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Nancy’s Best Apple Pie

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces, Pies & Sweet Tarts On March 26, 2020 0 Comments


Yesterday (during our COVID-19 confinement), I thought of making my best pastry, slicing apples and voila! I made a delicious apple pie. Thinking ahead in our current situation, I froze the pie for a future dinner. What the heck – all I have to do is defrost the pie and warm it in the oven. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream or gelato for “a la mode” style.

NOTE:  At this point in our home-confinement, kids will have fun with this recipe. Try it!

Pastry Ingredients for 9 to 10-inch pie pan:
2-2/3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup safflower or sunflower oil
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Prepare Pastry Dough:
1. In a 4-quart mixing bowl, measure flour and salt; add oil.

2. Mix with pastry cutter or a fork until particles are size of small peas.

3. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough amalgamates. If needed, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons water.

4. Gather dough into a ball; divide it into 2 balls. Cover in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the apples:

Ingredients for Apple Filling:
6 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup granulated, unbleached sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix the Apple Filling:
1. Place the sliced apples in 4 to 6-quart mixing bowl; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

3. Add the dry flour-spice mixture to the apples and stir well with a large spoon. Set aside.

Roll Out the Pastry Dough:
1. Lightly flour two waxed paper sheets, each measuring 16 inches long.

2. Flatten one dough ball into a circle until it is 3/4 inches thick. Place it between the floured waxed sheets.

3. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the pastry using short strokes going outward. You may have to lift and re-flour the sheets so the dough will not stick.

4. Peel off top waxed sheet and, placing one hand underneath bottom sheet with pastry dough, make a quick flip into pie pan. Peel off remaining waxed sheet.

5. Repeat rolling out instructions for remaining pastry dough. Peel off top waxed sheet and set aside.

Fill and Seal the Pie:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Using a fork or knife, make holes in pastry lining the pan.

3. Give the applies a mix and turn them into the pastry-lined pan. They should sit in a mound.

4. Using a pastry wheel, cut 1-inch wide strips from the remaining pastry dough.

5. Beginning with longest strip, place it in center over top of apples. Place remaining strips on each side of center strip – one inch apart.

6. On the diagonal, repeat laying out remaining strips over first layer of strips.

7. Trim edges of pastry to 1-inch overhang.

8. With fingers, grab & roll pastry edges under to edge of pie pan. Make a curvy design as you work around pie pan.

9. Cover edges of pastry with 1-inch wide strips of aluminum foil (this prevents burning).

10. Place pie pan on a rack positioned in center of oven & bake 30 minutes.

11. After 30 minutes, remove foil strips and bake additional 5 minutes.

12. Immediately transfer pie to cooling rack or wooden board set on a counter.

13. Serve apple pie warm with vanilla ice cream or gelato.


    Text & Photographs ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real




Apple Galette

In Pies & Sweet Tarts On August 29, 2018 0 Comments

This is a great dessert for Summer’s end and for our Labor Day celebration. Enjoy  this French apple tart or apple galette with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Prepare the pastry dough first. As it chills, you will prepare the apples. Then, lay out the apple slices onto the rolled out pastry – et voilà! You’re all done and ready to enjoy the party. But heck – if you don’t want to make the pastry, just buy it ready-made in your grocer’s freezer section.

Prep time: 15 minutes for pastry; 15-20 minutes for apples
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients for Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch thick squares
1/3 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons water (room temperature or cold)

Prepare the Pastry:
1. Measure flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter squares until mixture is coarsely blended and particles resemble peas.

3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup water over flour-butter mixture and blend in.

4. Mixture should amalgamate (stick together). If it does not amalgamate, add 1 more tablespoon water.

5. If dough still does not amalgamate, add 1 more tablespoon water.

6. Gather pastry dough into a ball; seal it in plastic wrap.

7. Place the wrapped pastry dough in freezer for 10 minutes.

8. After 10 minutes, take the cold pastry dough and unwrap it.

Rolling Out the Pastry Dough:

1. Working on a flat, lightly-floured surface, flatten the pastry dough to a 6 to 8-inch circle.

2. Place the flattened dough between two floured waxed paper sheets measuring 16 inches long.

3. Using a rolling pin, gently begin rolling the dough out from its center. Use even, rolling motions so the dough will not be bumpy.

