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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20-Minute Apple Pie

Our plans for a stay-at-home get-a-little-caught-up weekend disappeared as the
the cats and chickens took over our lives yet again. Well, actually, it was one cat and all of the chickens, or rather the chicken run, but with everything we had planned to do it was the animals who once again took preference.

It started with our not-yet-two year old cat Bella, climbing 30 feet up into our neighbor's oak tree before realizing she was scared of heights. We, along with our neighbors, tried to coax, cajole, and bribe her down throughout the day but there she sat, four feet beyond the reach of a ladder, crying pitifully but too scared to move.  She stayed up there for two full nights. It was painful to walk away at midnight and leave her there on a cold windy night. By Sunday morning she was finally brave enough, or tired and hungry enough, to crawl down the last few feet to the top of the ladder and into my arms. She and I moved slowly down to safety.

For future reference, those of you with cats should know that the fire department will not come out to rescue cats. There are several tree services, however, who do rescue cats and they're identified on a national website Cat in a Tree Emergency Rescue. The one closest to us was going to be our next call.

Once Bella was rescued, the chickens took up the rest of our time. They're getting a new chicken run, or I should say a new screened in porch or solarium, as it'll be much nicer than a simple chicken run. My husband turned master carpenter this weekend and has taken on this project as his own in order to build me a beautiful extension to the coop. It will keep out the rain and won't cave in under the weight of the snow, plus it will still let in light and keep things nice during the winter. He had to dismantle the original run and put up the new one. It's going to be beautiful when it's finished, and he's doing a fantastic job.

Checking out the unfinished run.

So, you're wondering what all of this has to do with apple pie? Well, because the weekend was so crazy and because I was stressed out from cats in trees and everything else, I really wanted a special dessert by Sunday night, but I didn't have lots of time to make one. I pulled together this super quick when-you-really-need-a-treat-but-don't-have-much-time apple pie. It's a cinch to make. The 20-minutes refers to hands on time, not baking time, but once it's in the oven you can actually sit down and put your feet up while waiting.

 20 Minute Apple Pie

This pie is topped with a puff pastry crust over an apple crisp-style filling made with tart apples, raisins, brown sugar, and spices. Serve it topped with cinnamon ice cream or with plain yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.

4 medium to large tart apples, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 sheet puff pastry (from 17.3 oz. pkg.) thawed according to package directions
milk to brush over crust
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Heat oven to 425ºF. Spray a 9x2-inch deep dish casserole or pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Toss the apples, raisins, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. Pile the apple mixture into the casserole.

Lay the puff pastry over the top of the casserole and trim away the excess pastry with a small knife or scissors. Brush the pastry with milk, sprinkle with granulated sugar and lightly dust with cinnamon. Lightly score pastry with knife to decorate, if desired, and make a small vent hole in the center.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cool 30 minutes on wire rack to serve warm, or cool completely.

Serves 6


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