Monday, October 31, 2011

What it Means to be a Parent [Pictures] & [Recipe]

Ah the joys of parenting. There's the tough stuff: the discipline, the teaching right from wrong, the vaccinations, and, what they normally leave out - the baking. Yes, I said it, baking is tough! My DD's daycare is hosting a little Halloween party tomorrow morning (erm, today I suppose, considering the time), and I was asked to bring something to share. Of course I said, thinking cupcakes or cookies. Welp, those were both taken. So what did I decide to bring, you ask? Cuppies. Think baby pies. Little, irresistably cute, ooey-gooey-filled pies. Below are the step-by-steps, and I apologize in advance for the lack of quality pictures.

First, let me tell you about the pies. I made whole wheat crust apple cup-pies with lattice topping, and bumbleberry cup-pies with full crust topping. I didn't take pictures of the whole wheat pies in the process, but the steps are the same, with the exception of the filling and the substitution of whole wheat flour for half of the recipe's flour. And speaking of filling, for the apple I made it easy on myself and bought a can of apple pie filling. I used almost the whole can, and had the rest with breakfast the next morning... :)

The sweetest cup-pies you ever did see:
crust adapted from: [Eggs on Sunday] & Bumbleberry filling adapted from [King Arthur Flour]


5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (2 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I put the sticks in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting)
6-8 tablespoons (or more) ice water

1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
additional granulated sugar to sprinkle on the tops

2 1/2 cups of your favorite frozen berries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice*
     *I found out 10 minutes (and 3 ingredients) in that I didn't have lemon juice. I used 2 teaspoons water with 1/8 teaspoon of salt dissolved into it.
1 teaspoon (added 1/2 at a time) cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Start by sticking the butter in the freezer. I tend to use margarine instead of butter, however we had butter this time so I went with it. I can't vouch for how this would taste with margarine. Next, start on the filling. I had half of a frozen bag of blueberries and a whole bag of strawberries. Minus a couple strawberries, this was a generous 2 1/2 cups. Throw it in a large bowl. Add the sugar, flour, lemon juice* and cinnamon.

Mix this baby up and set it on a double broiler to release some juices and make it mashable. I turned a pot of water on high, let it boil for 2 or 3 minutes, and then turned it off, all leaving the bowl on there.

Now, grab a large mixing bowl to start the crust. (I know most people use a food processor to incorporate the ingredients here, but I don't have one, so do what works for you). Add the flour, sugar and salt and mix. Pull your now firm sticks of butter out of the freezer and quickly cube into 1/2 inch or so cubes. Add to bowl and mix thourougly with clean hands to incorporate.

When you have a pretty solid piece of dough, grab a measuring cup of ice water and add it to the dough, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing throughouly each time. It took me about 8 tablespoons to get a good consistency. Immediately wrap with saran wrap and stick that baby in the fridge.

Go back to the berries, make sure they are nice and saucy, and mash 'em up a little bit. At this point I found my sauce to be a bit thin, so adding cornstarch helped. It's a matter of preference, do what feels right.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F, and take a seat for 15 minutes. I intentially left this step until now. Your dough can rest and so can you.

Now, the fun part! Roll out your dough to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out a bunch of circles. You'll have enough dough for approximately 24 3 1/2 inch circles.  (Missed a picture of this, sorry!)

Spray down a cupcake pan with Pam (my favorite!), or grease it up with butter/crisco.

Start assembling! Press the bottom crust nice and flat, add about a tablespoon of filling, and add a top crust. Edge the crusts however you'd like, fork smashing, pinching, etc... Keep an eye on these tops, they won't rise or spread, but you don't want them touching.
These babies were a little too full
 - which resulted in a very heavy pie -
watch how much filling you put in there!
Finally, brush on a little egg wash on each top, sprinkle with sugar, and cut a couple steam slits in each.

Pop those babies in the oven for 15 minutes. When the time goes off, check the color on the top, lower to 350 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes. At about 7 minutes (at 350) my pies were the perfect color so I stuck a sheet of tin foil haphazardly across them. And whal-la - you've got cup-pies!

Let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes (or as long as it takes you to write a blog post) and then enjoy!

Note: You could easily halve this recipe if you only want 6 cup-pies, I just needed 12 for daycare!

Additionally, here are some pictures of the apple cup-pies in case you want to try the lattice tops.

Feel free to expirement with whole wheat content, fillings and decorations, and please, share your thoughts! If you could have the perfect cup-pie, what would be in it?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Festival [Picture]

This evening we were lucky enough to have a night with hubby not working, baby in a good mood, and a fun even to go to! We went to a local church's Halloween festival! They had dinner, carnival games (and prizes!), a train to ride along on and even trick or treating at the many classrooms on their campus.

Kaelyn had such a blast as Tinkerbell and look so darn precious that i just had to share a picture :)

Little Miss Tinkerbell!
 (Store-bought bodice, hand-made skirt and shoe covers)
Have you been to any Halloween parties/festivals yet this year? What costumes did you wear?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New chapter, new rules, and new lifestyle

Lives can change in an instant, and though I'm not sure how to handle my new diagnosis, but I know that I will survive. Sometimes, all you need is a pep-talk from the ones that you love.   :)