hawaij apple pie with cardamom whipped cream

it's a video!! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 (and turn the sound on, it's my pops playin!) 

I have some personal news… I make pie now. 

Which is awkward since my whole life is basically a display of loyalty to #teamcake. I even wrote a whole thing in my book about kondo-punting homemade pie dough out of my life and didn’t even feel bad. 

But now here I am in 5778 and I not only make pies but I also post near daily pictures of Sven, a cat. Which is weird because I come from a long line of dog people and so genetically I am a dog person. I just can’t help it with the fluffy ball of glee that is Sven and with the pies, well, I suddenly just can’t get enough of them. (What’s next? You think I’ll eat a banana?) I think this pie thing actually started when Erin posted a few pie videos last year. That is when the crimping thing suddenly made sense and seemed like something that would actually be fun and not miserable to do. I had just gotten home from my book/#teamcake pride tour where a bunch of you urged me to just give pie making another chance, one of you even brought me a jar of lard about it, and from there I slowly started ruling out the idea of never making a homemade pie crust again. 

I also couldn’t really stop thinking about a few bites of peach and apple pie that Sarah fed me like two years ago while she was testing recipes for her book and grew this desire to not have to drive all the way down to the cities anytime I wanted a Sarah-quality pie. 

So I took a seat in back, reached across the aisle to #teampie, and began my research. I sat with a stack of all of my favorite baking books and flipped to the very shiny, untouched pages with the pies. It felt like going down an unexplored aisle of the grocery store but I was ready to just rip the band-aid off. Here were some takeaways:

1. At first I resented the fact that when the pie comes out of the oven you can’t level off the top and have a few scrap snacks, as you would a cake. But then! I learned the satisfaction of egg washing the pie dough scraps, salting the bejeezus out of them, and then baking them into little crackers. I even made some cat shapes. 

2. I have become such a rabid pie maker that I won’t even turn the heat on in our house for fear that the crust will get too warm. Have you any long underwear recommendations?

3. You can really pile those apples into the crust since they bake down quite a bit. But, as I learned in Stella’s book, it’s important not to over-bake them, lest they get mushy and prevent you from getting a clean slice. Baking until the apples are 195ºf is what Stella recommends and that ensures that the apples are fully cooked but still retain their structure. 

4. All-butter pie crust (Pâte Brisée) recipes are all pretty much the same and consist of 1 1/4 c flour, a bit of salt and sugar, 1/2 c butter, and 3-4 tb water. There are a lot of small variations out there, like adding an egg or some dairy. I found that I prefer subbing a tablespoon of the water for a tablespoon of vinegar, as vinegar helps prevent the development of gluten, which will result in an even flakier crust. I also like using Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter here which has a fat content that is 3% higher than American butter and more fat = more flavor. 

5. A good pie has a thick golden crisp crust and innards that sing with flavor. It’s important that when you’re rolling out the dough you don’t make it too big and that when you’re trimming the edges you don’t trim off too much because you want that crust to be as thick as possible. Sarah suggests baking on a pizza stone to help the bottom crust get crispy, which is great because I like letting my pizza stone live in my oven. And as for the innards, I like amping up the apple flavor with a bottle of boiled cider that’s been in my cabinet for forever and Hawaij, which as we discussed a few falls ago, is what happens when pumpkin spice goes swimming in cardamom. It is so very good. (You can order boiled cider here but if you just can’t wait, omitting it will not be the end of the world. And you can make Hawaij with this quick lil recipe.) This baby is topped with cardamom whipped cream which only makes the Hawaij more… Hawaij-y and the whole situation more celebratory. 


6. I’m sorry, I am not sure what kind of apples are growing on our trees out back (they might be McIntosh??) but they are not too sweet, pretty crisp, and great for baking since they hold up and taste good. Here’s some literature on apple pie apples in case you don’t have a tree in your yard

Ok I can’t actually get over how satisfying pie making is and I have a feeling that I’m about to start making up for lost time as a cake snob. Molding pie crust is just so soothing. Let the crispy fall air roll in, put on the Sufjan, and omg, let me crimp the edges. That’s my favorite part. And can we just take a moment to enjoy giving it that little hug at the end to make sure his crust stays on the pie pan rims?? I don’t plan on getting into all of those fancy pie crust art productions that I see around the internet but I do plan on latticing through the winter and beyond. 

Hello, #teampie!!!! 
 

it's another vid!! 👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼


hawaij apple pie with cardamom whipped cream

makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

Filling

8 apples (1000g), washed and dried
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c (200g) dark brown sugar
2 tsp Hawaij
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tb cornstarch
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tb boiled cider 

Crust

1 tb apple cider vinegar
6 tb water
2 1/2 c (318g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tb sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed

Assembly

2 tb Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Unsalted Butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tb turbinado sugar
Flaky salt, optional

Cardamom Whip

1 c Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
 

Clues

Chop the apples into 1/4” slices, place them in a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice. Add the brown sugar, hawaij, cinnamon, cornstarch, and salt and mix to combine. Mix in the vanilla and boiled cider. Cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so (while you make the pie dough). 