4. Every once in a while, unpeel the top waxed paper sheet and LIGHTLY FLOUR THE DOUGH; place waxed paper sheet over top of dough.

5. Quickly flip the dough over; peel off the top waxed paper sheet and LIGHTLY FLOUR OTHER SIDE OF DOUGH. Place waxed paper sheet over top of dough again.

6. Continue rolling out dough until it measures 15-inch circle (approximately).

Placing Pastry Dough on Baking Sheet:

1. Gently lift off the top waxed paper sheet from pastry dough.

2. With one hand underneath bottom waxed paper and dough and other hand over baking sheet, make a quick flip.

3. Gently lift off the remaining waxed paper sheet from pastry dough.

4. Using a fork, poke holes intermittently on entire pastry dough.

5. Working inside the pastry and one-inch from border, crimp the edges. This means, roll the edges inside and with your fingers, slightly curl/crimp the edges. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the apples:

Ingredients for Apples:
4 medium-large apples, any variety (you can mix apples varieties, as well)
juice from 1 lemon or lime
½ cup granulated sugar
aluminum foil strips measuring 2 inches wide

Preparing Apples & Assembling the Galette:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Peel apples and cut them into fourths.

3. Core the apples.

4. Crosswise, cut apples into ¼-inch thick slices.

5.  Set the pointed, small end slices aside for another use.

6. As you slice the apples, place the slices that are uniform in size in a medium-large bowl.

7. Immediately sprinkle lemon or lime juice over apples and gently stir.

8. Next, working on the inside edge of pastry, make a concentric, overlapping circle of apples.

9. Continue assembling apples in concentric circles until you reach the center.

10. Fill the leftover, small space at center of dough with overlapping apple slices.

11. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over apples.

12. Cover the pastry edges with aluminum foil strips that measure 2 inches wide.

Bake the Apple Galette:

1. Set the baking sheet with galette on a rack positioned in center of oven.

2. Bake the galette for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, remove aluminum foil strips from tart edges.

4. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until pastry edges are light golden brown. Remove galette from oven and transfer to a wooden board to cool slightly.

5. Gently slide a long, flat spatula underneath galette so that it loosens.

6. You can leave galette on baking sheet or slide it onto a serving platter

7. Serve Apple Galette with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Recipe & Text ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real




New Year’s Pie & Show “Waitress”

In Holidays, Pies & Sweet Tarts On December 28, 2016 0 Comments

Here’s a delicious and fun way to end 2016 and celebrate New Year 2017 – catch the show, Waitress, now on Broadway. And since the show is all about pies, no doubt you’ll be cravin’ pie afterwards.

Simply make your own apple pie in advance. After the show, just hang out with your friends and enjoy pie with the bubbly! Check out this easy apple pie recipe with pre-made crust from Trader Joe’s®.


Prep time: 30 minutes (cutting apples & assembling the pie)
Bake time: 35 to 45 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie

6 large apples (Granny Smith, Pippin or a mixed variety)
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (use unbleached or bleached sugar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 Trader Joe’s® Gourmet Pie Crusts (follow thawing instructions, per package)
One 9-inch pie plate (discardable aluminum, porcelain or glass)
3 to 4 one-inch wide aluminum foil strips (for pie edges & to prevent burning)

Prepare the Apples:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Peel and cut apples into fourths; remove cores and discard.

3. Thinly slice the apples and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

5. Gently stir the dry flour-sugar-spice ingredients into the apples until uniform; set aside.

Assemble the Pie:
1. Gently unfold the thawed pie pastry (crusts).

2. Remove the top plastic wrap of one pastry.

3. Place inverted pie plate onto pastry.

4. With one hand underneath the bottom plastic wrap and the other on inverted plate, quickly flip the plate over on a work surface.

5. Remove the plastic wrap and discard.

6. Using a fork, poke random holes in bottom pie pastry in plate.

7. Using a large serving spoon, transfer the apples (in a mound – do not pack them down) onto the pie pastry in plate. Set aside.

