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Culinary SOS

Apple Pie Better Than Grandma Used to Make

August 31, 1989|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

DEAR SOS: I had apple pie at Market Street Grill in Salt Lake City. It was even better than Grandma's. Can you get the recipe?

--DENNIS

DEAR DENNIS: Your Grandma and mine too. What a gorgeous pie it is. The delicious apples, which have a soft texture when cooked, make the filling slightly runny, causing some of the syrup to ooze out of the pie. So place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet while baking to catch some of the drippings.

MARKET STREET GRILL APPLE PIE

7 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Dash salt

3 rounded tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

Pie Crust

Toss apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and cornstarch in saucepan. Add water and butter, mixing well.

Bring to boil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and toss with sliced apples. Turn into Pie Crust-lined pie plate and top with top crust. Make slits in crust for steam vents. Seal and crimp edges.

Place pie on foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees 45 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown (pie may run over). Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pie Crust

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

Scant 1/2 cup cold water

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir together butter and shortening and cut into flour mixture with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles crumbs.

Add cold water all at once. Stir by hand with fork until incorporated and dough can be handled.

When ready to use, divide dough in half. Roll out each half on floured board to fit bottom and top of 10-inch pie plate. Place bottom crust in bottom of greased 10-inch pie plate. Reserve top crust to add after filling is placed in crust.

DEAR SOS: I lost my recipe for Paul Lynde's Beef Stew and hope that you will be able to get a recipe to me.

--CARMEN

DEAR CARMEN: Certainly. This stew, created by the late comedian, relies--except for the fresh beef--almost exclusively on pantry shelf items, making it an ideal galley or camping meal. It also can be used as a slow-cooker meal on cool days.

PAUL LYNDE'S BEEF STEW

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 (1-pound) can diced carrots, drained

1 (1-pound) can small whole onions, drained

1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes

1 (1-pound) can peas, drained

1 (1-pound) can cut green beans, drained

1 (1-pound) can small whole potatoes, drained

1/2 can beef consomme

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt, pepper

Combine meat, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peas, green beans, potatoes, consomme, tapioca, brown sugar, bread crumbs, bay leaf and wine in large casserole. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake at 250 degrees 6 to 7 hours. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

DEAR SOS: A few times in the past I have been served a white cake with the most wonderful textures. It has English toffee or praline bits in the frosting and possibly in the cake batter. I believe the frosting possibly could have been whipped cream. Can you help?

--SHEILA

DEAR SHEILA: The cake you describe sounds much like the luscious coffee crunch cake, a recipe we long ago received from Blum's, a confectionery in Los Angeles. The cake, however, has been copied by many bakeries, and home cooks have enjoyed it through our recipe throughout the years.

The recipe for the praline crunch topping is rather tricky. Watch the temperature of the cooked syrup carefully and follow instructions when adding soda (it creates the air pockets and subsequent texture). If you don't want to go through the trouble of making your own brittle, break up a handful of store-bought nut brittle and use it instead.

BLUM'S COFFEE CRUNCH CAKE

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup strong coffee

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon baking soda, pressed through sieve

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1 (8-ounce) angel food cake ring

Combine sugar, coffee and corn syrup in saucepan at least 5 inches deep. Bring to boil and cook until mixture reaches 310 degrees on candy thermometer or hard-crack stage (when small amount dropped into cold water breaks with brittle snap).

Remove syrup from heat. Immediately add soda and stir vigorously just until mixture thickens and pulls away from sides of pan. (Mixture foams rapidly when soda is added. Do not destroy foam by beating excessively.

Immediately pour foamy mass into ungreased 9-inch square metal pan. (Do not spread or stir). Let stand, without moving until cool.

When ready to garnish cake, knock out of pan and crush between sheets of wax paper with rolling pin to form coarse crumbs.

Frost cake with whipped cream. Cover frosted cake generously and thoroughly with crushed topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

DEAR SOS: You mentioned but neglected to give a recipe for Thai Tea in an article in The Times. Would you please accommodate?

--ARLENE

DEAR ARLENE: So sorry, and what a good idea. Thai Tea is a cold iced drink from Thailand that is the rage in Los Angeles especially during summer months. You'll need to purchase Indochinese tea, which is commonly sold in Oriental markets (principally Vietnamese and Chinese) for the proper effect. Sweetened condensed milk is used to both sweeten and flavor the beverage.

THAI TEA

8 cups water

6 tablespoons Thai tea leaves

Sugar

Ice cubes

Sweetened condensed milk or half and half

Bring water to boil. Add tea and steep 5 minutes. Strain and add sugar to taste. Cool, then chill in refrigerator.

To serve, place ice cubes in each of 6 tall glasses. Pour tea over ice to within 1/2-inch of rim. Fill glasses with milk and stir. Makes 6 servings.

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