To make the dough, combine the cider vinegar and water in a measuring cup and stick it in the fridge (or the freezer even) to get really cold. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and either use your hands to toss it with the flour and pinch the butter into flat sheets or pulse in the food processor, incorporating the butter so that about 75% of the mixture is mealy. The rest of the mixture should have some slightly larger, pea-sized bits of butter. Drizzle in the vinegar and water and mix with your hands or continue to pulse in the food processor just until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If it seems dry or is having a hard time coming together, add a bit more water a few drops at a time until it comes together. Turn it out onto a clean surface, using your hands to press on any stray crumbs, and divide the dough in half. Pat the halves into discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Adjust a rack to the lower third of the oven (with a pizza stone if you have one) and preheat the oven to 400ºf. On a floured surface roll out one of the discs to a circle just larger than 12 inches. Place it in a 9” pie plate and refrigerate it for 15 minutes. Meanwhile you can roll out your top crust. For a basic top crust roll out the remaining dough disc on a floured surface until it’s a little larger than 10”. For a lattice crust, divide the remaining dough disc into two and roll out two 10” circles. Cut the circles into 2” strips. 

Fill the pie crust with the apples (it will seem like a lot but they bake down!) and pour the juices over it. Chop the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pats and distribute it all over the top. For a basic crust, place the top crust over the pie, pinch the edges to seal, trim any stray bits with kitchen sheers and then fold the edges over and crimp. Cut 4 slits in the top. For a lattice crust, refer to the video above for how to assemble. Pinch the edges to seal, trim, fold the edges over, and crimp. Give the edges a little hug to make sure they are sitting snuggly on the rim of the pie pan otherwise they could fall off in the oven. 

Freeze the pie for 15 minutes. Brush it with egg wash, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and flaky salt, if desired, and then place it on a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 195ºf. Begin checking for doneness at 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly.

To make the cardamom whip, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cardamom in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium high to stiff peaks. 

Serve pie with a large dollop of cardamom whip and enjoy! 


Thank you so much to Land O’Lakes for providing me with the butter and heavy cream for all of my pie baking adventures and for sponsoring this post. Their European style butter is so gosh darn good and rich and perfect for pie crust.

Additional thanks to Eggboy for his videography and to pops, Jim Stephenson, Patrick Godon, and Cedille Records for the soundtrack on that first vid!

shakshuka o's

Sugar beet harvest is officially dunzo!!!!!!!!!! Eggboy can finally catch up on sleep, there’s a celebratory brisket in the oven, and I still have three entire seasons of Pretty Little Liars to watch, which means that harvest wasn’t nearly has long as it could have been. Last year they were still harvesting on October 20th so the fact that this year they finished on the 13th is reason to party extra hard. We’re having the whole crew over tonight for brisket, Mac and cheese, corn bread, live accordion music by Sheila, and the presentation for the award for whoever transported the last truck of beets from the field to the plant. Then E-boy will probably sleep until it’s time to go to the hockey game tomorrow night. 

Here’s a little recipe that is partially Eggboy’s invention! It’s a riff on the Shakshuka Couscous from Molly on the Range that was invented when I was trying to figure out if we should have Shakshuka or couscous for dinner one night and Eggboy just said the two words together as if they were one dish. It was the same tone in which he suggested the train wreck that was “chicken pot babka” only this time it actually sounded like a good idea. So I went with it and it turned out to be an awesome heartier take on Shakshuka, almost like one of those one pot pasta recipes that are all over the internet. And then when I was in Maine a couple of months ago demoing this dish at Stonewall Kitchen, my friend Jeff (the same Jeff who dragged me for Tahdig Shakshuka) was all why isn’t this actually Shakshuka O’s?? That’s way more fun. And suddenly I was transported back to my Hello Kitty days when the most amount of vegetables I’d eat in one meal would be the carrots and onions in an individually sized microwaveable chef boyardee cup. And the most amount of meat I’d eat would be the tiny meatballs therein... 

And so a very nostalgic dish was born! 

