely.

After the cakes have cooled completely, and if you want to split the layers, this is the best way to do it. This little handy tool is called a cake cutter or cake leveler. It is almost like magic. You can get one at Walmart or on Amazon. A leveler can be used to split a cake into two thinner cakes or just slice the dome of the cake off to make it smooth. I use the small plate and paper towel for this I think that is easier. But when it comes to splitting a cake this handy dandy tool is just the thing. It is adjustable so that you can evenly split the cake. It cuts through the cake like butter.  I promise You might be able to do this with a knife if you are Martha Stewart. And remember you don’t have to split the layers you can keep it to a simple two layer cake and you don’t have to worry about the leveler.

This is such a simple chocolate icing recipe. My mama always made her icing like this and I loved it. I have had no complaints about mine. I always double the recipe: I use two sticks of butter, softened, 12 tablespoons of cocoa ( the powdered cocoa in a can) a one pound bag of powdered sugar and Half & Half. I like to use Half & Half because it makes the icing so smooth and creamy. You can use milk, and if you do, make sure to use at least 2% or whole milk. It usually takes about one cup of Half & Half for the icing. I also flavor with a tablespoon of vanilla flavoring. If you are keeping it to a two layer just use half of these ingredients.

Mix the butter and cocoa together first. Make sure the butter is softened. Also, I sift the cocoa and the powdered sugar to make sure there are no lumps or bumps in the icing. Add the powdered sugar and Half & Half in a little at a time.

Now you have a bowl of yummy chocolate icing. If you doubled the icing recipe you will probably have extra left over. You can store it in the refrigerator for several days.

I always put a little icing on the plate before I put down my first layer.

Turn the cake upside down if you didn’t split the cake this will be the bottom. This makes your cakes stack a lot easier whether you are doing two or four layers.

When you put the icing on the first layer don’t worry about crumbs getting in the icing. You are going to cover up that first layer with more cake and more icing.

Add the second layer. If you split your cakes this will be the bottom of the first layer.

Continue with the layers until you get to the top. Make sure the top of your cake is the outside top of the layer so that it will be fairly smooth.

Put a large scoop of icing on the cake and start spreading it along the top of the cake. Always keep the icing in front of your spatula or knife or whatever you are using to spread it. This will make sure you are not digging into the cake and picking up crumbs. At this point you do not want to see crumbs in your icing.

And the finished product. You can swirl the icing a little and use a pastry bag and an icing tip to pretty up the edges, but you don’t have to it’s going to be yummy anyway.

Now grab a big glass of milk or your drink of choice and enjoy!!!!

Oh and don’t forget to LICK THE BEATERS!!!!! That’s the best part.

Love your day your way!!