M-J’s Elegant Apple Tart

M-J's Elegant Apple Pie: Use Sonya, Fuji or Gala Apples for Best Results

Autumn is almost here, and apple harvest-time is nigh. It’s a good time to start thinking about apple pie. M-J’s Elegant Apple Pie Recipe   

If you wish to dry apples for future use, in case of an electrical outage, here is an easy, instructive page on the subject, at pick Your Own. I do not recommend drying fruit or vegetables in your car, however, because mice do find ways into your vehicles, old OR new. I like to dry my things in the sun, using clear plastic vegetable or berry containers from the grocery store. I make sure they will not be penetrated by insects, nor blown away with the wind, by selective plastic-wrapping (leaving some apertures for air) and anchoring them with heavy objects.

 

 

 

 

 

Elegant Home-Made Tortilla Chips

MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

Frying Tortilla Chips for an Elegant Home-Made Southwest Appetizer

Posted at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2009
MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

You don’t have to throw out your tortillas if they are past their prime. Make them into tortilla chips, which will be very popular with your family and guests, as they are pleasingly different from those bought in the store.Take a stack of tortillas and dust between the layers with salt, pressing it into them. Then, pushing down hard with a large knife twice at different angles, cut the stack into quarters. Lower a handful at-a-time of uncooked chips into bubbling hot oil. For this light and crispy batch, I used a combination of soy oil, which is now sold as “vegetable oil”, and lard. Peanut or corn oil are also good for deep-frying tortillas. When the chips themselves have developed bubbles and are slightly brown, it’s time to remove them from the pot with a runsible or slotted spoon. Drain them on paper towels, and dust with more salt if desired. The cooking oil may be strained, refrigerated and re-used for French fries, yams or potato chips. My recipe for Elegant Guacamole goes very well with these tortilla chips. So do sour cream or crème fraîche, and a mixture of sliced jalapeños with melted Cheddar cheese, baked on top of the chips for a few minutes in a hot oven.

©M-J de Mesterton 2009

Home-Made Tortilla Chips: an Elegant American Appetizer

M-J de Mesterton’s Elegant Guacamole Recipe is Available on ElegantCook.net

For green chile powder, which is a good substitute for chopped canned or frozen New Mexico green chiles, go North of the Border.

M-J de Mesterton Makes Cornish Pasties

Cornish Pasties by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009
I’ve been making Cornish pasties since the age of 20. My mother wrote a book about the pasty and its history which was published in 1990, but my method and ingredients differ from hers. The following is  my pasty (pronounced “pass-tee”) recipe:I will not formally transcribe my recipe and method for making pasties, because  I never use measurements. I can tell you, however, that they are made with a short crust containing both butter and lard, water, a teaspoon of malt vinegar, and unbleached, plain white flour. Since salted butter is used in the dough, add just a dash of salt to it.  I add sea-salt and hand-milled pepper to the filling, which consists of  four ingredients, diced very finely: tri-tip steak, which is always well-marbled and never tough; ordinary, high-starch brown-skinned potatoes, turnips, butter bits, and white or Spanish onions. The finely-diced beef and vegetables are tossed together in a mixing bowl with the salt and pepper before being laid upon the dough, dotted with butter and enclosed. The edges are crimped, either on top or on the side of the pasty, and a couple of well-placed slits are made in the top to allow steam to escape. The final product is brushed with a beaten egg mixed with a teaspoon of cream. The pasties are then baked in a very hot oven for close to one hour. Once the pasties have cooled for about twenty minutes, serve with an oil-and-vinegar-dressed lettuce salad. Offer Cornish cream, Spanish or Mexican Crema, or sour cream as an optional condiment. The pasties depicted here, which I made,  are the optimum size for a meal; the dough for them was shaped into a ball about half the size of a woman’s closed hand, then was rolled out and cut around a 7″ luncheon plate.  Making giant pasties just isn’t elegant, nor is it traditionally Cornish. I also make miniature pasties for parties, by using a tin can or the bottom, inner ridge of the same luncheon plate as a cutting guide. These mini-pasties are easily eaten by hand with a cocktail napkin to catch any pastry-flakes. For a basic short-crust guide, please see my Elegant Apple Pie recipe.~~Recipe and Pasty Photos Copyright M-J de Mesterton

 

Cornish Pasties by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009

Cornish Pasty Made by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright 2009

Leipäjuusto: Make Your Own Finnish Cheese

Photo by Teemu Rajala, Finland
Leipäjuusto with Cloudberry Jam: Photo by Teemu Rajala, Finland

Click Image to Enlarge Recipe

My mother gave me a booklet in 1985, when it was published: Kitsi Finnish Foodways, a publication of Suomi College (now called Finlandia University) for FinnFest 1985. My copy of Kitsi is yellowed. My dear,  departed mother, who worked at Suomi College’s Finnish-American Heritage Center  for  more than twenty years, drew the illustrations on Kitsi’s cover. Leipäjuusto is an unusual creation that I really like with rye bread, when in Finland. Here is the recipe for making your own Finnish Squeaky Cheese.Update: I’ve just found my mother’s friend, Beatrice Ojakangas’ blog, where she hosts a richer recipe for leipäjuusto.

Here is a recipe for Finnish Apple Cake, by Beatrice Ojakangas, the Queen of Scandinavian Cooking

FINNISH APPLE SUGAR CAKE (Omenasokerikakku)
Makes 12 servings
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
dash salt
3/4 cup light cream or undiluted evaporated milk
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/2 inch
Cinnamon sugar: 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together; add the eggs and beat until light. Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the cream mixture alternately with the cream. Mix until batter is smooth and spread into the prepared pan.
Insert the apple slices so that the outer edges of the apple slices are up. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and dry. Serve warm.
~~Copyright Beatrice Ojakangas, The Finnish Cookbook, 1964

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