The only special ingredient you need here is large ring pasta, which occupies most pasta aisles I think. I’m sure small rings or stars would work (although I don’t think stars would have the correct mouthfeel), and I really wanted to track down that Manischewitz Hebrew letter pasta since my Hebrew lessons start today (!!!!!) but alas it was discontinued years ago. Sad trombone! This dish is so much fun to eat though, and perfect for rainy nights when you don't feel like going to the store because all of the ingredients are super easy to have on hand (like my endless tub of feta that should have expired months ago but hasn't yet). If you thought that spaghetti-o's was at the height of its tastiness, you clearly haven’t had it with a soft cooked egg mingling its way into the sauce, making it rich and creamy. And with cumin and feta and harissa and all of the other tasty additions that make shakshuka so special. Get on this you guys! Happy weekend!! 

shakshuka o's

makes 4 servings

ingredients

3 tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

kosher salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tb ground cumin

2 tsp harissa, or more to taste

1/2 tsp paprika

black pepper

crushed red pepper

1 tb tomato paste

1 can or carton (28 oz) chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

3/4 c large ring pasta

1/2 c vegetable stock

4 large eggs

a few handfuls of crumbled feta

a handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro or a mix

clues

in a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. add the onion, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. add the garlic, cumin, harissa, paprika, a good pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and a pinch of red chili flakes and cook until it's all dreamy and smelly, about 2 minutes. stir in the tomato paste, then the chopped tomatoes and sugar. reduce the heat to low, stir in the pasta rings and broth, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

create 4 little wells and crack in your eggs. cover and simmer until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, begin checking at 5 minutes. sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and black pepper, drizzle the whole dish with olive oil, top with feta and herbs, and serve.


-yeh!

maple tahini cupcakes with labneh frosting

I’ve just gotten home from the most delightful weekend bop over to Chicago for the wedding of one of my oldest homies, Stefani! We used to play a lot of marimba together and then at one point we overlapped in New York where we’d pull all nighters and party like crazy ladies. And by all nighters, I mean one time we stayed out all night long until the Lower East Side Doughnut Plant opened at 6:30am and then got one of each doughnut and it was the best and I’m never gonna forget that. (omg i just realized i blogged about it eight years ago, i'm so embarrassed.)  

Now she is all wifed up and I had the honor of making* the wedding cake!! The bottom tier was pumpkin with vanilla buttercream and the top tier was the hazelnut horse cake from motr. I did a test run of the birch cake decor a few weeks ago and I'm very glad I did because it turns out that there is a very fine line between birch cake and poop stain cake.

*baking, freezing, sticking in a cooler, checking on a plane, and decorating at mum’s house. It was my second time doing that this year and it was way less stressful than flying with a wedding cake sounds! 

Also this weekend I got to see my family, eat some blinchiki at Russian Tea Time, and noodle around up near the Wisconsin border since mum just moved there and that area is so great! Especially with all of the fall leaves. We went to the Mars Cheese Castle. If you don’t know what that is, just imagine the type of place that *would* be called the Mars Cheese Castle and there you have it. I got a bunch of smoked cheese and fancy string cheese that is going to be my dinner because Eggboy is still harvesting up a storm.

Now I’m back with no travel plans until Thanksgiving and I could not be more excited to hibernate to the tune of Hallmark movies and UND hockey games. Winter, get @ me!!!! Also!! I start Hebrew lessons this week!!!!!! A Rabbi has moved to town and I jumped at the opportunity to take Hebrew. Right now I know: ken, lo, boker tov, bamba, and… gal gadot. I’m so excited. 

These cupcakes are the recipe for another wedding cake that I made for this weekend (it was a two-cake weekend)! Asha, the co-founder of Cake in a Crate, and Andy, the other founder and one of my former college classmates, got hitched in Vermont and I mailed them a very Vermonty cake that was filled with maple and tahini and covered with marzipan! I loved making this cake for them because it obviously had my two greatest food loves in life and also because I got to develop this new recipe for it. I don’t think I’ve ever put maple with tahini before but it turns out it’s a wonderful cozy warm combination. For Asha and Andy’s cake, we brightened up the warmth with a layer of raspberry jam before layering on the marzipan, but for this cupcake version I’ve added labneh. It makes for a topping that’s lighter than cream cheese frosting but heavier and tangier than whipped cream. There’s not much to it at all, it almost feels silly to call it a frosting since it’s literally just sweetened labneh. But with a zest of a lemon and a luxurious swoop, you’ve got yourself a lovely little cake. And the poppy seeds are like a minimalist sprinkle as well as a nod to the buckwheat labneh cake at tandem coffee, which inspired me to get hip to labneh frosting!


maple tahini cupcakes with labneh frosting

makes 16 cupcakes

ingredients

cupcakes:

1 c + 2 tb (142g) flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
6 tb (120g) maple syrup
1/2 c (100g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp maple extract
1/2 c (120g) buttermilk
1/4 c (50g) flavorless oil
1/4 c (60g) water
1/2 c (100g) tahini

frosting:

1 2/3 c (400g) labneh
1/4 c (30g) powdered sugar
a pinch of kosher salt
zest of 1/2 a lemon

poppy seeds and lemon zest, for decorating

clues

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350ºf and distribute 16 muffin liners evenly between two muffin tins. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, maple extract, buttermilk, oil, water, and tahini. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fill the muffin liners equally and then bake until as toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, mix together the labneh, powdered sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Taste and adjust as desired. 

