Giving Thanks

Pumpkin

I don’t want to be funny today. I don’t want to be even remotely witty, as our tagline promises. I want to be direct and sincere in expressing thanks.

This Thanksgiving, I have it easy. All I have to do is make a pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting and bring it to dinner at a friend’s home. So instead of making, or singing, a grocery list (yes, I like lists), I decided to write up a gratitude list of what I’m thankful for at LC, and asked many of our folks to do the same. (Please indulge us this ridiculously long post. Won’t happen again, I promise.)

1. First, I’m thankful to you, our loyal readers. Thank you for the small notes of encouragement (people actually still do write notes!), holiday gifts, get well cards, compliments and complaints, comments, and eagle eyes that have caught errors that slipped our glassy-eyed gazes. You’ve had a firm hand in shaping LC because many of your suggestions became policy. But most of all, thank you for being there. Some of you have been reading and cooking with us for almost 12 years. (That’s longer than many marriages I know.) Read more “Giving Thanks” »

Emotional Baggage About a Bag of Holiday Nuts

Diamond Mixed Nuts

I don’t know about you, but I’m very careful with my nuts. I have to be. I’m not allergic or anything, but I hold dear a cabal of prejudices stemming from what amounts to early childhood traumas. And my particular brand of nut crazy kicks in big time at this time of year.

It started in November 1966, when we moved into our new home, which my dad built. My mother had a holiday tradition of setting out a bowl of Diamond mixed nuts in the shell on the low-slung living room coffee table. (Momma Leite was mightily influenced by mid-century Danish design.) My dad had his own ritual, which he brought over from Portugal: making an “X” in the bottom of a dozen or so chestnuts and tossing them in the oven.

Surrounded by mixed nuts, I grew curious. I grabbed the heavy etched nutcracker, the kind that could do damage to a two-pound lobster, and had at it. It was then I began to understand that not all nuts are created equal.

Let me break it down for you:

Walnuts were the hardest nut to crack. Anytime I tried to get one into the cracker, it ricocheted off glasses, vases, or the hi-fi, and eventually wobbled under the furniture, only to be found by my panic-stricken mother sometime in February. Read more “Emotional Baggage About a Bag of Holiday Nuts” »

Love Food

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

 

swirl

Love Food, AKA Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

LC aka Dutch Apple Pie Note

For reasons that vary according to who tells the story, a streusel-topped apple pie tends to be dubbed Dutch Apple Pie here in the states. Anyone think they’ve got the true story? Go on. Tell us.

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 50 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

  • For the crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the topping
  • 3 tablespoons (11/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • For the sour cream filling
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 large (about 2 1/4 pounds) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Directions

  • Make the crust
  • 1. In a large bowl using a pastry blender or two knives held criss-cross fashion, blend the flour, butter, vegetable shortening, and salt until the mixture resembles meal. (You can instead buzz the ingredients in a food processor until crumbly.)
  • 2. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water, toss the mixture until the water is incorporated, and form the dough into a ball.
  • 3. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and re-form it into a ball. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.
  • Make the streusel topping
  • 4. In a small bowl blend together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until the mixture is combined well and then chill the mixture, covered, until ready to use.
  • Make the sour cream-apple filling
  • 5. Once the dough is fully chilled, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, and flour in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth, add the apples slices, and stir the filling until it is combined well.
  • Assemble the pie
  • 6. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 7. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 10-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate, and flute the edge decoratively.
  • 8. Spoon the filling into the shell, smoothing the top, and crumble the topping evenly over it. Bake the pie until it’s golden and the apples are tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the pie to a rack, and let it cool completely.
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