Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow Day, Round 2!

Last night, the littlest said to me "can we make an apple pie?"  I told her that if we didn't have school the next day, we most certainly could.

Low and behold, the Governor asked everyone to stay off the streets.  Doing my part, I decided to make a bunch of people stay home--Center closed.  You're welcome.  First thing in the morning, Charleigh excitedly reminded me that if we were home, we would make an apple pie.  Mentally, I thought through what ingredients we might need.  What was missing?  The apples.  We had a few, and a pear.  Apple Pear Pie it is!

We started the day off thinking about making Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins.  Right after I softened the cream cheese in the microwave, I remembered the cherry doughnuts I impulse bought yesterday when I joined the rest of the Baltimore Metro at the grocery store in preparation for the storm (I had milk, bread and toilet paper...hubby wanted white chicken chili--more on that later--and icy hot patches).  So I had perfectly softened cream cheese and no plan.

I can't help but think of my friend Michele when I think of apple pie.  Hers are the best ever, with about a 1/2 inch of crumbly stuff on top.  She lives in California and it was stupid-o'clock in the morning on the west coast; I was not about to call her.  I've been toying with fruit pies lately, so I had an idea of what to do.  When I started gathering ingredients, I put my hands on the bowl of softened cream cheese and I remembered a pie my mom used to make in the summers--a peach pie with cream cheese spread on the bottom, ostensibly so the juicy peaches wouldn't soak through the crust.  Hmmm, everything is better with cream cheese.

Here is what we ended up with...

By the way, hubby said it needs raisins.  As most of you know I don't like satan's fruit raisins.  So I might be in the market for a new husband recipe.

Spread cream cheese in bottom of pie crust.

Lemon zest going in to bowl with apples and pears.

Followed by the lemon juice.

Toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Maybe we should have measured the cinnamon...three year olds like to bang every bottle and jar like it's ketchup!

Butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon for crumb topping.

Cutting it in.  She was surprising good at this.  She watched me, took a turn, watched me again and then on her second turn says "oh, you twist it a little."  She is so observant.

Ready to bake...


This picture doesn't do it justice, it was so pretty when I took it out of the oven.  I'm so proud of us!

 Well, that's better...hubby came home with the good camera (and the better talent).  Maybe I'll keep him around a little longer, despite his passion for raisins.

Apple Pear Crisp Pie
1 frozen pie crust
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 medium apples
1 large pear
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon (we used the blend from Pampered Chef--it's a bit like pumpkin pie spice with other stuff in it)
dash salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick cold butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Spread cream cheese evenly on the bottom of the crust, set aside.
Peel, core and cube apples and pears.  Toss fruit with the lemon zest and juice.  Carefully stir in the sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour into prepared crust.
In a small bowl, cut the butter into the remaining 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of the pie.
Bake for 50-60 minutes.  If edges start to brown too much, cover just the edges with foil.
Let stand for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.  The longer it sits, the easier it will be to cut.

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