Spread the frosting onto the cupcakes, sprinkle with poppy seeds and lemon zest and enjoy! These are best the day of. 


-yeh!

chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

Sugar beet harvest is well underway!!!! It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s by far the busiest and the sleepiest, but also the most exciting. Eggboy has a weird, vaguely nocturnal sleep schedule which has me waking up way before him (this has been a little nerve wracking since he’s the only one who knows how to operate our very complicated coffee grinder) but it means that I can make a big breakfast when he wakes up in the afternoon. Tonight will be my first night home during harvest since I was away over the weekend and I intend to just binge Pretty Little Liars and restock the freezer with pita and soup for quick harvest break snackees. Good thing there are enough PLL seasons to take me through even the longest of harvests, which luckily this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be. Based on my extremely limited knowledge, I’m gonna bet you a dollar that this harvest will take shorter than last year’s verkakte muddy harvest but longer than the easy breezy beautiful year before that. Which affects you and me in the sense that it determines how many baked goodies I make for the crew. I filled our deep freeze with pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, and a funfetti cake last week before I scampered off for a quick trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a Molly on the Range event and then to Boston for the Forbes Under 30 summit. 

Wow, Harbor Springs is one of the prettiest cutest places in the world! I could eat it all up. Or at least see myself going back again and again to crash the book festival and look at the beautiful houses. I got to stay with Maureen, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, and we made raw kibbeh!! It was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting to make raw kibbeh since reading about it in her book but was never confident enough in my butcher finding skills to get clean enough beef that could be eaten raw. So I waited until I got to Harbor Springs, and then we feasted on raw kibbeh, baked kibbeh, fattoush, hummus, knafeh, and this amazing sticky date cake with orange blossom caramel. I also got to hang with Nicole and a whole bunch of new sweet people. It was heaven! 

After Michigan I zipped on over to Boston for a quick day and a half at the Forbes Under 30 summit, surrounded by break fast at Mamaleh’s (with a truly inspirational kasha varnishkes), brunch time tahini buns, sofra with family, and then sofra again with friends, and some hardcore catching up with old college homies. I was in a cloud of congestion and snotty tissues (ew gross sorry forget I said that) but came home with a full heart and a full suitcase of saffron gummies, aleppo pepper, the la boîte halva mix, and Maureen’s nougatsA+ souvenirs

Ok one last thing before we get to cake: Molly on the Range turns one today!!!!!! I can hardly believe it! This last year has been a year filled to the brim with your sweet posts and messages about recipes you’ve made from MOTR and they make me the happiest bean in the world. I love seeing you guys celebrate birthdays and holidays with MOTR cakes and challah and schnitzel and I am so freaking happy that I've gotten to meet and hug so many of you at book events. I cannot thank you enough for how much joy your support of Molly on the Range has brought me over this past year. I am going to try and express all of my gratitude by making some of your favorite foods though!! Since so many of the recipes in MOTR were homemade versions of my childhood favorite foods (lunchables, pigs in blankets, you know…), I want you to hop over here and tell me some of your crazy childhood favorite foods and then I’m going to pick a few to recreate from scratch! If yours gets picked, you’ll get a special one of a kind edition of Molly on the Range :) Head to Instagram for more details.

Alright, cake time!!!! Because all of this harvesting and book birthdaying is calling for celebration. Eggboy put this cake out for all of our harvest helpers on the first day of harvest and from what I can tell, it got gobbled up immediately. It’s your basic super rich chocolate sheet cake covered in a buttercream that has my current obsession, pistachio butter, all up in it. It’s the same pistachio butter that was in these pudding pops but now that it’s getting a little colder I’m giving you a more weather appropriate use for it. Pistachio butter, the fanciest of the nut butters (?), is so great in this buttercream. Just think of how great peanut butter frosting is and then... make it pistachio. This frosting is rich, pistachio-y, a little lemony, and almondy. AKA basically perfect and greenish, the best color. Hooray!   


chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

makes one 9" x 13" sheet cake

ingredients

for the cake:

1 3/4 c (350g) sugar

1 3/4 c (223g) all-purpose flour

1 c (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1 c (240g) buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

3/4 c (178g) boiling water

for the frosting:

1 c (128g) roasted pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if pistachios are salted)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tb heavy cream

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottom of a 9" by 13" pan with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. whisk in the boiling water.

pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. let cool in the pan.

for the frosting: 

first, make the pistachio butter. in a food processor, blend the pistachios, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

with an electric mixer to beat together the butter and pistachio butter until creamy. add the powdered sugar and mix to combine and then mix in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract, and then heavy cream. 

spread all over the cake, decorate as desired, and enjoy! 


-yeh!