8. Repeat removal of plastic wrap of second pie pastry. With one hand underneath plastic wrap and the other over pastry, quickly flip it over and onto the apple filling in plate.

9. The pastry should hang over plate edges by 3/4 to 1 inch. If it is longer than this, using a knife, gently trim it.

10. Using fingers, turn edges of pastry underneath and crimp the edges all around pie plate. To crimp edges, gently press pastry in between fingertips to seal the pie.

11. Cover pastry edges with aluminum foil strips.

12. Place pie on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake as follows:
Aluminum plate – 45 minutes
Glass or porcelain plate – 35 to 40 minutes (glass and porcelain cook faster, as they retain more heat).

13. During last 5 minutes of baking, remove aluminum foil strips so that edges can turn light golden brown.

Tip: To check doneness of pie, insert a pointed knife in center. If it goes through apples easily, it means they are tender and cooked. If not, bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.
Text and Pie on Blue Background Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Summer Fruit Tart (Raw, Gluten & Sugar-Free)

In Fruit and Jams, Pies & Sweet Tarts On June 30, 2016 0 Comments

This tart comes with no flour, no sugar (not even agave nectar!), no baking and no guilt! Sounds too good to be true, right?

The tart’s crust is made of ground dates and walnuts. And, the filling is made of pureed mangoes which is topped with fresh fruit.

Serve this luscious tart as a fruit, dessert course or both. They’ll all go nuts over this – literally!

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 8

2 cups walnut meats, unsalted
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped, dried mangoes
1-1/2 cups chopped, fresh mangoes (about 2 mangoes)
2 kiwi fruits
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries (optional and interchangeable with the blueberries)
1 or more fresh strawberries (you can create your own garnish pattern)

Directions for the Crust:

1. In a food processor, combine the walnut meats and dates.

2. Process until mixture has crumbled and sticks together – the mixture should not be too fine. Do not over process.

3. Transfer the walnut-date mixture to a 9-inch tart pan that with a removable bottom.

4. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly over bottom of tart pan. Make sure it fits into the edges snuggly.

5. Set the tart pan with crust aside while you prepare the filling.

Directions for the Tart Filling:

1. In a bowl, combine the dried mango pieces with cold water (the water should cover the fruit); let sit for 10 to 12 minutes.

2. When dried mango pieces are soft, drain them and discard the water.

3. In a clean food processor, combine the soaked mango pieces with the chopped, fresh mangoes.

4. Process until the mangoes are pureed.

5. Using a spoon, gently transfer the pureed mango filling onto the crust.

6. Spread the filling evenly until it reaches the edges of tart pan.

7. Garnish the tart with sliced kiwis, blueberries and/or raspberries and strawberries.
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Fast and Fresh Plum Tart

In Pies & Sweet Tarts On August 20, 2012 0 Comments

What fruit are you enjoying these days? Mmm, that’s what I thought – plums. If you’re buying them from your local farmers’ market, then you’re getting fresh, ripe plums. And, they’re sweet!

For an easy dessert this summer, make or buy pie pastry, slice up those plums, sprinkle them lightly with sugar et voilà. It’s fast, fresh and everyone will go, “Wowwww, how beautiful!”
Nancy’s Easy Pie Pastry* (recipe previously posted on this website)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 40 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch tart

ready-made pie pastry
3 to 4 fresh, ripe plums, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Follow the rolling-out instructions for one sheet of pie pastry and transfer it to a large cookie sheet.

3. Lay out the plum slices in concentric circles and sprinkle sugar over them.

4. Turn the pastry edges inward, over the plums.

5. Cover the pastry edges with one-inch thick aluminum foil sheets.

6. Place tart on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until plums are tender and slightly bubble.

7. Remove foil strips for last 5 minutes of baking. Cool on cookie sheet set on counter.

8. Serve warm or cold, topped with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.

*Note: Fast and Fresh Plum Tart requires one rolled-out pie pastry.

Alternatively, use  Nancy’s Healthy Pie Pastry (found in our Recipes, under Pastry for Sweet & Savory Pies) which yields two pastry sheets. You can make half the pastry recipe – it will yield one pastry sheet.